Mary Jane Beaufrand

Time and Place?

Primavera takes place in Florence, Italy in 1482, during the Italian Renaissance. The book was published in March 2008, though.

Personal Rating on the Book?

Personally, I believe this book is an excellent book for me. It is very easy to read, and a quick read, in my opinion. The book gives details of a young teenage girl caught in a family feud, while she is seeking to find the man she loves. The man she loves is off limits because they come from two different worlds. I find the book very fascinating for an average teenager, because it shows the struggle of emotions a teenager may face. Even though, she has to risk her life for her family, I still feel a connection between the main character, Flora. She shows a lot of bravery by standing up against her family. This book also enlightened me of the struggles faced in the Italian Renaissance. I am very glad I chose this book to read because it was like an Italian-styled Romeo and Juliet. It also played with my emotions several times, like when Flora witnesses an execution of one of her family members, caused by the misfortunes of a failed assassination Flora's family, the Pazzi, played on the Medici.
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Historical References

  1. Primavera is actually not just the title of the book. The whole book is a reference to the painting La Primavera by Botticelli
  2. The painter Botticelli is mentioned several times in the book, except they call him Signor Botticelli instead of Sandro Botticelli in the book. Signor is the Italian word for Sir, to show respect.
  3. The Italian Renaissance is mentioned by referencing Flora's older sister,Domenica who was painted by the famous painter, Botticelli. The Italian Renaissance is hinted because of the amounts of art and architecture shown, and the setting was the year of 1482.
  4. The Medici family is actually a real family. The Pazzi family, Flora's family, are in a constant race for wealth and power against the Medici family. The Medici family traces back to Italy in the end of the 12th century.


The main conflict inside the story is the conflict between the Medici family and the Pazzi family. The main event is the Pazzi family attempted assassination on the Medici family, which resulted in an outbreak of battling. The battling results in the death of Flora's Nonna and the conspired death of Emilio, Flora's friend/love. Flora has to make friends quick in the city to help save her family and herself, but she must chose between battling or actually helping her family. She befriends Valentini and Botticelli while she is in in the city, in hiding to risk an execution from the Medici's. Throughout the book, a main conflict is Flora's idea of never being able to compare to her older sister, Domenica. Her family also makes her feel down because her sister is so "beautiful", so Flora has to debate whether beauty is the real key to success.

Important Quotes

Quote: "Andrea said diamonds were worthless unless they were perfect, but I found perfection boring. It was the flaws that made them beautiful to me, made me long to possess them." (3.34)

Explanation: This quote represents Flora, not only because she said the statement, but it relates to her. Her sister is often viewed as the perfect child, or the diamond in this statement. Flora states how perfection is boring, because in her family's eyes, she is viewed as not good enough and she is always put down by her family, so she thinks a diamond is beautiful with and without flaws because her sister is beautiful without the flaws and she is beautiful as well, with the flaws.

Quote: "All this time I thought I was rescuing myself, but instead I was just being greedy like the rest of my family, like the Medici." (5.52)

Explanation: The quote above shows how the Medici family was very greedy. Yet, it shows how Flora's actions made her feel like the Medici. Flora knew she needed to stop stealing because she began to steal from somebody she cared about, Emilio. She showed her self-worth by giving up her dreams, the reason why she was stealing, and protect her family, because they needed her.

Quote: "She was useless. She would never get away on on her own. I had to help her, though I didn't want to. I wanted her to stay here, crouched in the dark, while I fought in the open next to Captain Umberto. That was the way things were meant to be." (17. 168)

Explanation: This quote shows that Flora was not supposed to be the "helpless" one in situations like fighting and etc. Flora has to stay and protect her weak sister because her family wants her to, so she is torn to go and battle and prove herself to her family or help her sister escape and help her family. Either choice she makes, she affects her family in some way. Flora must chose between herself or her family.

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Author Information

  • Mary Jane Beaufrand lives in Seattle, Washington, but she was raised outside of Portland, Oregon.
  • She lives there with her two children, her husband, and her pet, a basset hound.
  • She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Bennington College.
  • She is known for her three most famous books, The River, Primavera, and Dark River.
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