4 out of 4 stars
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This story grabbed me right from the Prologue! The Girl Who Knew DaVinci by Belle Ami is a fast-moving adventure that transports the reader back and forth through several centuries, linking the characters in a unique and compelling way, and most importantly, doing so without confusing the reader. Ami uses the backdrop of the Renaissance to set the stage for a thrilling and suspenseful plot that moves between modern day, WWII, and the Medici reign of Florence. I was enthralled by the seething political tumult of Florence in the late 15th century, the desperation of lovers in the war-torn Italy of the Second World War, and the relevance of the challenges faced by the characters in 2018.
The novel follows art historian Angela Renatus, and her unexpected partner, art investigator Alex Caine, as they use their wits and intuition in an attempt to uncover a lost Da Vinci masterpiece. Their quest takes them across Italian landscapes, then and now, as they unearth secrets about the past in an attempt find the lost painting. Along the journey, they make discoveries about one another and the strong connection they cannot deny. Amidst museums, murder, and intrigue, pairs of lovers across each of the centuries are driven by their love for one another and their emotional investment in protecting an undiscovered work of the Maestro, Leonardo Da Vinci. The blending of the tales results in a seamlessly interwoven storyline, rife with drama and heady with romance.
The individuality of each of the characters is one of the reasons this is such a compelling read. While the women and men from different eras share certain qualities, each is unique and captivating in its own way. The connecting thread of true and fated love propels the story and motivates the characters to make difficult and sometimes heartbreaking decisions. I was impressed by Ami’s ability to make all of the characters sympathetic and equally interesting, which allowed me to root for each of their stories depending on where I was in the novel. The magic of connecting them all to each other and to the painting kept me reading page after page because I was so anxious to see how it resolved.
As with any good book, there are characters easy to love and easy to hate. Ami does not disappoint in also building out the villains in the story. The reader is given just enough information to develop an understanding of the characters (and add to the distaste) without detracting from the story or confusing the plot. I liked this dedication to character and it ultimately served a greater purpose, which I will certainly not give away here!
I give The Girl Who Knew DaVinci a 4 out of 4 rating for its complexity of plot, depth of characters, and exciting story-line. I was swept away from the very first chapter and continued to turn pages until about 4 AM when I finished it. Each time I told myself “just one more chapter” I just kept reading. Sometimes that is the beauty of a shorter book. I was excited to discover that this is the first in the new Out of Time Thriller Series by Belle Ami, because I will certainly be looking out for the next installment. Lovers of history and suspense will find this a satisfying investment of time I am sure.
The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci
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