Mix of Genres

Use this forum to discuss the June 2018 Book of the Month"The Girl Who Knew da Vinci" by Belle Ami
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Re: Mix of Genres

Post by bookowlie » 27 Jun 2018, 16:43

ccrews0408 wrote:
27 Jun 2018, 15:11
I definitely agree that the romance genre overwhelmed much of the story. If the connection seemed to be based on love more so than lust, it may have come across better. However, in my opinion, the relationship between Alex and Angela was off-putting.
Good point! I wasn't even sure what their relationship was based on since they were both overtaken by the past lives of two other couples. Was it lust or was it the love coming through their souls from past lives? :eusa-think:
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Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 28 Jun 2018, 06:46

Yolimari wrote:
27 Jun 2018, 15:50
I love when authors mix genres, particularly historical fiction with romance. I really enjoyed how Belle Ami mixed romance, mystery, and historical fiction. Definitely, she is good at mixing genres. I also loved the whole storyline about the lost da Vinci painting. It reminded me of The Gravity of Birds, which I loved reading and is about forbidden romances and a missing portrait.

However, I think the book could have done with less of Angela’s visions. I did not mind about the steamy relationship between Angela and Alex. The point of it was to demonstrate its intensity through time. Although I admit a few scenes went into the real of erotica.
I think it depends on what you're looking for. If historical fiction is your thing (and not romance), this is really just a romance, and definitely off-putting. If you're into romance novels, Ami did a decent job of mixing the genres. I didn't care for this book really at all, although the plot was intriguing. IMO, the plot wasn't really developed adequately, and the historical part didn't feel real. I was surprised to read that there were some elements that were based in history, although many more that were not.
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Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 28 Jun 2018, 06:49

strawberrysab wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 16:37
Even if I love romance in general, in this case I think it kind of ruined a bit the book. The title, the cover, the sample, it all gave me an idea of something between history and art, which didn’t lack but ended up not being primary.
Well said! I don't care for Romance, so this was misleading to me. I would think that someone who likes romance novels would have a higher opinion of the book, but in this case I thought I was getting a solid art history fiction novel. I don't mind some romance, but it seemed that romance was the main idea in the book.
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Post by Yolimari » 28 Jun 2018, 07:50

greenstripedgiraffe wrote:
28 Jun 2018, 06:46
Yolimari wrote:
27 Jun 2018, 15:50
I love when authors mix genres, particularly historical fiction with romance. I really enjoyed how Belle Ami mixed romance, mystery, and historical fiction. Definitely, she is good at mixing genres. I also loved the whole storyline about the lost da Vinci painting. It reminded me of The Gravity of Birds, which I loved reading and is about forbidden romances and a missing portrait.

However, I think the book could have done with less of Angela’s visions. I did not mind about the steamy relationship between Angela and Alex. The point of it was to demonstrate its intensity through time. Although I admit a few scenes went into the real of erotica.
I think it depends on what you're looking for. If historical fiction is your thing (and not romance), this is really just a romance, and definitely off-putting. If you're into romance novels, Ami did a decent job of mixing the genres. I didn't care for this book really at all, although the plot was intriguing. IMO, the plot wasn't really developed adequately, and the historical part didn't feel real. I was surprised to read that there were some elements that were based in history, although many more that were not.
Why do you think the plot was not developed adequately? I had no problem with her use of history. Yes, some of it was based on actual events like World War II and Guiliano’s Medici’s murder at the church during Easter mass. The parts that were fake did not bother me because I know it is historical fiction.
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Post by kfwilson6 » 28 Jun 2018, 08:24

greenstripedgiraffe wrote:
28 Jun 2018, 06:49
strawberrysab wrote:
08 Jun 2018, 16:37
Even if I love romance in general, in this case I think it kind of ruined a bit the book. The title, the cover, the sample, it all gave me an idea of something between history and art, which didn’t lack but ended up not being primary.
Well said! I don't care for Romance, so this was misleading to me. I would think that someone who likes romance novels would have a higher opinion of the book, but in this case I thought I was getting a solid art history fiction novel. I don't mind some romance, but it seemed that romance was the main idea in the book.
Since this was compared to The Da Vinci Code, in the Amazon blurb not just on this forum, I wouldn't have expected much romance. There really isn't much of that in any of Dan Brown's books. He very much focuses on building the suspense and giving little clues throughout the whole book until he finally hits a climatic ending. This book's climax was pretty tame. It was pretty obvious where it was going. I have to admit that every Brown novel has surprised me in the end. I could never foretell what would happen in the final chapters. I pretty much knew where this book was going when it started. I don't mind a little predictability as long as the journey is enjoyable.

Unfortunately, Ami has found a mixed crowd. Some people were pleasantly surprised by the mix of the genres and some seem to be disappointed that the novel wasn't more focused on the expected genre(s). I can't blame them. Especially when you get in a particular mood. Sometimes I want the suspense way more than I want the romance and vice versa.

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Post by bookowlie » 28 Jun 2018, 12:08

This book has definitely been one of the more controversial BOTM's in terms of the wide range of opinions and what readers expected. I still enjoyed the book and the discussion has been very thought-provoking. In that respect, the author should be commended. It's always a good thing when a book makes you think. :)

I agree that the general climax was pretty obvious way in advance. I figure there would be a confrontation at the cave.
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Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 28 Jun 2018, 13:17

Yolimari wrote:
28 Jun 2018, 07:50
greenstripedgiraffe wrote:
28 Jun 2018, 06:46
Yolimari wrote:
27 Jun 2018, 15:50
I love when authors mix genres, particularly historical fiction with romance. I really enjoyed how Belle Ami mixed romance, mystery, and historical fiction. Definitely, she is good at mixing genres. I also loved the whole storyline about the lost da Vinci painting. It reminded me of The Gravity of Birds, which I loved reading and is about forbidden romances and a missing portrait.

However, I think the book could have done with less of Angela’s visions. I did not mind about the steamy relationship between Angela and Alex. The point of it was to demonstrate its intensity through time. Although I admit a few scenes went into the real of erotica.
I think it depends on what you're looking for. If historical fiction is your thing (and not romance), this is really just a romance, and definitely off-putting. If you're into romance novels, Ami did a decent job of mixing the genres. I didn't care for this book really at all, although the plot was intriguing. IMO, the plot wasn't really developed adequately, and the historical part didn't feel real. I was surprised to read that there were some elements that were based in history, although many more that were not.
Why do you think the plot was not developed adequately? I had no problem with her use of history. Yes, some of it was based on actual events like World War II and Guiliano’s Medici’s murder at the church during Easter mass. The parts that were fake did not bother me because I know it is historical fiction.
There was some research done, but most of the book was fiction. There were not a lot of real facts. I've read many historical fiction novels. The better ones have so much research that goes into them, you feel that you actually know the people by the time you're done. If that were the case, at the very least, Sophie and Gerhardt would be real. There really would have been a painting based on Sophie's secret wedding. We would have learned much more about da Vinci, his motivations, his life's work, any scandals... There would have been more history going along with Angela's dreams, not just supernatural elements. I would call this a very loosely based historical fiction.
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Post by bookowlie » 28 Jun 2018, 13:27

Greenstripedgiraffe - I agree. What bothered me a little was how many of the details from the 1400's were rooted in fact, but the Sophie and Gerhard characters from WWII never existed. It was weird how one historical couple were people who actually existed, but the other historical couple was completely fictional.
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Post by Yolimari » 28 Jun 2018, 14:51

greenstripedgiraffe wrote:
28 Jun 2018, 13:17
Yolimari wrote:
28 Jun 2018, 07:50
greenstripedgiraffe wrote:
28 Jun 2018, 06:46


I think it depends on what you're looking for. If historical fiction is your thing (and not romance), this is really just a romance, and definitely off-putting. If you're into romance novels, Ami did a decent job of mixing the genres. I didn't care for this book really at all, although the plot was intriguing. IMO, the plot wasn't really developed adequately, and the historical part didn't feel real. I was surprised to read that there were some elements that were based in history, although many more that were not.
Why do you think the plot was not developed adequately? I had no problem with her use of history. Yes, some of it was based on actual events like World War II and Guiliano’s Medici’s murder at the church during Easter mass. The parts that were fake did not bother me because I know it is historical fiction.
There was some research done, but most of the book was fiction. There were not a lot of real facts. I've read many historical fiction novels. The better ones have so much research that goes into them, you feel that you actually know the people by the time you're done. If that were the case, at the very least, Sophie and Gerhardt would be real. There really would have been a painting based on Sophie's secret wedding. We would have learned much more about da Vinci, his motivations, his life's work, any scandals... There would have been more history going along with Angela's dreams, not just supernatural elements. I would call this a very loosely based historical fiction.
I understand but I found many facts in the novel to be historically accurate. (So I agree to disagree in that there were not many as you point out). I have also read many historical fiction novels. While Belle Ami’s writing style is not sophisticated, it is entertaining. I liked that she made history fun.

Although it is true that the storyline of the lost da Vinci wedding portrait is not real, the author might have gotten the idea from other paintings by da Vinci believed to possibly depict Fioretta Gorini. Some experts believe the famous Mona Lisa and The Liechtenstein Lady by da Vinci might be of Fioretta Gorini. In addition, Giuliano di Medici and Fioretta Gorini were in fact lovers and their son was named Guilio and became Pope Clement VII. She also died during childbirth like in the book.

This book is a mix of genres rather than just historical fiction, which might explain the lack of historical depth that you expected.
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Post by bookowlie » 28 Jun 2018, 14:55

Yolimari - I didn't know about the possible Mona Lisa connection. However, I did read about The Liechtenstein Lady piece and a sculpture by da Vinci that may have been of Fioretta Giorini, even though it was noted as a bust of someone else.
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Post by mcfeealexis » 29 Jun 2018, 10:03

I feel that a mix of different genres is a great thing for the theme of the book. Having different genres means that you can discuss different topics that are main themes in different genres. I know that is can get overwhelming that why I also think that anymore than three different genres is a bit to much.

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Post by bookowlie » 29 Jun 2018, 10:18

mcfeealexis wrote:
29 Jun 2018, 10:03
I feel that a mix of different genres is a great thing for the theme of the book. Having different genres means that you can discuss different topics that are main themes in different genres. I know that is can get overwhelming that why I also think that anymore than three different genres is a bit to much.
I agree. I think just the mix of historical fiction and mystery would have been enough, with a light touch of romance. In this case, there was historical, mystery, paranormal, and heavy romance/erotic. I guess there was something there for everyone's tastes. However, it made the story too busy, in my opinion.
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Post by Thimble » 05 Jul 2018, 17:27

I don't think the mix of genres worked well with this book. I normally enjoy books that blend multiple genres, but in this case the mystery and suspense got completely lost in the romance. I didn't even notice any mystery or suspense. If I hadn't read the blurb for the book, I would have just thought it was a bad historical/modern romance novel. It had the elements of a good mystery/suspense, but the villain was ineffectual and the plot got lost with the budding lust.

I think to mix the genres better I would remove a large portion of the romance, make the relationship progress naturally (with the conflicted feelings of past lives), and make the villain more effectual. Also, the search for the painting should be more complex.
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Post by Julie Green » 06 Jul 2018, 14:15

I think the mix of two genres can work well, particularly history and romance, as is the case here. Of course, some genres would not mix as well together, such as romance and horror ..

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Post by chupke07 » 09 Jul 2018, 09:00

I think being able to blend genres makes the book more appealing to a larger group of readers. Some people enjoy a romantic story and the thrilling, mystery is a side note and some people enjoy the mystery and thrill with the romance and paranormal stuff being extra. I think if it is blended well (like in this book) then it makes the book more accessible.

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