4 out of 4 stars
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Take the ingredients of a missing painting by Leonardo da Vinci, the powerful Medici family and three generations of star-crossed lovers and you have the recipe for an unforgettable, unputdownable suspense thriller, The Girl Who Knew da Vinci by Belle Ami.
Angela Renatus, an art historian, interning at the prestigious Getty Museum is deeply unhappy and troubled. What should have been a feather in her cap and a dream job has quickly turned into a nightmare, mainly due to her tyrant boss, Dr. Alberto Scordato. To top everything, she has not been sleeping well for months because of a series of recurring, strange and vivid dreams involving Giuliano de' Medici and his mistress Fioretta Gorini.
Enter the picture Alex Caine, an army veteran and art detective who has been hired to find a painting by Leonardo da Vinci - a painting whose existence was kept a secret from the very beginning. Alex's first encounter with Angela happens over rather strange circumstances - he sees Angela at the Getty Museum, having an intense conversation with a painting of Giuliano de' Medici - an event about which Angela has no recollection later. Alex persuades Angela to work with him and use her expertise and knowledge of the works of Leonardo da Vinci to help him locate the painting. Their quest takes them to Florence and then on to the picturesque, ancient village of Montefioralle in the Chianti hills.
Meanwhile, Angela's dreams take on an almost life-like quality and she begins to realize that these may be more than just dreams. They seem to be stories and clues from past lives that slowly reveal the truth behind the painting and what happened to it. They also reveal a connection between Angela and Alex and it almost seems like they were destined to be together.
However, danger is never far behind. Scordato knows about Angela's visions and connections to the past and he wants the painting for himself and will stop at nothing to get it. Angela and Alex find themselves in an unreal situation where the lines between the past and the present begin to blur. They must decipher the dreams, free themselves from the burdens of the past and stay one step ahead of their enemies.
This book had me hooked from Chapter One and I could not put it down till I had read it all. The story-telling is crisp and fast-paced and flows smoothly from past to present. The book has two main characters, Angela and Alex - almost all the secondary characters are ghosts from the past! But all their stories are touching and beautifully written. The chemistry between Alex and Angela deserves special mention. While there is a sense of inevitability and destiny in their being together, the author still manages to write them a fresh, new, sweet modern romance, free from the burden of the past.
I do not have much to offer in way of criticism of the book. I enjoyed reading it. I especially liked how, at the end, the author hints that this may not be the last we have seen of Angela and her visions. I give The Girl Who Knew da Vinci 4 out of 4 stars and recommend it to anyone looking for a good story to read.
The Girl Who Knew da Vinci
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