4 out of 4 stars
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Belle Ami tells a story of love and art in The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci. Angela, an art historian, begins having dreams and visions when she receives a prestigious internship at the Getty Museum. Alex is a private detective that has been recruited to investigate Angela's lecherous boss, Scordato, and to look for a painting rumored to have gone missing from the Uffizi museum in Florence during World War II. When Alex encounters Angela experiencing a past-life regression, he finds himself caught up in a surprising need to protect her and a race to find the painting. Together, they search for the lost painting and explore the past lives of other couples who have been “cursed” by the circumstances surrounding the painting. As they search for their quarry, they face deadly opposition from Scordato, who wants the painting and is not afraid to kill for it.
This was an enjoyable romance and thriller, with a few paranormal elements thrown in for some added spice. While the book contains plenty of action and adventure, I felt that it was first a romance and second a thriller. Much of the book explores the relationship between Angela and Alex as they look for the painting. If a reader approaches this book hoping for something like the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, I think he or she will be disappointed, as I was initially. Instead of puzzles to solve, readers should expect a fast-paced romance with plenty of action to keep the plot moving. Once I altered my expectations to better align with the novel, I found myself really enjoying the plot and suspense of the book.
Readers should know that there were several sex scenes in the book and some strong language in a few spots. For readers accustomed to steamy romances, these sex scenes may seem somewhat tame in their descriptions, though there is still plenty of heat in them. Action scenes in the novel are exciting, but not gory or bloody.
My only real issue with the story was the way Alex started using pet names for Angela very early in their relationship. As the book progressed, the pet names increased in frequency. Unfortunately, rather than showing an increasing sense of intimacy, I felt they seemed a bit forced and sometimes threw me out of the experience. Perhaps my reaction had to do with the way the pet names seemed to clash with the romantic historical scenes and picturesque countryside of Italy. To me, they seemed out of place in the hunt for a Da Vinci masterpiece. Still, this does not significantly detract from the book. Since this sort of language is common in romance novels, other readers may not have any issue with this at all.
Overall, I give The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci 4 out of 4 stars. With very few technical errors and a smooth flow, I could see that it had been professionally edited. I enjoyed the book and I would recommend it to adult readers looking for a romance novel with plenty of action and adventure. Readers desiring a mystery full of puzzles or an intricately researched historical novel should look elsewhere.
The Girl Who Knew da Vinci
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