4 out of 4 stars
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First off, when I decided to read The Girl Who Knew DaVinci by Belle Ami, I did not realize it was a romance! This led to no small disappointment, as I was expecting more of a historical drama from the description. Thankfully the author included enough plot to satisfy my adventure-seeking nature.
Belle Ami's writing style is light and easy to read. In this book, she carefully weaves a tale connecting a modern couple with lovers from past ages who join together to bring forward truth and break a repeating cycle of lies and destruction. Through dreams, Angela unwittingly connects with past lives in a mystery that goes back several generations. A painting rumored to be a DaVinci has been missing ever since it was painted. What was the subject of the painting? Was it hidden or stolen? Was it really painted by DaVinci?
Angela's dreams tell of secret lovers, a secret marriage, and violent deaths. Suddenly, Angela is thrown into a modern-day life or death chase to find this painting of which only rumors can confirm the existence. Fortunately for Angela, she is joined by Alex, an incredibly talented and rich detective who instantly and inexplicably falls in love with her. As with any good mystery thriller, the drama intensifies when "the bad guys" show up seeking the same painting. Of course, this includes a conflict between those who seek only fame and fortune and those who seek to bring dark secrets to light and set past wrongs to right.
Heavy romance is threaded throughout the entire book with intimate scenes between all the couples, past and present, who are all involved in unraveling the clues throughout history. The stakes are high; will the truth be discovered, allowing the restless souls finally be free to be at peace, or are they doomed to continually repeat the same drama time and again in every following generation?
Despite the light writing style, the author manages to paint characters that are fairly realistic. One common downfall with this writing style is under-developed characters. For a romance, I feel that this book is a fairly happy compromise between deep characters and nothing but fluff. My biggest complaint is that it is actually a full-blown romance novel with plenty of adult-only scenes. However, I feel that readers who like romance novels will be happy to pick up this book. Historical fiction fans who are more interested in historical accuracy will not enjoy this book as much. Although the juxtaposition of modern day and historical setting sets the scene for a creative plot, I remain unconvinced that the book is based on historical facts other than including historical characters.
The author's pace was adequately quick for this style of book; I finished it in just a few hours. The editing appears to be fairly clean throughout. Although this isn't exactly my style of book, I need to give it 4 out of 4 stars, as I feel that romance readers will find this to be a lovely summer read.
The Girl Who Knew da Vinci
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