4 out of 4 stars
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Art historian and enthusiast Angela Renatus is haunted by dreams of Leonardo da Vinci and a mysterious painting of Giuliano Medici and his mistress Fioretta Gorini. This painting, by all accounts, does not exist. Or does it? She undertakes to find the truth about the painting based on these dreams and her strange meeting with Alex Caine.
Alex Caine, by all means, is neither an art expert nor is he an art enthusiast. He is a simple detective contracted by a wealthy German financier, who is determined to clear the name of his late uncle, Gerard Jaeger. Jaeger, on his part, was an art custodian who went missing in Florence during World War II.
In letters written before his disappearance, Jaeger describes his love affair with a beautiful young woman by the name Sophia Caro. He also describes his discovery of an extraordinary painting depicting Giuliano and Fioretta. Will the discovery of the letters lead to the discovery of the painting? Will Angela manage to escape her boss' indecent proposals? Only time and The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci by Belle Ami, will tell.
There is something about historical fiction that makes the genre very enjoyable. One of the reasons, I have always thought, is the fact that books in this genre entertain as much as they educate. The plot line is usually very good and you also learn a lot from the book. This is what makes Dan Brown one of the best authors in the business. Belle Ami has managed to achieve the same feat (writing a highly entertaining novel that is also very educative) in this novel where we learn so much about Da Vinci and his art while at the same time enjoying the thrill that this book gives us.
This book is also adventure-filled. It takes us to past-day Florence where we are shown the political climate at the time. We are also introduced to loveable characters such as Gerard Jaeger and his beloved, Sophia Caro. We get to tour Italy, both Modern and past, through the pages of this novel. It makes it a hundred times better and more enjoyable.
It was really impossible for me to put down the book once I started reading it this was because of the twists and turns in the plot that I could never have foreseen. This also includes the oddities in the story. For instance, in one particular scene Angela is talking to a portrait at the museum and the portrait comes alive to speak to her in the presence of Alex Caine. Such twists made the story even more enjoyable.
This is a novel of novels. Close to no mistake, a very good plot line and a bit of historical background on art. What could go wrong? I gladly rate it 4 out of 4 stars and strongly recommend it to all enthusiasts of historical fiction. You could never go wrong with this novel.
The Girl Who Knew da Vinci
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