Review by FictionLover -- The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci

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FictionLover
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Review by FictionLover -- The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci

Post by FictionLover » 25 Jul 2018, 18:10

[Following is a volunteer review of "The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci" by Belle Ami.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci by Belle Ami is a unique blend of several genres which come together in a fun and engaging style. Historical fiction based on the art and artistry of Leonardo da Vinci is the basis for a mystery that becomes entwined with a paranormal fantasy and a steamy romance. The history of the machinations of the Medici family, the relationships da Vinci had with his friends and models, a centuries-old illicit love affair, the World War II bombing of Naples and the search for an ultra-rare painting create a spicy mélange which Ms. Ami has crafted into a well-written tale.

The author’s prowess and skill as a writer shines, and the narrative is compelling and easy to read. The plot concerns a present-day couple, Angela Renata and Alex Caine, who both have visions and dreams which lead them to understand that they are the reincarnation of lovers who have been separated by death. While not exactly plausible, the story is entertaining.

Angela is an art historian and Alex is an investigator of stolen art. They are brought together to help solve the puzzle of a missing painting which is thought to be an unknown da Vinci masterpiece. Sparks fly from their first meeting and soon they join forces to recover the painting and present it to the world before Angela’s ex-boss, Alberto Scordato finds it. Scordato, the former director of the prestigious Getty Museum in Los Angeles, is a sexual harasser and all-around despicable villain. He wants to find the painting himself and sell it on the black market so that he can make a fortune. I found Scordato a one-dimensional villain and easy to hate. The one thing I did object to in this book was Scordato's fantasy of raping Angela as a way to get revenge. It was disturbing and I was baffled as to why the author found it necessary to mention it so many times.

The Girl Who Knew da Vinci uses the subtitle, “An Out of Time Thriller”. In my opinion, this book is not a thriller. If I had picked up this book thinking it was a thriller, I would have been very disappointed. Though the art history angle does have an international scope, this book does not have the pacing or the ‘whole world is in danger’ stakes of an international thriller. Nor does it have the ‘ticking time bomb’ feel of so many novels whose protagonists are actually fighting a deadline. Even though they both know their opponent is after them, Alex and Angela experience a delightfully relaxed life until the very end of the book. Characters in a thriller would be reading dossiers and contemplating tactics. Angela and Alex eat leisurely meals, share passionate kisses, and take long soapy showers as a prelude to lustful, soul changing sex. That’s a romance, not a thriller.

However, there was enough mystery, coupled with some suspense and action, to make me keep turning the pages. I found the past-life histories of Angela and Alex enriched and deepened the story and added to their personalities. The descriptions of the Italian countryside, coupled with Alex’s knowledge of local history and architecture made for some interesting asides.

I highly recommend The Girl Who Knew da Vinci to everyone, except maybe the most rabid haters of the romance genre. The book was well edited and formatted. I only noticed three very minor typos.

I rate this book a 4 out of 4 stars s.

******
The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci
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Post by FictionLover » 28 Jul 2018, 07:23

Any commenters out there??
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Post by Dael Reader » 28 Jul 2018, 14:10

I read this one and had a totally different reaction. I thought the past-life regressions were pathetic (and unrealistic, because the flashback/spirit possessions that Angela seems to experience is not actually what past-life regression is about), and Angela's character was entirely disappointing to me. She's billed as being a strong, intelligent woman, but comes across as more or less a lust-filled damsel in distress. And the mystery plot was overshadowed by lust. It's surprising Alex and Angela found the time and focus to actually look for a missing painting in-between their hook-ups. But, you write a good review! And it's good to read about other perspectives.

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Post by jcoad » 30 Jul 2018, 06:39

I just finished this book and agree with your review. If you were looking for a thriller you would be very disappointed. The story is fun to read, but won't tax your brain. The flashbacks are definitely the best part of the story.

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Post by JHuschle519 » 31 Jul 2018, 00:00

Thanks for the great review. I agree that the Scordato character was very easy to hate. When I reviewed this book I also noted how one-dimensional he was. In one of my other forum posts you mentioned your opinion on this book not being a thriller, and I am glad to read your expanded view on that here. I actually did start reading the book expecting to see a little bit more of a thriller aspect to it, so in that I was disappointed. Other than that though, like you, I found the book rather enjoyable.

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Post by Helen_Combe » 31 Jul 2018, 07:46

Great review, it sounds like a five-course meal covering the different timeframes and historical incidents along with the overall story arc.
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Post by Abigail R » 31 Jul 2018, 10:43

I have read many reviews on this book and I think I have finally decided that I should read it. It sounds as though there are many elements to it - art, history, and romance. I am interested to see how all these things combine to make a book that many people have seemed to enjoy!

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Post by FictionLover » 06 Aug 2018, 18:35

Dael Reader wrote:
28 Jul 2018, 14:10
I read this one and had a totally different reaction. I thought the past-life regressions were pathetic (and unrealistic, because the flashback/spirit possessions that Angela seems to experience is not actually what past-life regression is about), and Angela's character was entirely disappointing to me. She's billed as being a strong, intelligent woman, but comes across as more or less a lust-filled damsel in distress. And the mystery plot was overshadowed by lust. It's surprising Alex and Angela found the time and focus to actually look for a missing painting in-between their hook-ups. But, you write a good review! And it's good to read about other perspectives.
Thanks!

I think when I first read the sample, the part about Angela in front of the painting almost made me laugh. I thought I had missed some set up. But once I bought in, it was part of the fun.

However I found the romance part irritating. Which is why I had to make a point of saying this is not a thriller. I didn't put it in my review, cause it didn't fit, but I thought that Alex was a kind of Christian Gray. I don't know if I put that in any other comments here ( I can't see them now). But he seemed too good to be true. Tons of money, taste and patience. No old girlfriends or even guy friends to drag him out to play cards. And all she could do was boo-hoo all over the place. Come on!

Thanks for your comments.
"I love reading another reader’s list of favorites. Even when I find I do not share their tastes or predilections, I am provoked to compare, contrast, and contradict. It is a most healthy exercise, and one altogether fruitful." T.S. Eliot

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Post by FictionLover » 06 Aug 2018, 18:38

abigailray1013 wrote:
31 Jul 2018, 10:43
I have read many reviews on this book and I think I have finally decided that I should read it. It sounds as though there are many elements to it - art, history, and romance. I am interested to see how all these things combine to make a book that many people have seemed to enjoy!
Yes, there are a lot of elements and genres here.I really enjoyed the history, especially the DaVince connection. But the WWII elements were not bad either.

Let me know what you think.

(Also, sorry about the delay in answering. I don't know why I don't get a notification when someone comments. I thought that I would.)

:techie-studyinggray:
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Post by FictionLover » 06 Aug 2018, 18:39

Helen_Combe wrote:
31 Jul 2018, 07:46
Great review, it sounds like a five-course meal covering the different timeframes and historical incidents along with the overall story arc.
That's great, five course meal. You have such unique ways of looking at things!
"I love reading another reader’s list of favorites. Even when I find I do not share their tastes or predilections, I am provoked to compare, contrast, and contradict. It is a most healthy exercise, and one altogether fruitful." T.S. Eliot

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Post by FictionLover » 06 Aug 2018, 18:40

jcoad wrote:
30 Jul 2018, 06:39
I just finished this book and agree with your review. If you were looking for a thriller you would be very disappointed. The story is fun to read, but won't tax your brain. The flashbacks are definitely the best part of the story.
Well, this might tax your brain if you don't like romance!

:D
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Post by carlyroseh » 07 Sep 2018, 23:35

I agree with a lot of what you said. I don’t mind romances, but by a certain point, I felt like the frequent lovemaking scenes were starting to take over the plot. I was thoroughly disgusted with Scordato. It was so easy to hate him, and I realized from reading your thoughts and other people’s thoughts that the emphasis of his rape fantasy was overdone. And although I didn’t necessarily compare Alex to Christian Grey in my mind, I realized that he was too... interesting. He was a man with way too many hobbies to be realistic, not to mention absurdly wealthy. Thanks for your detailed review!

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Post by FictionLover » 08 Sep 2018, 16:17

carlyroseh wrote:
07 Sep 2018, 23:35
I agree with a lot of what you said. I don’t mind romances, but by a certain point, I felt like the frequent lovemaking scenes were starting to take over the plot. I was thoroughly disgusted with Scordato. It was so easy to hate him, and I realized from reading your thoughts and other people’s thoughts that the emphasis of his rape fantasy was overdone. And although I didn’t necessarily compare Alex to Christian Grey in my mind, I realized that he was too... interesting. He was a man with way too many hobbies to be realistic, not to mention absurdly wealthy. Thanks for your detailed review!
Thanks for your comments.

I agree, Scordato was gross. Like, want-to-wash-your-hands gross. I don't read romance and the mysteries and thrillers I do read usually have a motive other than rape, so this was new to me.

Yeah, Alex was too perfect. But I guess that's how romance's are.

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Post by BookReader+6 » 10 Sep 2018, 08:51

Very accurate review! I also like your tagline-so true.
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Post by Fozia-Bajwa » Today, 05:48

I read the review of the book The girl who knew da Vinci is written by Belle Ami. It's a love story of Angela and Alex. Mysticism, secrets and painting by Vinci is shown in the story. Past life regression is also shown. Thanks for the good review

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