4 out of 4 stars
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"Things that happened many years ago often seem close and nearby to the present, and many things that happened recently seem as ancient as the bygone days of youth." ~ Codex Atlanticus, fol. 29v-a ~ Leonardo da Vinci.
This very apt quotation introduces The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci by Belle Ami, a mystery that will keep the reader engaged through to the end.
The story begins with Sophia and Gerhard in the Uffizi gallery, during the German raids on Italy in World War II. Gerhard a German officer, a deserter from the Nazi regime is planning to escape with Sophia to her family home in Tuscany. This provides the backdrop for the mystery of a painting that he removes from the private gallery. Gerhard believes the portrait of Giuliano Medici and Fioretta Gorini has been made by the great maestro and wants to protect it from thieves or destruction.
The story moves to the present day with Angela, an art historian at the Getty Museum. She has experienced some bizarre dreams since the beginning of her internship. They have revolved around Giuliano Medici and Fioretta Gorini, and she is determined to find out what this all means. She is contacted by Alex Caine. Alex is a detective that is searching for the missing painting on behalf of a wealthy German financier. Alex and Angela travel to Florence in an attempt to uncover the mystery. Unknown to them, Angela’s boss, Alberto Scordato is also seeking this painting. He has a hunch that Angela can help him find it. Alberto represents an influential man, merciless and a master of deception. He made me think of a big, fat bug that you just want to crush.
Using Angela’s dreams, the author skillfully transcends time and leads the reader into the past lives of Giuliano Medici and his lover Fioretta Gorini, and Sophia and Gerhard. Like the pieces of a puzzle, their past lives are revealed leading Angela and Alex nearer to the truth and danger.
I found this novel to represent an entertaining story and enjoyed it quite a bit more than anticipated. The transitions between different time periods were seamless, and I felt the author skillfully wove all the pieces together into a carefully scripted conclusion.
For me, the novel really came to life in Italy. The descriptive text flowed so well it was easy to imagine the scenery, the food, and the beautiful and elaborate architecture. I particularly enjoyed learning about the Uffizi gallery, the Medici family and how much they have contributed to the replete history of Italy.
The novel does contain a moderate amount of heavy romance which was the only thing I did not care for, but it is an enjoyable mystery. For anyone who appreciates Italian food, you may want to have a favorite Italian dish close to hand as you settle down for a good read. And for others that like history, architecture or admire art there is plenty to please the senses here. There is also a little humor thrown into the mix.
I felt it had been well edited. I give it a rating of 4 out of 4 stars and recommend it for anyone looking for a nice light read with a touch of mystery.
The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci
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