Monday, May 26, 2008

Book Review: I, Mona Lisa

Author: Jeanne Kalogridis

Pages: 515

Genre: Fiction/Historical

Personal Rating 4/5

From the back cover:
"My name is Lisa di Antonio Gherardini, though to acquaintance, I am known simply as Madonna Lisa. My story begins not with my birth but a murder, committed the year before I was born."

Florence, April 1478: The handsome Giuliano de' Medici is brutally assassinated in Florence's magnificent Duomo. The shock of the murder ripples throughout the great city, from the most renowned artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, to a wealthy wool merchant and his extraordinarily beautiful daughter, Madonna Lisa.

More than a decade later, Florence falls under the dark spell of the preacher Savonarola, a fanatic who burns paintings and books as easily as he sends men to their deaths. Lisa, now grown into an alluring woman, captures the heart of Giuliano's nephew and namesake. But when Guiliano, her love, meets a tragic end, Lisa must gather all her courage and cunning to untangle a sinister web of illicit love, treachery, and dangerous secrets that threatens her life.

Set against the drama of 15th Century Florence, I, Mona Lisa is painted in many layers of fact and fiction, with each intricately drawn twist told through the captivating voice of Mona Lisa herself.
What I enjoyed about this story is how Kalogridis is able to blend common figures from history (daVinci for example), common works of art and architecture and weave them into a story. This is probably why I enjoy historical fiction overall. Kalogridis has taken the figure the painting the Mona Lisa and has created a story around her. It was fantastic. I was able to imagine living in that time period and wearing the clothes, venturing out to the market or fearing the plague. It was a little long and wandered at times or it would have earned a higher rating.

If you enjoy historical fiction you will enjoy this story. If you enjoy "mysteries" you'll enjoy this one as well.

This review will be continued but I'm out of town and giving this book to my grandmother so I wanted to get a little something down before I handed it over.

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to link to your review please let me know in the comments!


Lezlie said...

I loved this book! I'm so glad to see someone reviewing it for their blog. I'm hoping to get to her previous book, The Borgia Bride, this summer.

Have a great day!

bethany said...

I almost picked this up the other day at the store! So sorry that I didn't now...but I hadn't seen any reviews on it, so I didn't know if it was worth it or not. Thanks for the review!! Great work!

You are doing great with your OT travels!!!

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