Saturday, May 7, 2011

"Painting Mona Lisa" by Jeanne Kalogridis

Published: 2006
Read: 2011
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: 15th Century Florence, Italy
Rating: 4
Reviews: Good Reads
Author's web site
US Title: I, Mona Lisa

I picked up this book on a recent trip to New Zealand.  My daughter is on a study abroad program at the University of Auckland and over Easter week, my older daughter and I went for a visit.  It is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful and wonderfully hospitable countries.  A trip, especially to the South Island, MUST be on everyone's bucket list.

One of the surprising things was the number of second hand books shops we happened to find - or did they find us?   In one such shop, this book caught my eye.   I love a good historical fiction and this did not disappoint.  I will look for other books by this author.

I have no knowledge of this tumultuous time in Florence's history but am curious to read more.  The book is the fascinating story of how Lisa Gherardini, a beautiful young woman became the subject of Leonardo da Vinci's most famous painting, The Mona Lisa. 

At the beginning of the book, before Lisa's eleventh birthday, an astrologist reveals these disturbing words: "You are caught in a cycle of violence, of blood and deceit.  What others have begun, you must finish....You are fire four times over.  Your temper is a furnace in which the sword of justice must be forged.  In your stars, I saw an act of violence, one which is your past and your future."

Lisa remembers these fateful words as her life becomes intertwined with the powerful Lorenzo de Medici family, the fiery and pious priest Savonarola, and the beautiful, talented Leonardo da Vinci.  A quick read with plenty of plot twists and surprises.

Three volume historical novel about Florence during this time period by Linda Proud

  • A Tabernacle for the Sun (2005)
  • Pallas and the Centaur (2004)
  • The Rebirth of Venus (2008)
Other historical fiction novels by Jeanne Kalogridis
  • The Devil's Queen: A Novel of Catherine de Medici
  • Diaries of the Family Dracul: Covenant With the Vampire, Children of the Vampire and Lord of the Vampires
  • The Burning Times
  • The Scarlet Contessa: A Novel of the Italian Renaissance

1 comment:

  1. Her real story and identity is even more fascinating than that! See why her identity was purposefully obscured from history.

    Find out what is being done to expose the truth!