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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

4.2 out of 5
5 Stars
8 reviews have 5 stars
4 Stars
4 reviews have 4 stars
3 Stars
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All Book Reviews

  • Loved it!

    art-theft, artist, art-history, Italy, France, dual-time-frames, historical-novel, historical-figures, historical-places-events, historical-research, history-and-culture***** Impressive storytelling backed by solid research. This entwined presentation involves a Louvre employee during the occupation of France tasked as a member of a team to thwart the German accession of fine art, a woman who becomes a servant to a wealthy family at a young age in the time of the famous Leonardo painting, and Leonardo himself. The story is actually riveting as I wanted to find out multiple things about each of the protagonists. No spoilers here, just READ IT! I requested and received a free temporary ebook copy from William Morrow and Custom House via NetGalley. Thank you!

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  • Superb

    An outstanding book that takes place in WWll. Anne tries to make sure that the Mona Lisa painting is safe from the Nazis. A story that keeps you intrigued.

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  • Two Stories: One Fascinating, One So-So

    I was SO excited to get find this book, expecting it would be a slam dunk - because I love reading about both the Renaissance and World War II. But, I was disappointed. Maybe 3.5 stars is more accurate than 3 - but I was hoping for so much more. This story is told by three people: 1. Anne Guichard - a young archivist working at the Louvre, on the brink of and throughout World War II. 2. Bellina Sardi - a servant who helps raise her employer's daughter, Elizabeth ("Lisa") Gherardini-- the girl who grows up to be the woman immortalized in the famous Mona Lisa painting. 3. Leonardo da Vinci - a struggling artist of the Italian Renaissance who moves from one city in Italy to another, taking on assorted commissions, many of which he has trouble completing. The focus of the historical novel is the painting of the Mona Lisa. How it came to be when Lisa's prosperous husband commissioned a portrait of his wife, how the painting traveled around until it wound up in France, and about the risks taken by Louvre staff to protect it (and other great pieces of art) from Nazi looting. So much drama inherent in these stories, right? But somehow, the book felt at least 100 pages too long. While Laura Morelli switched back and forth in time, I found the chapters related to World War II much more compelling. Hiding great art during war time involved much more effort and danger than I imagined and the narrative grew increasingly tense. But many of the Renaissance chapters seemed to drag. It's not that I wasn't interested in Leonardo's or Bellina's stories. I was! They just seemed to unfold VERY slowly. And I found I was NOT rushing to return to this novel, despite my interest in the subject matter. I still recommend it. Mostly for the fascinating story of the brave people who risked so much to protect so many art treasures during World War II.

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  • Best book I ever read

    This book was absolutely amazing. It made you feel like you were there. The double timeline made you feel you were back in Leonardo‘s time but also during the second world war. And the art history is so so good and factual. This book would appeal not only to artists and art historians but to everyone. I would recommend it very very highly

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