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***"My name is Lisa di Antonio Gherardini Giocondo, though to acquaintances, 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 ***"My name is Lisa di Antonio Gherardini Giocondo, though to acquaintances, 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. **


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***"My name is Lisa di Antonio Gherardini Giocondo, though to acquaintances, 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 ***"My name is Lisa di Antonio Gherardini Giocondo, though to acquaintances, 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. **

30 review for I, Mona Lisa

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rio (Lynne)

    I've never had a book disappoint me in this way. The first half was pure 5 stars. I couldn't put it down. I loved the writing style, the story, everything. You know an author is good when you know the outcome, but still find yourself at the edge of your seat. This started with the famous and gruesome murder at The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Then enters Girolamo Savonarola, the fanatical monk who turned Florence upside down. I found the author kept close to the facts about the Medici's an I've never had a book disappoint me in this way. The first half was pure 5 stars. I couldn't put it down. I loved the writing style, the story, everything. You know an author is good when you know the outcome, but still find yourself at the edge of your seat. This started with the famous and gruesome murder at The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Then enters Girolamo Savonarola, the fanatical monk who turned Florence upside down. I found the author kept close to the facts about the Medici's and Savonarola. I was loving it! I loved learning about the artists and how Lorenzo took them under his wing and helped them flourish. What went wrong? Lisa Gherardini. The author wrote in the reader's guide how she didn't change known facts. Hmmmm. I get most of Lisa's life was fuzzy, but there were known facts and Kalogridis obviously ignored them. I know, I know it's fiction, but she did make that comment instead of saying she was simply going for a possible maybe. Not wanting to ruin it for you, but Lisa was not an only child (Lisa focuses that she was.) Lisa was supposed to be happily married to Francesco del Giocondo, who historians believe commissioned her famous painting. I know some things we will never know, but half way through the author went overboard and into major story telling. I had just read Sharon Penman's article called Ten Commandments For Writing Historical Fiction. Rule 2: You should not defame real people. Well, this is where Kalogridis makes Lisa's husband into an evil/raping blackmailer. All I kept thinking was this poor man is turning in his grave. If there was some known fact that he wasn't a good person, then I could see this, but all I could find is how happily married they were. There is a blurb on Wikipedia that she was lovers with Giuliano, but we don't know if that was before or after her marriage. She turned this into a mystery novel about a deep dark secret and an odd connection between Lisa and Leonardo and a third mystery man who killed a Medici. The author simply kept losing me with the ridiculous twists and turns. My final review: The first half was 5 stars, The second half 1. I recommend this to anyone who wants to know about Florence in the 15th century, The Medici's, Savonarola and anyone who loves Renaissance art, but understand the Lisa part is pure fiction.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ella

    I,Mona Lisa takes the readers back in time in the 15th century Florence during the last years of rule of Lorenzo de' Medici and the raise of the Dominican monk and religious fanatic Girolamo Savonarola who preaches against any kind of display of art, even comfort, against the Medici and the pope. We are introduced to this world through the eyes of young Lisa. Lisa is the daughter of a successful wool merchant and his mysterious aristocratic wife. Historical note: There seem to be some evidences whi I,Mona Lisa takes the readers back in time in the 15th century Florence during the last years of rule of Lorenzo de' Medici and the raise of the Dominican monk and religious fanatic Girolamo Savonarola who preaches against any kind of display of art, even comfort, against the Medici and the pope. We are introduced to this world through the eyes of young Lisa. Lisa is the daughter of a successful wool merchant and his mysterious aristocratic wife. Historical note: There seem to be some evidences which point that Giuliano and Lisa were lovers in real life and when he went in exile in 1494,she was pregnant. And so some believe that the portrait was commissioned by Giuliano Himself.It is said that da Vinci mentioned a painting "of a certain Florentine lady" done from life at the request of the magnificent Giuliano de' Medici. (view spoiler)[Oh,and love the fact that the author included the information about Leonardo being vegetarian and about the birds,since according to sources he often bought birds and then he would free them. (hide spoiler)]

  3. 4 out of 5

    C.W.

    In her follow-up to 2005's The Borgia Bride, Ms Kalogridis brings to life the woman behind the enigmatic smile of Leonardo da Vinci's most famous painting. Lisa di Antonio Gheradini is born the daughter of a successful cloth merchant in 15th century Florence, a city dominated by the Medici and rife with dangerous intrigue and treachery since the assassination attempt known as the Pazzi Conspiracy, during which the Medici overlord, Lorenzo Il Magnifico, lost his brother and nearly his own life. L In her follow-up to 2005's The Borgia Bride, Ms Kalogridis brings to life the woman behind the enigmatic smile of Leonardo da Vinci's most famous painting. Lisa di Antonio Gheradini is born the daughter of a successful cloth merchant in 15th century Florence, a city dominated by the Medici and rife with dangerous intrigue and treachery since the assassination attempt known as the Pazzi Conspiracy, during which the Medici overlord, Lorenzo Il Magnifico, lost his brother and nearly his own life. Lisa grows into womanhood overshadowed by these traumatic events, which lead to the popular rise of the fanatic monk, Salvonarola, whose rabid crusade against the Medici resulted in a dark period of fear and persecution. Unbeknownst to her, Lisa also carries a secret--one which binds her to the Medici cause and brings her to the attention of Leonardo. Ms Kalogridis vividly recreates the Pazzi Conspiracy through the eyes of one of its conspirators, and details of life in Renaissance Florence pepper the narrative with realism. Likewise, the Medici's magnetic appeal and passion for power and the arts offer a fascinating contrast to Salvonarola's brimstone condemnation, and the inclusion of a slave in Lisa's household underscores the deep division between social classes, while Lisa's personal trials drive a mystery-laden relationship with the exceptional artist who will eventually paint her into immortality. I, MONA LISA offers readers a well-researched, captivating foray into a turbulent episode in Italian history.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    This book starts with a bang; it is very exciting! You are drawn in immediately, but then it goes down-hill, unless you enjoy fictitious murder mysteries. If you know me, you know this genre is not one of my favorites! Far from it. What I did enjoy was reading about Renaissance Florence, peopled with the likes of Savonarola and the Medici family. Michelangelo and Leonardo de Vinci have to be included too. The author has not twisted the historical dates and events. What she has done is bind toget This book starts with a bang; it is very exciting! You are drawn in immediately, but then it goes down-hill, unless you enjoy fictitious murder mysteries. If you know me, you know this genre is not one of my favorites! Far from it. What I did enjoy was reading about Renaissance Florence, peopled with the likes of Savonarola and the Medici family. Michelangelo and Leonardo de Vinci have to be included too. The author has not twisted the historical dates and events. What she has done is bind together the Medici family with Mona Lisa, Lisa di Antonio Gherardini, the model of De Vinci’s famed portrait. I never bought this, nor some other family connections that were thrown in! As you read the story, if you know a little about the history of the Medici family, you will also immediately know something is wrong with the story being fed us. To explain more would be a spoiler. I repeat, this book is at heart a fictional murder mystery woven around known historical events. I never found the fictional mystery believable. Very little is known about Mona Lisa, so it is her family and relations that are imagined. These are the aspects of the story that are fictional. I wanted to know more about Mona Lisa. It was my error to choose this book. I thought I could learn more about her, but I can’t because practically nothing is known. What is known is that she married Francesco del Giocondo. Here, the book has played with the historical facts. No mention is made of this. There is no author’s note, only a “conversation with the author” at the end of the book. Francesco’s fictional portrait is truly evil. I find this disturbing, given that a man that did live, albeit years ago, has been misrepresented. In summary, the author never succeeded in making me believe in the fictional aspects of the story. A good author can do this. A good author can make the imaginary feel real. Many others enjoy Jeanne Kalogridis’ writing. It is best you go read their reviews.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I, Mona Lisa takes you into the heart of Florence when the monk Savanarola, was preaching his messages of hell fire and brimstone against the Borgia pope's decadence and lust, the evilness of sodomy, and what was going to happen to the rich of Florence if they did not repent and change their ways; in the middle of all this you meet you Madonna Lisa, her sick Mother, her faithful yet beautiful slave, her deceitful Father and the hateful and demanding world which she is tossed into. From the first I, Mona Lisa takes you into the heart of Florence when the monk Savanarola, was preaching his messages of hell fire and brimstone against the Borgia pope's decadence and lust, the evilness of sodomy, and what was going to happen to the rich of Florence if they did not repent and change their ways; in the middle of all this you meet you Madonna Lisa, her sick Mother, her faithful yet beautiful slave, her deceitful Father and the hateful and demanding world which she is tossed into. From the first page of the novel the reader is tossed into a world of cathedrals filled with murderers, intrigue, affairs, and people who are loyal to causes that will ultimately get them killed or out them on the wrong side of an executioner's axe. Young Lisa must negotiate her way through a world that is both unkind and dangerous while meeting some of the most famous people that we revere today such as Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Lorenzo the Magnificent, and so on, the world's most famous painting is started, and the girl behind it is transformed into a flesh and blood character who fights increasingly overwhelming odds to live her life, and save the lives of those she loves, this was an amazing book and I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    This is the story of Lisa Gherardini, supposedly painted by Leonardo da Vinci and known as Mona Lisa. She was the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. In this story before she marries him, she is married to the youngest son of Lorenzo de Medici, Giuliano, just for a few days before tragedy strikes. This part is fiction, which I assume author did this to introduce the family of Lorenzo de Medici through Giuliano. I’m always looking forward to author’s note to learn more about the author’s choices, but This is the story of Lisa Gherardini, supposedly painted by Leonardo da Vinci and known as Mona Lisa. She was the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. In this story before she marries him, she is married to the youngest son of Lorenzo de Medici, Giuliano, just for a few days before tragedy strikes. This part is fiction, which I assume author did this to introduce the family of Lorenzo de Medici through Giuliano. I’m always looking forward to author’s note to learn more about the author’s choices, but there is no author’s note in this book. In the late 15th century, the city of Florence is technically ruled by Lorenzo de Medici. A powerful banker family. Their rival Pazzi arranges to murder both brothers, Guliano and Lorenzo de Medici. One dies, one survives. This part is too drawn out. I credit author for skillfully introducing Leonardo da Vinci. Instead of just giving out his name, she makes known him as an eager artist, studying human anatomy, writing differently than the rest in a style of mirror image, with rustic Vinci dialect. Lisa is a daughter of a wealthy wool merchant and as her father delivers goods to the household of Lorenzo de Medici, she sometimes accompanies him. This is where she meets Leonardo da Vinci. Medici, patron of many arts, commissions da Vinci to paint young Lisa. At the same visit, she meets Lorenzo’s youngest son Giuliano. There are moments where the story is absorbing, but for most of the time whatever is happening is written in a drawn out style. If you liked her first book, The Borgia Bride, then you may like this book. It’s the same style of writing, which I don’t like.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Drake

    I am a big fan of historical fiction and love Cecelia Holland, Kate Horsley (please write more!) and was thankful to discover Jeanne Kalogridis. This is a read I devoured to get to the next gripping development. I will read anything this author writes. Her style is rich and her characters feel real and felt by the reader. A visually and emotionally satisfying read. "Set against the drama of 15th Century Florence, I, Mona Lisa is painted in many layers of fact and fiction, with each intricately d I am a big fan of historical fiction and love Cecelia Holland, Kate Horsley (please write more!) and was thankful to discover Jeanne Kalogridis. This is a read I devoured to get to the next gripping development. I will read anything this author writes. Her style is rich and her characters feel real and felt by the reader. A visually and emotionally satisfying read. "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." Hard to put down when it was time for lights out. Gets my five star rating.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Matt Schiariti

    After reading her Diaries of the Family Dracul I decided to look into her historical fiction novel, The Borgia Bride and I loved every single word of it. I, Mona Lisa takes place in the same time frame of The Borgia Bride, has some more in depth scenes of characters that were only mentioned in the Borgia Bride and is every bit as good! I really enjoy how Kalogridis writes historical fiction. She uses real events and people from history and 'fills in the blanks' as it were in regards to what she t After reading her Diaries of the Family Dracul I decided to look into her historical fiction novel, The Borgia Bride and I loved every single word of it. I, Mona Lisa takes place in the same time frame of The Borgia Bride, has some more in depth scenes of characters that were only mentioned in the Borgia Bride and is every bit as good! I really enjoy how Kalogridis writes historical fiction. She uses real events and people from history and 'fills in the blanks' as it were in regards to what she thinks would have happened to the people involved behind the scenes of history. This book is told from the perspective of the woman who was the subject of DaVinci's great work, The Mona Lisa. Little is really known about the true person, but Kalogridis fleshes her out so completely that you feel as if you know her, as if her personality were captured in the memories of history. As with the Borgia Bride, and because of the tumultuous times that were the mainstay of this part of history in Italy, betrayal, twists, turns and secrets fill up the majority of the book. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see who would betray whom next, what secret from each of the characters' histories would be revealed next and what the consequences would be for each one in turn. GREAT book and I look forward to anything else that Kalogridis writes. She's that good and I'm hooked.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Manda

    I started this book on Wednesday and it's now Saturday night and I just finished. I'm slightly embarrassed by how much time I devoted to reading this book. It truly was a fantastic read. The storyline was very captivating and held your interest literally until the last line of the Epilogue. There were only 2 things about it that kept me from giving it 5 stars. 1) There was a little bit of questionable language. It wasn't very much and it didn't even occur until almost 2/3 of the way through, but I started this book on Wednesday and it's now Saturday night and I just finished. I'm slightly embarrassed by how much time I devoted to reading this book. It truly was a fantastic read. The storyline was very captivating and held your interest literally until the last line of the Epilogue. There were only 2 things about it that kept me from giving it 5 stars. 1) There was a little bit of questionable language. It wasn't very much and it didn't even occur until almost 2/3 of the way through, but it was enough to make me a little uncomfortable. (The language probably would only give it a PG rating if this were a movie though.) 2) There was a little bit of sexual innuendo that again made me uncomfortable. Again nothing big and by the time I began to wonder if I should quit reading it was over. (Like maybe a total of 10 lines in the entire book.) For me I'm sensitive to these things so it was enough to hold back a star. Also, because of these things I would hesitate to recommend this book without the disclaimer of those items above. But the storyline and characters and intrigue were AMAZING!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Xysea

    I found this book surprisingly engrossing, albeit in a sort of way, but better. The story centers around a murder - that of Giuliano de Medici in the late 15th century in Florence - and the subsequent solving of that murder. (Another good book on this subject is also one I mailed out for bookmooch called April Blood, but that book was more dry and less entertaining that this one - though the fictional details closely resemble the actual ones) The plot has a decent pace, the characters are effecti I found this book surprisingly engrossing, albeit in a sort of way, but better. The story centers around a murder - that of Giuliano de Medici in the late 15th century in Florence - and the subsequent solving of that murder. (Another good book on this subject is also one I mailed out for bookmooch called April Blood, but that book was more dry and less entertaining that this one - though the fictional details closely resemble the actual ones) The plot has a decent pace, the characters are effective and well-drawn. Overall, an enjoyable, not too deep historical read that sweep you off to parts unknown for a few hours, or days.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    3.5/5. A different perspective on Mona Lisa’s parentage and yet another reason for her mysterious smile. I like how this author uses undisputed facts for the majority of her book, and then adds her twists to “ behind the scenes”. There are two( or more) sides to every story, as proven by the array of books written about 15th century Italy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Beth Sponzilli

    I started out not really liking this book. I’d say by almost halfway through I would give it 3 stars. It got a lot better after that and things started to connect. The story is told by a girl, Monna Lisa, who is connected to the powerful Medici family of Florence, as well as Leonardo de Vinci. It is a murder mystery, and along the way a famous portrait is captured.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    I Mona Lisa takes place in Florence near the end of the Medici family's golden years. The novel begins with the murder of Guiliano de Medici and the attempted murder of his brother Lorenzo. The opening chapters were slightly confusing for me because this is the first HF novel I have read set in Italy during this time period. The second chapter explained a lot of Italian politics of the time period, but I felt overwhelmed with the names and information. I am glad that I continued reading this boo I Mona Lisa takes place in Florence near the end of the Medici family's golden years. The novel begins with the murder of Guiliano de Medici and the attempted murder of his brother Lorenzo. The opening chapters were slightly confusing for me because this is the first HF novel I have read set in Italy during this time period. The second chapter explained a lot of Italian politics of the time period, but I felt overwhelmed with the names and information. I am glad that I continued reading this book because the overall story was strong. Madonna Lisa has a past shrouded in mystery and her present day life holds nothing but tragedy. Florence is faced with financial downturn, floods, and threats of an invading army. A prophet/priest (Savanarola) appears on the scene and stirs up trouble by preaching against the Medici family, Renaissance ideals, writings, and artwork. Lisa's father supports Savanarola, but her mother is suspicious. Through a tragic circumstance, Lisa loses her mother and Lisa's father takes her to Lorenzo de Medici so that he may find her future husband. Lisa meets Leonardo da Vinci at a party at the Medici household and an unbreakable bond is formed and tested over time, along with the infamous Mona Lisa painting. I enjoyed reading this novel because it was well written. This novel would benefit from the addition of two items: a glossary of Italian terms, and a map of Florence.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    One day while perusing some books on Amazon, I came across this book. Despite never having been familiar with the author, the premise of this book intrigued me. I, Mona Lisa tells the story of Lisa (whose last name escapes me), the "real" woman painted in the famous artwork, The Mona Lisa. Using a stream of history in her work, the author is able to paint this story within the time of the Pazzi and Medici family rivalry. What I really enjoyed about this book was the author's ability to keep the s One day while perusing some books on Amazon, I came across this book. Despite never having been familiar with the author, the premise of this book intrigued me. I, Mona Lisa tells the story of Lisa (whose last name escapes me), the "real" woman painted in the famous artwork, The Mona Lisa. Using a stream of history in her work, the author is able to paint this story within the time of the Pazzi and Medici family rivalry. What I really enjoyed about this book was the author's ability to keep the story moving as well as always throwing in little twists throughout the way. The book was a little hard for me to get in at the beginning, however, after about 30 pages or so, I was definitely hooked. The story is complete with most of my requirements for a decent plot: death, deception, betrayal, forbidden love... Further, my inner feminist was pleased that the main character in this book, a woman, seemed very proactive and a little headstrong. One can definitely tell that the author took great care in how she described the fictional Mona Lisa. If you enjoy historical fiction, I am sure that you will enjoy this book. It is very easy to read, and most of the historical characters/events you have heard of before. If not, as the author has once stated: "The nice thing about historical fiction is that it gives one an entertaining way to learn about history."

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tori Hoeschler

    This book is to historical fiction what Twilight is to a Pulitzer...not even close. At what point did the memo stop circulating that says "naming your characters with names of famous historical figures does not historical fiction make"? What the author has done here is create a pseudo saga that happens to take place in Renaissance Florence, and with characters who happen to have names like Leonardo DaVinci and Lorenzo di Medici. It is blatantly obvious this woman had this silly little damsel in This book is to historical fiction what Twilight is to a Pulitzer...not even close. At what point did the memo stop circulating that says "naming your characters with names of famous historical figures does not historical fiction make"? What the author has done here is create a pseudo saga that happens to take place in Renaissance Florence, and with characters who happen to have names like Leonardo DaVinci and Lorenzo di Medici. It is blatantly obvious this woman had this silly little damsel in distress with a peek-a-boo plot twist story line already written and in the course of editing, she perused wikipedia for a couple hours to find some snippets she could use to beef up the "Historical" part of this complete piece of fiction. No. No. No. No. The only reason I gave this book 2 stars is because as FICTION, it was entertaining; the story moved along, the obtuse manipulation of DaVinci's life was amusing, and it was a good, light summer read. If you are considering this book with no expectations and just want something to toss into your beach bag, by all means, enjoy, but don't you DARE take the "historical" bits seriously. If you are considering this book and have even a shred of knowledge about the period within which the story takes place, then please be prepared to join me in my last page expulsion, "Oh Pu-lease." (steps off soapbox, exits stage right)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I, Mona Lisa is another breathtaking, fabulous historical novel by Jeanne Kalogridis. Bringing a keen eye for detail and a marvelous pen to Renaissance Italy, Kalogridis weaves a compelling tale of jealousy, passion, secrets, lies and power where she attempts to unravel the strange secrets behind Leondardo di Vinci's most famous piece of art. I, Mona Lisa follows the life of Italian noblewoman Lisa, the subject of de Vinci's Mona Lisa through the tumultuous changes in Italy and the fall of the po I, Mona Lisa is another breathtaking, fabulous historical novel by Jeanne Kalogridis. Bringing a keen eye for detail and a marvelous pen to Renaissance Italy, Kalogridis weaves a compelling tale of jealousy, passion, secrets, lies and power where she attempts to unravel the strange secrets behind Leondardo di Vinci's most famous piece of art. I, Mona Lisa follows the life of Italian noblewoman Lisa, the subject of de Vinci's Mona Lisa through the tumultuous changes in Italy and the fall of the powerful Medici family. After Lisa's mother dies, she knows life won't ever be the same. Around the same time she meets Giuliano de Medici, and the pair fall in love. Despite her's father's warnings and the growing political undercurrents against the Medicis, Lisa marries Guiliano. After his sudden death, Lisa is swept up into the political intrigue and delicately woven plots among the Italian nobility and learns a dark, yet shocking secret about her family. Written in a clear and passionate voice, I, Mona Lisa a thrilling, well-written picture of the past that keeps readers flipping pages (really, don't let the thickness fool you). This novel gave an interesting spin on a unique approach to the time and its happenings. I particularly enjoyed Kalogridis' depiction of the 15th century, it felt incredibly real and served as the perfect setting for this well-crafted and compelling tale.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gaile

    Lisa Gherardini is told her horoscope is forged in fire and she must finish what was started before her birth.Guiliano DeMedici, youngest brother of Lorenzo, The Magnificent, ruler of Florence had been assassinated before her birth. Growing into womanhood Lisa falls in love with Lorenzo's youngest son, another Guiliano. Florence is in turmoil, roiled up by the fanatic preacher, Savonarola. With the death of Lorenzo, civil war breaks out between the DeMedicis and the Pazzi family. The DeMedicis fle Lisa Gherardini is told her horoscope is forged in fire and she must finish what was started before her birth.Guiliano DeMedici, youngest brother of Lorenzo, The Magnificent, ruler of Florence had been assassinated before her birth. Growing into womanhood Lisa falls in love with Lorenzo's youngest son, another Guiliano. Florence is in turmoil, roiled up by the fanatic preacher, Savonarola. With the death of Lorenzo, civil war breaks out between the DeMedicis and the Pazzi family. The DeMedicis flee the city to Rome. Lisa becomes a political tool. Pregnant with Guiliana's child and believing him dead, she marries Francesco Del Giacondo. Just as swiftly she turns around and becomes a DeMedici spy, reporting to Leonardo DaVinci. She also allows him to paint her portrait. Reading this book, I, of course knew all along that Guiliano had not died. History records his death in the year 1534. He also became Pope Clement VII. Still the intrigue in this book and the struggle for power with one helpless woman caught in the center (who is after all not so helpless) makes this one a worthwhile and suspenseful read. Although the first chapter are rather boring, once into it, this book takes on a life of it's own.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    I have read a couple of Jeanne Kalogridis' Italian Renaissance novels and I always seem to find the same thing- she is excellent at excitement in her novels (enough to keep you interested) but that is generally at the expense of Any historical accuracy. If you accept the fact that aside from some basic dates and events easily gleaned from Wikipedia, the historical side is more of a side than a feature. In the case of this book, the liberalities can partially be excused by the fact that not THAT I have read a couple of Jeanne Kalogridis' Italian Renaissance novels and I always seem to find the same thing- she is excellent at excitement in her novels (enough to keep you interested) but that is generally at the expense of Any historical accuracy. If you accept the fact that aside from some basic dates and events easily gleaned from Wikipedia, the historical side is more of a side than a feature. In the case of this book, the liberalities can partially be excused by the fact that not THAT much is known about the actual character of Lisa. Like a her other Renaissance novels (the Borgia Bride and the Scarlet Contessa), there was a strong emphasis on the romantic relationships, the same was true of this novel, and while there was an attempt at suspense, it just felt far too long for what actually happened. Credit where credit was due, her use of Savonarola and some parts of the mystery of Lisa's heritage had potential- they were just sacrificed in the face of romance attempts at the shock factor. Not the best of Kalogridis' novels, and definitely not to be regarded as historical in anyway other than the basic setting, but enjoyable enough if you're looking for an easy read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    What I know about the real Mona Lisa is... absolutely nothing. So I'm not sure what is fact in this book and what is fiction. The author did have a historical note in the back, but it mainly just said she stuck to fact when it was known, and embellished things when the actions weren't clear. Alrighty then. Nevertheless, I loved this book. You are drawn straight into Lisa's world during Italy's tumultuous time period with the "prophet" Savonarola. The book I had read recently, Signora Da Vinci, to What I know about the real Mona Lisa is... absolutely nothing. So I'm not sure what is fact in this book and what is fiction. The author did have a historical note in the back, but it mainly just said she stuck to fact when it was known, and embellished things when the actions weren't clear. Alrighty then. Nevertheless, I loved this book. You are drawn straight into Lisa's world during Italy's tumultuous time period with the "prophet" Savonarola. The book I had read recently, Signora Da Vinci, touched on this vaguely as that story was wrapping up, but I had no idea the extent that this man went. This being the second book I've read featuring Leonardo da Vinci, I find myself becoming more and more fascinated by him. One of my biggest frustrations with historical figures in general is that we typically know so little, but I guess that does make for some fun creative liberties in fiction!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bex

    Betrayal, Love, Loss: A Story of Mona Lisa This tale is set against the turbulent backdrop of late 15th century Florence. Through the eyes of Lisa di Antonio Gherardini Giocondo, we meet the Medici, Sandro Botticelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, feast on the Florentine Renaissance and then experience the puritanical turbulence of Girolamo Savanarola (including the Bonfire of the Vanities). The story itself, though, is an intricate tale of Lisa's life complete with elements of love, high d Betrayal, Love, Loss: A Story of Mona Lisa This tale is set against the turbulent backdrop of late 15th century Florence. Through the eyes of Lisa di Antonio Gherardini Giocondo, we meet the Medici, Sandro Botticelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, feast on the Florentine Renaissance and then experience the puritanical turbulence of Girolamo Savanarola (including the Bonfire of the Vanities). The story itself, though, is an intricate tale of Lisa's life complete with elements of love, high drama, betrayal and loss. 'People kill and die because they cannot control their emotions' Whether you read this novel as pure fiction or would like it to be plausible explanation, enjoy the story. While I read it as escapist fiction, I enjoyed the writing and became caught up in the possibilities explored.

  21. 4 out of 5

    M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews

    I have mixed feelings about this book. As a piece of historical fiction, the author does a good job in bringing to life late 15th century, but historical fiction usually spurs me on to research, and the author stated that she kept to historical fact as much as she could... but there is nothing in what I read to indicate that Guiliano and Lisa had ever been together. In fact, in real life, Lisa remained married to her silk merchant husband, and had five children with him. So while the writing and I have mixed feelings about this book. As a piece of historical fiction, the author does a good job in bringing to life late 15th century, but historical fiction usually spurs me on to research, and the author stated that she kept to historical fact as much as she could... but there is nothing in what I read to indicate that Guiliano and Lisa had ever been together. In fact, in real life, Lisa remained married to her silk merchant husband, and had five children with him. So while the writing and scenery were great, I am bothered by the author changing historical facts about a real=life person for the sake of her story. If you're going to use actual figures in your stories, then please have the basic facts right.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dragos

    This is the second book written by Jeanne Kalogridis that I read in only a few days. She tells the story combining real facts about the Medici family and 15th century Florence with made up events that make the reading even more enjoyable. It's the Florence of renaissance, the Florence of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Botticelli and Brunelleschi. It's the Florence of political disputes and vengeance. In some way, it's almost like a very old mafia story. This is the second book written by Jeanne Kalogridis that I read in only a few days. She tells the story combining real facts about the Medici family and 15th century Florence with made up events that make the reading even more enjoyable. It's the Florence of renaissance, the Florence of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Botticelli and Brunelleschi. It's the Florence of political disputes and vengeance. In some way, it's almost like a very old mafia story.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jules C

    This book is kind of Philippa Gregory-ish for those who like ehr. I like getting really involved in a story & while this book has a great plotline with twists & turns throughout the novel, I wouldn't consider it a literary classic. However, it's a fun read and once you get into the heart of it, it's impossible to put down. This book is kind of Philippa Gregory-ish for those who like ehr. I like getting really involved in a story & while this book has a great plotline with twists & turns throughout the novel, I wouldn't consider it a literary classic. However, it's a fun read and once you get into the heart of it, it's impossible to put down.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I decided to dive into this book while reading about art in the Renaissance. This was a wonderfully written book full of suspense. I was drawn in immediately and couldn't put it down. I found it to be historically accurate and now long to know more about the Medici family. Will definitely read more of this author's work. I decided to dive into this book while reading about art in the Renaissance. This was a wonderfully written book full of suspense. I was drawn in immediately and couldn't put it down. I found it to be historically accurate and now long to know more about the Medici family. Will definitely read more of this author's work.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    a fun mystery set in florence in the time of da vinci. has a couple good twists, and a couple foreseeable ones. if i had a beach-reading shelf i'd put it on that too... a fun mystery set in florence in the time of da vinci. has a couple good twists, and a couple foreseeable ones. if i had a beach-reading shelf i'd put it on that too...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ida

    Good enough, but a bit far fetched even for a novel. Anyhow, it was interesting enough considering all the different Mona Lisa theories.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Overdone, more detail than necessary. I had difficulty with all the character names. Waited in vain for the climax that never really came.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    This is a somewhat interesting, though not very deep book. The plot is predictable, but it does make you want to read more about the Medici.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Natasa

    This book started somewhat slow and took a while to develop. I think there were too many subplots going on. It felt there was a rush to tie up the ends towards the end of the novel.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Véronique

    The first half of the book was really interesting. But then it started to get really boring....

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