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Book Review: I, Mona Lisa


Rachael Elliott-Brug
Between the Pages Bookreviews

Between the Pages

Book Review: I, Mona Lisa

Rachael Elliott-Brug

I, Mona Lisa

by Natasha Solomons

Imagine seeing history through the eyes and perspective of a 500-year-old painting. In her new novel, Natasha Solomons gives the Mona Lisa the power of sentience, casting her as the fanciful narrator of her own story. Solomons' prose is lyrical and her detail immense. History is painstakingly researched and retold from the perspective of an eternal watcher with little to no influence over the events that occur. This novel may truly change the way you look at the Mona Lisa and other historic masterpieces. They may whisper as you walk the halls.

"Listen to my history. My adventures are worth hearing. I have lived many lifetimes and been loved by emperors, kings and thieves. I have survived kidnap and assault. Revolution and two world wars. But this is also a love story. And the story of what we will do for those we love."

I, Mona Lisa is a wonderfully written story of art, but also of obsession, friendship and love. Mona Lisa's story begins before Leonardo even finishes painting her. She recounts days in the studio with Leonardo and his apprentices, her distaste for the woman from whom her likeness was copied, and much more. Weaving through the years, she takes us from the dazzling world of Florentine studios to the French courts at Fontainebleau and Versailles, and into the Twentieth Century. The audiobook narrator, Amelia Donkor, was perfectly cast, like listening to a close friend tell you her story. Extraordinarily inventive, beautifully written, a delicious historical and artistic feast of a novel.

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