I, Mona Lisa - Jeanne Kalogridis 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.