Mona Lisa’s Secret Review
By Alexis Mercer
This book review started as a result of a survey I conducted on Near North Now asking readers to weigh in on which genre I should read next. The readers chose Historical Fiction, which had me excited. I’m horrifically pathetic at remembering details about history (just ask the group of friends who witness my abysmal daily results of Isaac Asimov’s Super Quiz...I’m really that bad). But I love to read historically based novels.
My search began to find a title that peaked my interest. My original choice (I’ll save the title because it is going to be my review in a few weeks) was a book I knew my mom owned, but I wouldn’t have immediate access to it, so I kept looking. World War II was a prevalent theme in my searches, but being that it is summer and I knew I would be reading while my kids were playing outside in the sun, I wanted something a little lighter. I happened upon Mona Lisa’s Secret by Phil Philips and was intrigued. I clicked the magic Buy Now button on Amazon and started reading two days later.
My intrigue about this book came from the idea that it seemed DaVinci Code-like. And who didn’t like DaVinci Code?
I’ll start with the positives. The storyline of the book was good. Joey, the great-grandson of Vincenzo Peruggia, the man who stole the Mona Lisa, and his girlfriend Marie, an art gallery owner, discover a secret chamber in Joey’s newly inherited house in California. Within the chamber is the Mona Lisa; the original.
Marie has a connection to the Louvre curator and immediately the pair report the find to him. Once in Paris, things turn for the worse and the two find themselves running for their lives to protect the painting and discover the truth.
Sadly the intrigue of the plot was deafened by the misery of the writing itself. The attempts to insert the historical facts into the plot were contrived. As was the characterization throughout. The dialogue was almost comical in its forced nature.
My disappointment in the writing itself was more than I could overcome to be able to enjoy the book despite its interesting plot.
If you can put on blinders to the author’s inability to naturally weave a tale, you could try this book. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I will try again in the category of Historical Fiction with a book I am quite sure will renew my belief in good writing.
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