Christina’s Review: Bella Gioconda by Richard Heket

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Christina’s Review: Bella Gioconda by Richard HeketBella Gioconda by Richard Heket
Published by Lavender and Chamomile Press on 2014-04-20
Genres: Fiction, General, Historical, Romance
Pages: 167
Format: eBook
Source: the publisher
Five hundred years can confuse identity. An old chalk drawing of a girl, Maria, the daughter of a Chianti vintner leaves a Swiss art collector, Claude Beauvin entangled in a Renaissance love story from the past. The drawing is currently owned by a reclusive young widow, Andrea Garibaldi-Chase, who puts the drawing up for auction. With smoldering rumors that Leonardo da Vinci is the artist of the portrait, history is set on fire by a New York art dealer, an art history professor, and an intellectual property crimes investigator from INTERPOL who are all caught up in the drawings history. It's not until after the auction that Beauvin learns who the girl really was, what influence she had over da Vinci and the centuries since, and how his growing feelings for Andrea transcends time and identity.

This book was refreshingly different from others I have read recently. It was short (less than 200 pages) and had a storyline that hit my interest. Art, history, wine… what more could I ask for!

The story crossed over a period of 500 years, alternating between Leonardo da Vinci’s life and 2009 in the United States when a mysterious art piece was about to go to auction. There was interest in the art piece… could there have been a connection with this piece between the infamous da Vinci, or was it just a pretty piece? Could a connection between the piece and da Vinci even be proven if there was one? That is for me to now know and for future readers to find out.

Heket incorporated art history and drawing techniques which really caught my interest. He also added more scientific details, such as fingerprint analysis which added a new element of complexity to the story being told. The story felt believable for me as the author crossed over time and added dialogue between da Vinci and other characters. I escaped into the details and really felt like I was seeing a side of da Vinci that was rarely seen.

Heket added multiple story lines to this book. In addition to the da Vinci story, there was the story related to the piece that was potentially going up for auction. The relationships between the characters and this artwork added a whole other element to the story that kept me wondering how things would end, and would there be a twist?

I received this book for free from the publishing company, Lavender and Chamomile Press, and read it on my Kindle. I am glad I took the time to enjoy the story. It was a quick read, an escape, and one that I would pair next time with a glass of wine to correlate with the vineyard location and add to the experience. I recommend this book especially for the art history lover and artist.

pj - christina

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