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I, Mona Lisa

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,612 Ratings  ·  438 Reviews
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 ...more
Kindle Edition, 544 pages
Published (first published May 2nd 2006)
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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 ...more
 ♥ Antonella♥
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
Dec 26, 2011 C.W. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 23, 2012 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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 ...more
Matt Schiariti
Nov 19, 2012 Matt Schiariti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 07, 2008 Xysea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans, those who like suspenseful murder mysteries
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 effectiv
Deborah Drake
Sep 13, 2009 Deborah Drake rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who loves Italy, history, art, politics
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
Oct 09, 2010 Manda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Mar 16, 2015 Lucy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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 ...more
Dec 17, 2009 Erika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really excellent read. I'd never read Jeanne Kalogridis before, but I adore her writing style. Fluid, engaging, descriptive, and so nice to read. In the first part of this story, we hear the tale of how Lisa's life events were set into motion. The Medici family, the most powerful family in Florence, was torn apart when youngest brother Giuliano was murdered in the Duomo by the conspiring Pazzi family. After this, Florence was thrust into turmoil - a new preacher came into popularity, hailed as ...more
Jun 25, 2010 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 21, 2008 Kelsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: art history lovers, historical fiction gurus, people wanting to read a good love story
Recommended to Kelsey by: Lucky find through
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
Aug 04, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 26, 2013 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-checkout
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 ...more
Oct 26, 2010 Gaile rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 15th-century
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
Jul 13, 2010 Bex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
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
Feb 01, 2016 Juanita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review: The first seventy-five pages were confusing with all the characters and titles to remember. So, it was a slow start for me but it didn 19t take long to follow and understand this lovely story. The Author created a great performance in writing this novel. I do wish there was more to the story in the unifying of Mona Lisa and GiulianoI at the end. I think it was a great book to read.

I, Mona Lisa 26 26A short introduction about the daughter, Mona Lisa to deliver a message to the reader why
This was just SO much fun! Mona Lisa is the young woman who Da Vinci paints, and the author creates a Mona Lisa who is not clear on her origins, who falls in love with a DeMedici, and who is wrapped up in the intrigues of late 15th century Florence. Fascinating introduction to the glory days of Florence. I will see, I had the rare treat of reading this book while sitting on the balcony of the apartment in the Palazzo Salviati while staying in in Florence, looking right at the Duomo, the Palazzo ...more
Aug 23, 2013 Gertrude rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 10, 2016 Mira rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I, Mona Lisa is a novel about Lisa di Antonio Gherardini, the subject of the Mona Lisa. It is a mix of history and fiction, containing quite a few familiar names to anyone familiar with the History of the Renaissance period in Florence including Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and the Medici family.

Lisa, the fiery headstrong daughter of a wool merchant and one of the most beautiful women in Florence, finds herself at the centre of schemes of treachery and betrayal spanning many years, and h
Jun 28, 2014 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book of Jeanne Kalogridis's that I have read. She is an amazing historical fiction writer and clearly does a lot of research into the time periods she is writing about. This particular book focuses on a young woman in Italy during the late 1400s. Kalogrodis writes memorable characters and accurately depicts superstitions, gender roles, and stereotypes that were common at the time. Although the main character is constrained in many ways due to being female, Kalogridis writes he ...more
Feb 24, 2014 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 02, 2007 Julia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 16, 2016 Petra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Het portret van Mona Lisa intrigeert ons natuurlijk al jaren: Wie is ze? Maakte ze deel uit van een groter geheel? Dit boek schetst een fantasievol verhaal van wie de vrouw had kunnen zijn en waarom ze geportretteerd is. Het verhaal is hier en daar misschien wat ongeloofwaardig, maar then again: ik leefde niet in die tijd en wil ergens wel geloven dat het zou kunnen. Het is middeleeuws Italië, het land waar de maffia zal ontstaan, intrigis en verraad liggen om de hoek. Het verhaal is lang (448 p ...more
Sep 12, 2014 Ariana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. I liked the attention to the different landmarks of Florence; even though I've only spent a day there, I was able to recognize a lot and easily imagine events in the city. The historical context also was interesting. I had learned about Florence as the hub of the Renaissance, but had never heard of the conservative factions who opposed Renaissance art and thinking.

Even though there's a lot to like, I only give the book 3 stars because it took more liberties with Mona Lisa's
Feb 17, 2015 Jeanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up the book because of the title. Then I saw the author shared the same first name as me - and she has curly red hair. What can I say?

I am now convinced that every book over 500 pages needs some serious editing. This one is no different. The book jacket says that when Lisa's love Giuliano meets a tragic end she must use all her courage to untangle a sinister web that threatens her life. But she doesn't learn of Giuliano's tragic end until after page 300!

The story is actually fairly inte
Jun 21, 2007 Catherine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: girls in search of a little light reading
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...
Sep 05, 2014 Anuska3492 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book from the moment I began to read it, and couldn't ever put it down. I really enjoyed the history and it was obvious the amounts of research that had gone into the book to weave bits of history into the story. I think the idea is very clever and an interesting portrayal of the mystery that surrounds The Mona Lisa. This has to be one of my favourite books and I will continue to read it over and over again. I have bought another of Jeanne Koalogridis' books called "The Borgia Bride ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 26, 2015 07:27AM  
  • Leonardo's Swans
  • The Ruby Ring
  • Signora Da Vinci
  • The Miracles of Prato
  • The Madonna of the Almonds
  • Vivaldi's Virgins
  • The Creation of Eve
  • Artemisia
  • The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi's Venice
  • Portrait of an Unknown Woman
  • The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
  • Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet
  • The Painted Kiss
  • Poison (The Poisoner Mysteries, #1)
  • The Illuminator (Illuminator, #1)
  • Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper
  • Dancing for Degas
  • The Exiled (War of the Roses, #2)
Okay, here are the bare facts: I was born in Florida on December 17, 1954, and I've been interested in books ever since. My interest in language led me to earn a B.A. in Russian in 1976 (although my major was microbiology until my senior year).

That was soon followed by a two-year stint as a legal secretary. The good part about that was, I learned how to type, which comes in useful these days. Then
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“A pity, ' he said, without a trace of mockery. 'It seems that those who possess the greatest beauty appreciate it the least.” 0 likes
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