Kaylea's Reviews > Chasing Mona Lisa

Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer
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Feb 13, 12

bookshelves: interview-with-author, see-blog-for-more-info
Read in February, 2012

A hidden masterpiece. Protected during the war, becomes the target of a massive chase through Europe. Who will win? The good guys - spies for the OSS or the Nazis'.

In their second book - Chasing Mona Lisa - Mike Yorkey and Tricia Goyer dive back into the political intrigue surrounding OSS spies at the end of World War II, as they show how Gabi and Eric (who appeared in their first book - The Swiss Courier) take part in their mission to protect the Mona Lisa - the French prized jewel - from German thieves.

"It [Chasing Mona Lisa], is history rich and full of plot twists," explained Goyer. "For me, I was most interested in the stolen art. I read a book Rescuing Da Vinci that fascinated me. And the spy part is just plain fun.

"One of my all time favorite books is The Spy Wore Red. I also wrote about spies in my Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War Series. (A Valley of Betrayal, A Shadow of Treason, A Whisper of Freedom.) It's the cleverness of spies that I like best I suppose."

Goyer said she became acquainted with the stories surrounding stolen art when she was in Europe, after touring salt mines iin Austria which were used by the Germans to hide art during the war.

"I was fascinated by those who did what they could to protect art, hiding it away in unexpected places. The Mona Lisa hung in a young girl's bedroom for part of the war--that amazes me," Goyer continued.

While the story surrounding Chasing Mona Lisa is fiction, the novel is inspired by true events.

"The Germans did load up trains filled with art at the end of the war," Goyer said, "and many of the events that happen in the book, like the parade down the Champs-Elysees after "liberation" was true. The attempted theft of the Mona Lisa is fiction...as far as we know!"

Throughout the book, Goyer and Yorkey provide some twists and turns that often have "good guys" who turn out to be "bad" in the end, as well as some characters who seem compromised by life choices, who turn out to be "good."

"What we tried to portray is that everyone has their own motivations and goals and the truth always will come out," she said. "We tried to make the characters true-to-life and live with the desires and motivations of real people during that time. It's amazing what someone will do for a cause they believe in."

Goyer said the book was fun to write, because it incorporated characters from her previous work.

"Gabi and Eric were too good of people just to forget," Goyer said. "I was thankful to be able to spend more time with them! And in this novel I really love Colette. It was great to be able to step into the shoes of a curator for the Louvre. The mix of protector and servant was the essence of who Colette is."

Goyer said she hopes readers will walk away from this novel asking themselves several questions.

"I hope readers (examine) their own hearts and ask, 'What am I willing to fight for? Sacrifice for?' It's easy to live our lives without fighting for something we believe in," she said. "But maybe walking through this "fight" with the characters will make readers consider their own path and call."

Through writing this book, Goyer said God has taught her several lessons on trust.

"I needed to trust my co-writer. I needed to trust the process. And I learned trust through the character's lives," she said. "Do we trust we can make a difference? Do we trust God has a plan for individual lives in the midst of a big world? ... Yes."

What I Thought
Chasing Mona Lisa is a suspense-filled novel with a romantic twist. I enjoyed reading it. While it's a "second book," for the most part, you can pick up this book and read it as a "stand alone" work.

The plot, crafted around a Resistance fighter and a curator at the Louvre, truly has a lot of twists and turns. Good guys turn out to be not so good, while others pegged as "bad" turn out to be ok in the end.

The novel's descriptions let you feel like you are driving all over France and Austria trying to save the Mona Lisa along with Gabi and Eric. An unexpected kidnapping - and subsequent chase - provided an unexpected turn in the novel.

Overall, this novel is intense - but not terrifying. It's a great read that will keep you guessing what happens. It's would truly make a great movie because of the intrigue and suspense.

On the scale of one to five, with five being the highest, this book is a solid four. Once again Yorkey and Goyer have created a great novel steeped in history and intrigue. While they are not planning a third novel at this time, I would definitely be ready to read another book by this pair.
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