Kalogridis takes readers back in time to 15th-
century Florence, combining the exquisite beauty of the city with mysterious plots of murder and rebellion. The elusive subject of da Vinci's painting, Lisa di Antonio Gherardini Giocondo, comes alive, revealing the details of her life, from her relationships to her deepest secrets.

Lisa di Antonio Gherardini lives in Florence with her mother, an epileptic, and her father, a wool merchant. Because of her mother's illness, she and Lisa rarely venture out of their home. But Lisa meets Guiliano, son of Lorenzo de'Medici, the patriarch of Florence's most powerful family. After their short-lived wedded bliss, Guiliano and Lisa face danger when they find themselves in the middle of a plot to overthrow the de'Medici government. Believing Guiliano dead, Lisa is forced to marry the evil Francesco del Giocondo in order to save her father's life. Lisa never falters in her love for Guiliano, even as she secretly meets with Leonardo da Vinci, hoping to provide him with secrets to help the de'Medici family regain control of Florence. (St. Martin's, Nov., 544 pp., $14.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick