I’m not quite finished, but I’m prepared to give this book a strong endorsement. Donna Jo Napoli writes beautifully; she’s a master of succinct detailed description. Her prose is elegant, which suits the historical time and the noble class around which the story revolves.
The Smile is a fictional account of who Mona Lisa was–the story behind the painting. The historical details are so finely painted, it feels as though it could be non-fiction, which is precisely how historical fiction should feel. Elisabetta is a young girl living on the outskirts of Florence. Though she is a noble, her family’s silk business is struggling, and it is important for her, the only child, to raise the family’s fortunes by marrying well.
A friend of the family, Leonardo da Vinci, introduces Elisabetta to Giuliano de Medici, the youngest son of the most important and influential family in Florence, who makes Elisabetta smile. But while Elisabetta and Giuliano are falling in love, Florence is crumbling. Times are hard and the Medicis are in trouble.
I’ll find out tonight what happens next!
Twelve-year-old Tiger Ann Parker is a straight-A student and spelling bee champ. She lives with her grandmother and mentally-challenged parents. As Tiger Ann gets older she begins to see how her parents are different from other parents. Her classmates see it, too.
A disaster that befalls the family just might turn into a blessing when Tiger’s aunt invites her to live in Baton Rouge, to wear fashionable clothes, cut her hair, reinvent herself. When given the chance to be whatever she wants, Tiger Ann discovers who she is.
I just discovered this book was made into a movie. I’ve added it to my Netflix queue. I’ll be looking to read more of Ms. Holt’s books.