Book : The Second Mrs. Gioconda
Author : E.L. Konigsburg
Genre : Mystery
Published by : Simon and Schuster Children Publications
Year : 1975
WHY,people ask,why did Leonardo da Vinci chose to paint the portrait of the second wife of an unimportant merchant when dukes and duchesses all over Italy and the King of France as well, were all begging him for a portrait by his hand? Why?
The book claims it 'lies' with Salai-a petty thief, a shameless liar and the youngest apprentice in Leonardo's studio.
It revolves around Leonardo, Salai and Beatrice- a young Duchess with a plain face and a beautiful soul.
Other characters of II Moro - Beatrice 's husband and duke, Isabella- Beatrice's elder sister, Cecila- II Moro's true love and
the Renaissance life - a character in itself give beauty and depth to the author's interpretation of the historical events.
How Monalisa- the second wife of Mr. Gioconda came into picture and was turned into 'the' picture/portrait is the carefully wrapped up end of the book.
The book is short,beautifully written and is well paced.Though its target reader is the young adults, it is a pleasant read for all age groups. The author, E.L.Konigsburg(she passed away last year)is a noted writer for children who wrote from their perspective , generally after interacting with them. This quality of her,has rendered simplicity to the complex plot, illumination to the layered characters and a connect to the people in the book in bare minimum words.
VERDICT : A good read.