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Chasing Mona Lisa

Chasing Mona Lisa is a historical fiction novel by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey.

In August 1944 change is on the brink in Nazi-occupied Paris. Civilians have become liberators, military men have become heroes, and their liberation draws nigh. But the Third Reich is still a strong, determined opponent and they have need of a bargaining chip.

Reichmarschall Hermann Goring, Hitler’s right hand man, has been collecting art – or, rather, stealing art – from those whom they’ve imprisoned, as well as Paris’s own Louvre. But the Parisians have been careful to keep the location of their national treasure the Mona Lisa a closely guarded secret and constantly on the move.

Yet there may be an informant inside the rebellion, and Goring is making it his number one priority to find and leverage the priceless painting.

Swiss OSS agents Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler have been sent to Paris to aid in its liberation – and now they have a new goal: get to the Mona Lisa before Goring. It may very well be a deciding point of the war…

I’ve said it before – historical fiction can be awesome, or it can lean toward the dry and boring. Happily, Chasing Mona Lisa was far closer to the former!

Action-packed, intense, and extremely suspenseful, the historical detail and seamless writing seem to place the reader as an observer on the ground in Nazi-occupied, war-torn France. I truly felt like I was there – and it was scary.

There’s a constant paranoia, smartly so. You can practically hear the Germans turn a corner, the gun shots, the screams and the gasps. Add that with intelligently drawn characters, including a strong yet feminine female lead in Gabi, you get an excellent overall package!

With the budding relationship between Gabi and Eric, as well as a struggling Parisian couple, Chasing Mona Lisa also manages to be romantic at times. Primarily, though, this is a page-turner. A page-turner that is sometimes gruesome and disturbing, which is why it feels so real. This isn’t war watered down.

The viewpoints switch regularly between the characters, even to the enemy, keeping things fresh and fast-paced. I’ll be honest with you – when it came to some of the more detailed war-talk, I wasn’t always entirely sure of what was going on, but I did get the general idea. And it was fascinating, breathless, and nerve-wracking.

Chasing Mona Lisa was brutal in an honest way and very effective as a slice of WWII. Apparently there is a prequel in which we originally met Gabi and Eric in the authors’ The Swiss Courier. After reading Chasing Mona Lisa, I am tempted to go pick up the first book – though this was fine to read as a stand-alone.

I can’t help but hope a third book will help round it out and show us the last dredges of WWII!

*Available January 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

*I received a copy of Chasing Mona Lisa from the Baker Publishing Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.

Comments

Mike Yorkey said…
Angie, as the co-author of "Chasing Mona Lisa," it's was great to read your high praise for our World War II-era thriller. There are a lot of plot twists, and readers have said they learned a lot about the liberation of Paris and, of course, the Florentine lady herself, the Mona Lisa. Your careful read and positive review are much appreciated. Thanks again, Mike Yorkey

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