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Review: Dating da Vinci by Malena Lott

by Ann-Katrina

Dating da Vinci by Malena Lott - Book Cover

Back Cover of Dating da Vinci

A gorgeous young Italian, with nowhere to go…

His name just happens to be Leonardo da Vinci. When he walks into Ramona Elise’s English class, he’s a twenty-five-year-old immigrant, struggling to forge a new life in America—but he’s lonely, has nowhere to live, and barely speaks English…

She knows she shouldn’t take him home…

Picking up the pieces of her life after the death of her beloved husband, linguist and teacher Ramona Elise can’t help but be charmed by her gorgeous new student. And when he calls her “Mona Lisa” she just about loses her heart…

Three Quick Points About Dating da Vinci

  • Point 1: Leonardo da Vinci is hot. Really hot. I have to admit that his character was well-crafted to make the ladies (and possibly some men) drool. Drool like a rabid mangy mongrel and make no apologies for it. Up until he peed the bed.
  • Point 2: Unfortunately, the remaining characters (except a few) had trouble finding their voices. For the most part, they’d be traveling along quite nicely when a piece of stray dialog that rang absolutely false for the character would present itself.
  • Point 3: Feel good at its finest. Despite the ending being highly predictable, it still elicits that warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

Full Review of Dating da Vinci

Before reading the full review, please note that there may be some spoilers. I tried to keep it vague enough not to spoil the entire story, but be warned. If you’d rather not take any chances, skip the synopsis and go straight to the final thoughts.

Dating da Vinci Synopsis

Ramona Elise Griffen was a grieving young widow (aged 36) when Leonardo da Vinci, the Italian immigrant 11 years her junior, walked into her ESL classroom. Knowing only a few words of English, having even less money, and no friends created a soft spot in Ramona’s heart (plus, it didn’t hurt that he was excruciatingly hot) and she decided to bring him home and allow him to stay in the studio behind her house. This was unusual for Ramona and this spontaneous act was the catalyst to her healing process.

Over time, da Vinci became a fixture in her family and helped her learn to live again by attending her children’s extracurricular activities with her, going out on dates (though she was initially unwilling to use that word), jogging in the mornings, and eventually having lots of passionate sex.

As the How Stella Got Her Groove Back-esque romance continued, Ramona began realizing there were a number of emotions and unanswered questions that she needed to confront if she truly could move on. The biggest one of all was that of her husband’s fidelity.

Before Joel Griffen died, Ramona had confronted him about his relationship with Monica, the previous love of his life which left him a week before he and Monica were to be married. She had made an appearance back in his life just before Joel’s life ended and her incredible beauty coupled with Joel’s feelings for her brought out Ramona’s insecurities full force and it had lead to one of the last arguments she’d had with him.

As if adjusting to the first romance since her husband passed away and trying to confront her husband’s ex-fiancee weren’t enough, another man tumbles into Ramona’s life and she happens to be developing feelings–real feelings–for him. Dr. Cortland Andrews was older, more mature and stable than da Vinci, plus he was a handsome doctor (which I’m sure helped greatly). There was just one major problem to overcome: Cortland was dating Ramona’s sister.

Though I’ll spare you the ending, I’ll venture to say that it’s rather predictable, but it will still leave you with a warm gushy feeling.

Final Thoughts On Dating da Vinci

Where to begin? Starting the book I was hooked. Then halfway through the second chapter, I wanted to set the book down and not really pick it up again. Seriously. Reading through that second (and halfway through the third) chapter was excruciating. But, all in all, I’m glad I pressed through it–more on why in a minute. Let me back up and explain the hitch.

In the first chapter, we’re introduced to Ramona and her plight, then we have the glorious da Vinci thrust upon us with as much surprise and zeal as he was thrust upon Ramona. Then, we’re no longer nowhere near the same scene, da Vinci is nowhere to be found, and we’re listening to Ramona’s incredibly depressing internal dialog as she cleans out the pantry with her friend Anh. The transition was a bit jarring to put it mildly. Luckily, it recovered at the end of the third chapter going into the fourth.

The novel did have a few other shortcomings with the character development. With the exceptions of Ramona and da Vinci, the remaining characters seemed conveniently two-dimensional. Even her two young boys seemed incredibly well-adjusted to the death of their father and their mother’s dating. A little too well-adjusted. (This is coming from experience.) The remaining characters, even Ramona’s arrogant and borderline evil sister Rachel, was too tame for the character being painted.

That aside, those shortcomings weren’t enough to make this novel a bad one. The novel’s redeeming qualities were found in the well-painted descriptions and the vague passage of time throughout the story. You knew that months were floating by and, the clunky transition in the second chapter notwithstanding, it complimented the murkiness of the emotions being experienced.

Also, the great message cannot be overlooked either. I’m sure that anyone who’s ever lost someone close to them can relate to Ramona’s grief, if not her character. The feelings and emotions were poignantly illustrated and I often found myself nodding in agreement. And just when you think it’s too heavy to bear any longer, a bit of humor is injected to disperse the tension. By the end of the book, you’ll believe in miracles again (or, at least, you’ll want to).

Finally, I found it rather clever that language and the langue d’amour (language of love) was a common thread throughout the story. Some chapters began with quotes, others with a word and its definition, and some with sections from Ramona’s dissertation (The Language of Love).

This book would be especially good for those who enjoy academic discussions on language or language in general and although I did wonder about the slick product placements in a couple places (who works priceline.com nonchalantly into conversation?), it was a nice quick feel good read. Perfect for a rainy day afternoon curled up under the covers with a mug of hot chocolate. And if for no other reason, read it to fall in love (or lust, take your pick) with da Vinci.

Rating: Get it used (?)

Get a copy of Dating da Vinci from Amazon.com

Comments on Review: Dating da Vinci by Malena Lott

  1. # Jace wrote on November 23, 2008 at 2:36 am:

    Hey, what’s up with you these days? Miss you around these parts lately. :-)

  2. # Ann-Kat wrote on November 24, 2008 at 10:24 am:

    Thanks for the nudge, Jace. Been so busy lately that I’ve been neglecting the blog a little bit, plus I’m trying to plow my way through this book…I’m in the home stretch…last 30 pages and I may wipe my brow. :D

    But, I’m still around and you’ll likely be seeing much more of me this week.

  3. # Sheri wrote on December 15, 2008 at 10:26 pm:

    I just started reading this one. I’m going to link to your review when I am done with it and publish my review.

    God, I love your site!

  4. # Ann-Kat wrote on December 15, 2008 at 10:38 pm:

    Thanks Sheri and I’m glad you’ve found my review link-worthy. Hope you enjoy the book, too!

  5. # 2008 in Books, or the Ten Books I’m Glad I Read This Year - Today, I Read… wrote on January 8, 2009 at 1:56 pm:

    [...] Dating da Vinci by Malena Lott (review) [...]

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