What an entrancing and absorbing piece of historical fiction Napoli is able to weave with THE SMILE (Dutton, 2008). Elisabetta is called by many affectionate nicknames, but only Guiiliano calls her Monna Lisa. Guiliano, the youngest of the Medici children, meets Elisabetta on one of her trips to Florence with her father. Elisabetta is in the company of Leonardo da Vinci at the time. Elizabetta and Guiliano fall in love, but their plans to marry are destroyed by the political changes taking place in Florence.
Skillfully blending history with romance, Napoli pulls readers into this time period. Political issues (many still rather present today)infuse this novel but never overshadow the people who are at its core. Friendship, intrigue, romance, politics, religion, culture (especially art) and much more are addressed. However, it will be Monna Lisa and Guiliano who will carry the story to its logical conclusion.