Monday, December 8, 2008

Dating da Vinci - Malena Lott

Thirty five year old Ramona Elise has been widowed for two years. Her two young sons have been the reason she keeps getting up every day. Ramona teaches English to new immigrants. She impetuously offers to rent the studio behind her home to a young new student from Italy named Leonardo da Vinci.

"La vita allegra. Joyful living. His eyes danced with excitement and awe and insatiable curiosity. Not just for America. For life. I ached to feel that again."

Lott's depiction and characterization of a grief stricken family still coming to terms with the loss of their husband/father is realistically written and sensitively portrayed.

Da Vinci becomes more than just a tenant. He becomes friends with the boys and closer and closer to Ramona. Is she ready to act on the attraction she feels towards this younger man? Or would it be a betrayal of her love for her husband Joel? She has unanwered questions about Joel's relationship with an old flame that still haunt her as well.

"I wished I could wear red lipstick, but much like the red suit, you have to have the red inside of you to wear it on the outside."

I had the idea that this would be a 'chick lit' book when I first picked it up. I found it to have more depth than just a beach read. Lott has also done her research - I found the origins of words and love fascinating as well as the details of an Indian wedding ceremony. As I interact with immigrants on a daily basis, I appreciated her positive outlook towards new citizens.

The book is populated with some fun supporting characters. I found the best friend Anh particularly appealing. The sister and mothers are a bit stereotypical and overdone, but fulfill their role in the book quite well. I did find that taking da Vinci into her bed when her boys home a bit rash. Quite honestly she put up with a bit more than I would have. (the new mattress story springs to mind)

Although the ending of the book is predictable and neatly wrapped up, it was an enjoyable journey to get there. I was happy to discover this new (for me) author. Check out Malena's website for contests, recipes and reading group guides. One of my favourite new authors, Jess Riley, just posted a great interview with Malena here.

Dating da Vinci was just released last month from Sourcebooks.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review - this is in my TBR pile.

Dar said...

I found this book had more depth too than your average chick lit book Luanne. I really enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

Trying to play catch up on all my favor blogs! :)

This book does look good. I'll put it on my 2009 wish list.

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