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Review: Dating da Vinci by Malena Lott

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Dating da Vinci by Malena Lott
Contemporary, Romance, Chick-lit
Paperback (SOURCEBOOKS CASABLANCA, 288 pages, $12.95)
ISBN# 140221393X
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...
Author Site:

Journey to La Dolce Vita. (4 stars)

Two years ago, Ramona Griffen lost her husband. Being a widow at any age is hard, being one in your mid-thirties is near impossible. In Ramona's world there are now only two kinds of people; Grievers and Normals. The Normals don't understand why she can't throw out her husband's last jar of peanut butter or why decorating for the holidays is just too much. She's coped through junk food and routine but what she really wants is her life back.

When 25-year-old Italian immigrant, Leonardo da Vinci, walks into her classroom she knows she shouldn't take him home. But the lonely young foreigner needs a place to stay and she her husband's old studio would make a good place for him to get a start in America. Da Vinci in turn has something to offer Ramona, or Mona Lisa as he begins to call her. The handsome Italian has a youthful passion for life that begins to rub off on Ramona. But where does she draw the line between them? She might be a widow but she's not dead yet. Learning to live and to love again might be the scariest thing she's had to face since her husband's untimely death.

This was one of those books I read for someone else. When I heard about it I thought it would be a good read for someone I know who was recently divorced and struggling with finding a reason to "live". I honestly didn't think that I personally would get anything out of it. But I was wrong. Ramona's situation as a widow and a mother were very relatable because they could be any woman. I found myself wondering how I would cope if my husband died and I was left partnerless. It's kind of frightening how much it made me realize I shouldn't take the partnership I have with my husband for granted.

What made me actually not be able to put the book down was that while Ramona was the central character of the story, each person within her life was on a journey of their own too. Everyone grows as she grows and Ramona learns that she shouldn't feel guilty for wanting to be happy again. Her romance with da Vinci is a very good example of these two factors. He has growing to do as a person just as she does and I enjoyed that their relationship was realistic, not unbelievable as I worried it might be.

Overall Dating da Vinci was surprisingly moving and insightful but still had a good romance to keep it from being all about life lessons. I think this would be a great read for anyone who is looking for an entertaining bit of insight on getting the joy back in your everyday life.

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