Review: THE SMILE by Donna Jo Napoli

The Smile 
Donna Jo Napoli
260 pages
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: October 16th 2008
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: LOVED

Hers is the most famous portrait in the world. Here, in prose as rich as the high Renaissance, is Mona Lisa?s tale?a story of passion, intrigue, loss, and, most of all, love. Elisabetta longs for romance, though she thinks she is too plain. Then, on a fateful visit to glittering Florence, she catches the eye of the great Leonardo da Vinci, and falls for a boy named Giuliano de? Medici. It is a dangerous time to be?or be involved with?a Medici. As tragedy and chaos threaten their happiness, Elisabetta faces the bittersweet truth of love.

The Smile is a beautiful and heart-breaking story of the mysterious Mona Lisa that takes place during the Renaissance. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a book to curl up and read on a rainy day.

Thirteen-year old, Elisabetta is getting ready for a party, where she’ll meet someone and become bethrothed to. Everything sounds perfect, she’s happy and so are her loving parents. When they ride out to buy decorations, her mother’s horse falters and cracks her neck in two.

With her beloved mother gone, things change. Her father remarries without thinking twice. And Elisabetta feels like her life will never be the same again. Soon, her father’s friend, Leonardo da Vinci, introduces her to Giuliano de Medici, who she is certain is the right one. But politics draws them apart – for far too long. And when he finally returns, things have changed.

Donna Jo Napoli has written a beautiful story that everyone should read. It reminds us to be satisfied and grateful with what life gives us, and that we can find peace and happiness in all our sorrow – only if we allow it.

Add THE SMILE to Goodreads


Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.

September 11, 2010