by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey
Release Date: January 2012
August 1944. Paris is on the cusp of liberation. As the soldiers of the Third Reich flee the Allied advance, they ravage the country and steal countless pieces of irreplaceable art. In fact, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring will stop at nothing to claim the most valuable one of all—the Mona Lisa—as a postwar bargaining chip.
But the woman with the mysterious smile has some very determined protectors. Can Swiss OSS agents Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler rescue Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece before it falls into German hands?
With nonstop action and intrigue, Chasing Mona Lisa is sure to get your adrenaline pumping as you join the chase to save the most famous painting in the world. From war-ravaged Paris to a posh Swiss chateau, the race is on–and the runners are playing for keeps.
I received this book for the purpose of a review, otherwise it’s unlikely I would have picked it up. I don’t typically read books set during either World War (I’m not sure why, but I just don’t find them enjoyable), but I thought this one sounded interesting. It’s a story about the liberation of art from the Germans after the occupation of Paris, specifically the flight of the Mona Lisa ("La Joconde") from Paris to Amsterdam and back to Paris as a team of individuals struggled to keep it out of the hands of a German officer.
The story focuses on two couples — a pair of Swiss spies who get wrapped up into the drama on a medical-supply delivery mission — and a Resistance fighter and a museum curator. They’re likable enough characters, but I can’t say I particularly connected with either couple. I found the Swiss couple much more realistic in their motives and actions, and if I remember correctly, there’s another book by this writing team that continues their story.
The other couple — Bernard and Colette — don’t have quite the expected ending, and things are left a little unresolved (but if I say why, I’ll give away some crucial information, so I’ll let you read that for yourself). As a result, I found the book less compelling than I’d hoped.
Because I don’t have a lot of experience with WWII novels, I don’t have much to compare it to in terms of quality or storytelling. It was a fast read with decent plot & characters, and plenty of historical detail. I think people who look for historical detail in this kind of fiction will be pleased, but I wish the authors had included a note at the end (as some authors do) explaining which parts were based on true events and which were creative license. I know that there were problems with precious pieces of art falling to the Germans (and efforts to keep other pieces out of their hands), but was this book based on a true story? I have no idea.
Either way, not bad. Not wonderful, but probably a fair read for someone interested in the period and the subject matter.
About the Authors
Tricia Goyer is the coauthor of The Swiss Courier as well as the author of many other books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the ACFW’s Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance. Goyer lives with her family in Arkansas.
Mike Yorkey is the author or coauthor of dozens of books, including The Swiss Courierand the bestselling Every Man’s Battle series. Married to a Swiss native, Yorkey lived in Switzerland for 18 months. He and his family currently reside in California.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.