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Dating da Vinci    by Malena Lott order for
Dating da Vinci
by Malena Lott
Order:  USA  Can
Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2008 (2008)

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* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Two years have come and gone since Ramona Griffin lost her beloved husband to a sudden heart attack. She's tried to cope in various ways: attending grief counselling, immersing herself in raising her two young sons and eating junk food. But for all her friends' and family's assurances that things would get easier, Ramona's life has not returned to anything close to normal. That changes the day a charming, language challenged Italian immigrant enrols in her English class.

Leonardo da Vinci is a master of charm, wit and persuasion - and most of all, a connoisseur in the fine art of la dolce vita: the joy of living. His passion for all things that bring joy to the heart is contagious, and even more evident once Ramona offers him temporary lodging at her house. Before long, Leo has her energetic young sons wrapped around his finger and leaves her friends and neighbours twittering when they spy him mowing the lawn or tending Ramona's bedraggled flowerbeds in all his tanned, bare-chested glory. Soon Leo's got Ramona seriously considering a no-strings-attached fling. Despite his allure, however, she hardens her heart to Leo's persistent pleas that his Mona Lisa share his bed. But a normal, red-blooded, romance starved woman will only be able to ignore the handsome young man's romantic overtures for so long before falling under his tempting spell.

Malena Lott has created an involving and touching story in Dating da Vinci. Ramona takes you through every step of her healing journey with poignant clarity and wit as she begins picking up the pieces of her life by embracing her joys, one of which includes working towards her doctorate. Lott's secondary characters are also a real treat, particularly Anh, Ramona's very wise best friend, whose advice often smacks of the superstitious, but is always well meant, if often very amusing. Then there's Cortland, a divorced and determined doctor who sets his sights on Ramona after realizing that her high maintenance and spoiled younger sister isn't really the woman for him. Dating da Vinci is a captivating and inspirational story that will hook you from the first page and may even help a few readers experience a renaissance of their own.

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