Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Smile Book Review

It's been a while since my eldest daughter has posted a book review on the blog but today she's here to share with you her thoughts on Mary Hoffman's latest book, Smile which is the story all about the original Mona Lisa. The book itself is being published by those lovely guys at Barrington Stoke which makes it 'super readable' and is aimed at readers aged 8 and upwards. Here's the blurb to give you a taster of what it has to offer....


That smile is for someone. But who?

Florence, 1482

Lisa is just a baby when the great Leonardo draws her for the first time. This sketch becomes her most precious possession - one that fuels dreams of a life beyond the confines of marriage, childbirth and the turmoil that spills out onto the streets of her city.

But even as the bonfires of the vanities burn bright and Lisa's world fills with the responsibilities of home and family, she longs to see again the artist who once called her "Lovely Lisa'.

And without further ado here is what my twelve year old thought of this piece of historical fiction:

Smile is a beautiful book that perfectly portrays Renaissance Italy. It follows the life of Lisa Gheradini, one of the women thought to be the famous Mona Lisa. Though some of the story was made up, the elements of her marriage, parents and children are all true.

One of the best parts about this novel is Mary Hoffman's has perfectly shown the reader Lisa's emotions. When I read it, I felt her fear, I felt her loss and I felt her joy. It gives the story a whole other dimension. This makes the tale all the more interesting.

"Mary Hoffman paints a picture of the woman behind Da Vinci's Mona Lisa"

My personal favourite part is quite strangely, her best friend Ginevra. Even after they both married, Ginevra is still there for Lisa in her times of need. I think she gives a faint glow of happiness to the story when the surroundings are more miserable.

I would recommend to readers of all ages, especially those who love stories about the past and who have a thirst for learning about history. Mary Hoffman's wonderful story should be remembered as an amazing portrayal of Renaissance Italy. You could say it should go down in history.

I think it is safe to say that my daughter really enjoyed this novel. I also had a read myself to see what it was that pulled her in and it was immediately apparent why she was engrossed with the writing. Mary Hoffman makes something historical quite vivid, making it quite exciting. It is books like these that will get children more inclined to learn about the past rather than focusing on the present.

Available to purchase now, perhaps now is the time to learn about the lady behind that oh so famous smile.


  1. What a great review and it sounds like this would definitely be worth a read!

  2. That's a really good review. I'll tell my 12-year-old about this book. She likes reading about history :)

  3. This sounds like a really interesting book, your daughter has written a great review :o)


  4. I like the sound of this for me to read. Don't think it would appeal to my son


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