Second Lisa: Mona Lisa. Book Three

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Lisabetta’s time for rescue is running out as the year end approaches, and problems threaten to destroy the work in progress. Veronica’s past catches up and both women have to struggle against the odds of every feeling significant.

Book three chronicles the success of Leonardo and Lisabetta during their travels to Rome and Milan, and the creation of two similar portraits, one of the young Lisa Giocondo, wife of a prominent silk merchant; and the other of Lisabetta, the iconic ‘Mona Lisa’ in the Louvre, Paris, France.  The final book in the trilogy culminates in the suspicious circumstances of Lisabetta’s death, and the aged-Leonardo’s final years in Amboise, France, at the age of sixty-seven.

Lisabetta clashes with Piero, as Leonardo’s financial troubles escalate. She sees Leonardo through more life changes, but the anonymity that once served her backfires when she is completely forgotten after Leonardo’s death.

Lisabetta’s identity as the ‘Mona Lisa’ and her dedicated years supporting an obsessed artist, evaporate in the historic record, other than an obscure mention in a census and some lost notebooks of Leonardo’s.

The true identities of Veronica, Jupiter, and Lisabetta are revealed in a bizarre discovery of reincarnation, inherited challenges, family genetics, and parallel lives. Connecting events, comeuppances, and the eventual resolution the love triangle results in a showdown of emotional truths which may leave Lisabetta trapped in the ‘Mona Lisa’ for another five-hundred years.

Second Lisa: The Middle Years. Book Two

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Lisabetta, invisible to all but Jupiter, must convince Veronica of her existence through the eyes of her son. Veronica resists the voice of Lisabetta she can hear, thinking she’s losing her mind. When the two women make contact, Lisabetta dictates her life history to Veronica in the hopes that the work may inspire academic recognition for her years as Leonardo’s care-giver.   Since Leonardo presents many overlapping symptoms of high-functioning autism, Lisabetta is able to relate to Jupiter and his expanded levels of vision and intellect.

Book two chronicles Lisabetta’s and Leonardo’s middle years of painting and traveling in the course of following commissions and oftentimes escaping debt, as well as Leonardo’s troubles with devastating accusations of social disgrace and heresy.

It also provides insight to the modern day protagonist’s story, as new incidents seem to parallel the past in uncanny ways. Characters from both centuries appear, mirroring similar life challenges, triggering emotional responses from both women, and an emerging rivalry for the affections of the same man threaten to disrupt the ‘Lisa project,’ and further alienate them from their friendship and goals.

Lisabetta’s talent and penchant for business expands as she grows into womanhood. She learns the art trade and tends to Leonardo, already an eccentric and erratic artist at eighteen. As an painter in her own right, and being socially ignored as an insignificant woman in a patriarchal society, she is now both agent and manager of Leonardo’s own studio. However, being an ‘invisible’ member of the artist’s guild and her low-profile in the busy ‘art factory’ studios, makes her better-placed to hear the dealings within the art community that enable her to propel her brother to fame.

Second Lisa: Childhood. Book One

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Book one chronicles the childhood of Leonardo and Lisabetta, to the early years when they open their own art studio. The inseparable siblings are born of Caterina, another ‘invisible’ woman erased from the historical record.

A daughter of the notary class, Caterina, is reduced to peasant status after she and her lover, the young lawyer Piero da Vinci, produce their first lovechild out of wedlock, Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo is six years old when Lisabetta is born and the two bond instantly, not knowing they are full brother and sister within a household of their half-siblings.

Leonardo carries his father’s name as he remains the only heir to the da Vinci clan, and another forbidden tryst conceives Lisabetta, Caterina’s and Piero’s second child to be brought up on a subsistence farm to protect Piero’s reputation. Leonardo is kept at a distance and Lisabetta is estranged from her biological father, adopted under the auspices of a contrived peasant marriage. The Buti’s crude cottage is the setting for two childhoods that promise lives of poverty and obscurity.

Leonardo, having the advantage of an acknowledged link to a prestigious family, is sent to Florence to learn a trade, but even with some degree of  privilege he is illegitimate, and thus the rules of the notary guild declares him ineligible from becoming a lawyer in the da Vinci’s family business.

Leonardo becomes the star prodigy apprentice of the master, Andrea Verrocchio, and trains his sister on visits to the Buti homestead until the twelve-year-old Lisabetta is ready to be his junior assistant.

In the present century, the restless spirit of Lisabetta remains trapped in her famous portrait. She enlists a single-parent mother, Veronica Lyons, and Jupiter, her autistic six-year-old son, visiting the Louvre, to restore her identity. In exchange, Lisabetta vows to help the boy and his mother find their own place in a society that has rejected them. Through an ingenious plan, the spirit of Lisabetta is able to leave the Louvre with them and return to their home in North America.