Today we have a sneak peek from the historical fiction novel by author Veronica Knox: Second Lisa.
Second Lisa is a work of biographical fiction – a paranormal account of Leonardo da Vinci’s sister, Lisabetta. Author Veronica Knox uncovers the lost identity of two ‘Mona Lisa’ portraits painted side-by-side, reveals a pattern of historic reincarnation, and chronicles the parallel lives of two women who lived five-hundred years apart. Art imitates life… life duplicates art… death goes on.
And now, an excerpt from Second Lisa…
“In the spring of 1519, my brother, Leonardo, still believed he could fly, and I assumed my death had been pure and uncomplicated. We were always a pair of insatiable dreamers.
I sensed Leonardo’s transition was only a matter of days away and that liberation from my portrait was similarly at hand, but I had forgotten the impassioned wish I had painted on heaven’s door like the mark of plague.
After my death, I had been delighted to discover the ability to revisit my younger years with ease, and I indulged by celebrating the joys of my childhood, allowing them to eclipse the harsher years of poverty and abuse. I especially dared to imagine a blissful reunion with Sandro and the delight of seeing my daughter again, but most days I stayed focused on the task of keeping Leonardo happy. I bided where no time and all of time co-existed in a tapestry of memories and dreams.
I remained beside Leonardo in spirit form, to honor our extraordinary bond. ‘Till death parts us,’ was a hollow sentiment while one of us still breathed; beyond death was simply a necessary extension of our mutual pact to companion each other always – in all ways.
I remember my death as if it were a continuation of the account my mother, Caterina, used to tell of my birth. Her storytelling voice enthralled me with its emotional power. She could deliver a story whole, offering it like a precious jewel.
Her desire for my true father never waned, but I was a secret – the second child, of their forbidden union.
At first, Leonardo was transparent, but I was invisible, and because the rest of the world only acknowledged me when I was persistent, I learned to use a woman’s natural disguise to my advantage.
Obscurity may be a double-edged gift, but to Leonardo, I was always larger than life.”
The eyes of the ‘Mona Lisa’ are alive with memories and a new secret. From inside the painting, they follow the living with affection and compassion – waiting for a loved one to die is a peculiar mixture of guilt and relief.
Lisabetta had stopped aging after she died, but she calmly reflects how bizarre it is that the dead still have birthdays. Her portrait itself, is still a teenager, painted seventeen years before, when Leonardo had intended to abandon his paints forever, but had instead, in a burst of inspiration, immortalized his beloved sister forever.
For now, the innocent April when Lisabetta is forever fifty-years-old and Leonardo turns sixty-seven, the French countryside of Amboise feels unbelievably sweet with the anticipation of heaven.
One only has to gaze into the eyes of a divine portrait to discover the undeniable truth – that a master artist can capture the soul of a subject.
But, after the creative fusion of artist and muse is spent, only great art remains truly immortal.
Sometimes, however, it takes five-hundred years for the energy to cool. Some artists break all the rules.