Title: Dear Mona Lisa…
Author: Al Stewart, Claire Davis
Release Date: August 12th 2017
Page Count: 67
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 0 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Tom, shy office clerk by day and drawer of foxes by night wakes up one Monday knowing the most extraordinary week of his life is about to begin. In five days time a lifelong ‘secret’ will be made gloriously public—but will it mean losing the person he loves most?
It seems like only yesterday Tom changed nappies and sang nursery rhymes to a laughing baby. He relishes the demands of being a daddy; especially teaching his little girl to draw and paint as she grows up.
But the years tick by and times change. Long-buried secrets must come to the surface which may test even the strongest ties.
Tom and Lawrence…
He writes a list of all the things he has to do before the weekend and sticks it in the middle of his wall. The names and goals hang like threads of a spider’s web, inevitably leading to the centre, and all to the same place.
Dear Mona Lisa…
How to explain?
Each morning he notes the colours of dawn, listens to the birds and waits for the perfect moment. In one hand rests the balance of life and a terrible responsibility, in the other a wedding ring. Difficult days and the past loom, but his friends rally round and one by one the words come to life.
Everyone waits as Tom finds the strength to open up and set free the secrets of his heart in a celebration of family, friendship and love.
A quirky story of modern life, set within the breathtaking landscape of Bradford.
“Daddy? How do you know it’s time to get married?”
“Well, because you love someone very much.”
“You’ll see it all around, in the colours and the sounds.”
Dear Mona Lisa is about coming out. I won’t even pretend to know what it feels like, but I think that some people will see a little bit (or a lot) of themselves in it. Tom and Loz are getting married! But first, Tom needs to come out to his daughter, Lou.
Tom is an office clerk, but he’s also an artist. He keeps drawing foxes, because one fateful night, he saw a fox running scared. Tom and his daughter communicate the way artists do; with colours. And when the colours of the dawn are right, it’s time.
“And she watched me drawing, copied. That is how art saved my life and gave me the best relationship with my daughter, Lou-Lou Belle, my Mona Lisa.
The story is short, but we get the full background of Tom’s history. I especially loved his memories from when his daughter was growing up. And I loved Lawrence, Tom’s other love. Patient and caring Lawrence, who will never let Tom fall.
There is no steam, but there are tons and TONS of emotions. Stewart and Davis kept gut punching me with emotions and making me cry in every few chapters.
There is a very strong sense of place in this story. I kept googling places and sceneries, and Bradford’s landscape felt very familiar to me for some reason. But what I loved, was how each place was connected to a memory; the canal where Tom used to take his daughter as a kid, the buildings they took photos of, the scenery that was meant to be the canvas for an invitation…
I want to say so much about the ending, but I won’t. It’s very emotional and swoon-worthy and fulfilling, and the bringer of tears and goosebumps.
Dear Mona Lisa had everything I love about Davis and Stewart’s work: the trademark humour, distinct voices, unapologetic quirkiness. And like always, it’s so deliciously British.