The novella, The Mona Lisa Mirror Mystery by Latayne Scott, follows Christian girl, Addy, through the ups and downs of teenage life and . . . time travel! Addy is an artist and covers her room--as teens usually do--in posters. When one of da Vinci’s paintings hanging on her wall wooshes her back in time to the year 1500ish, she finds herself befriended by none other than Mona Lisa. Or at least the woman who is thought to be Mona Lisa.
The unexpected twist (no, not a spoiler) was her being shortly thereafter whoosed back to her own life. This happened a number of times throughout the story, parallels between her two lives appearing along the way.
The writing was enjoyable and engaging. I particularly liked that Addy was a good little Christian girl, yet her thought life still rang true to teenage temptations and immaturity. Yet, those thoughts and temptations never went overboard or became inappropriate for a young reader. I loved every scene that Addy spent in Italy and wished I could have just marinated in that time a whole lot more!
A major theme in the story was sexual abuse. (Like I said, there was nothing explicit.) This is where most of the parallels arise. Addy is dealing with her own close call of abuse in 1500 while her best friend, Lace, is being molested back home. All turns out well and the abusers are caught (in a way). Lace learns from the story of Joseph in the Bible and from Addy’s time travel stories that what others mean for evil, God means for good. After reading up on the author, Latayne Scott, I noticed that she has another book coming out next year on how to protect your children from sexual predators. It’s clear from this novella that Scott is passionate about this topic.
My only issue with the story was the lack of foreshadowing or clear plot progression. I felt pretty confused as to the point of the story or it’s themes until three quarters of the way through. Until then, Addy was just time traveling, hanging with her friends, living life, etc. I also felt derailed by the random subplot of evangelism and textual criticism. I’m all for a good conversion story (and apologetics for that matter), but this did not seem to fit the theme (that I later discovered) and added to my sense of aimless wandering. Hopefully this review will help you feel less lost.
This is a fun, quick read for anyone seeking Christian speculative fiction!