Back to Main Galley City by John T. Cullen


= Woman in the Moon =

Mona Lisa Novel, or: Nocturne in Paris

by John Argo

This novel is a Dark Journey to the Shining Secret of Leonardo's Mona Lisa—a complex historical novel, with angels, ghosts, and much more by European author André A. L’Aube. The story is by turns romantic, melancholy, uplifting, and in a few spots disturbing—not a light read.

On a dreary 2020 autumn day on the Pacific Coast of Oregon, the twins Chloë and Rob Wilson (age 30) arrive from Europe to bury their father, Dan Wilson. They don't know it, but there is an angel with them at the funeral--the ghost of a baby sister who died long ago when Dan Wilson was a young soldier stationed in West Germany over forty years ago in the 1970s.

Claire, the angel, died in this world, but she is living a full and prosperous life in a parallel world where Rob and Chloë don’t exist. Rob and Chloë are ghosts there in turn, because of a tragic decision Dan made on a bridge in Paris in 1977. Now, in death, Dan will be given a second chance to live his life over again from that moment, which in turn will affect many people across several parallel worlds.

We encounter angels, ghosts, parallel worlds, an escaped Nazi war criminal and his monstrous crimes, and always the delectable landscapes of Heidelberg and Paris. We see several attractive, sincere young men and women who seek the answers today to a family riddle from the Cold War era—which, however, turns into much more: a plausible answer to the mysteries of Leonardo da Vinci and the Mona Lisa, world’s most famous and expensive work of art.

In the end, HEA but a challenging road getting there. Primary settings are: Salem, Oregon; Heidelberg, Germany; and Paris, France. We briefly touch on Luxembourg and Salem today; plus Renaissance Florence in the age of Leonardo da Vinci, who died in 1519 at a chateau in the Loire Valley, owned by his patron King François 1 of France. Leonardo put finishing touches on the Mona Lisa at Clos Lucé near Château d'Amboise.

There is a lot the twins don't know as they return to their own busy and exciting lives in Europe. Rob works in Frankfurt and is seriously dating a Luxembourg woman named Elise. Chloe works in Paris, and is seriously dating a handsome young video producer named Yves. When they sell the house and liquidate Dad's property in Salem (their Mom predeceased him by two years in 2018), they find a journal that Dan kept of his happily married life in Oregon after his separation from the U.S. Army in 1980. Strangely, his jotted and jumbled notes suggest it is Journal III, so where are the earlier two? And what is in them?

The family only know that he served two enlistments in West Germany. The first was a wonderful time--he was single, healthy, secure, and able to travel all over Europe on a whim, any day, any week, as much as his Army duties at Heidelberg permitted. The second enlistment became a time from hell, in which he had a terrible marriage with a German girl, their baby died, they divorced, her family (including the war criminal father) hated Dan , and Dan’s cold-hearted Army superiors showed no empathy or understanding. In 1980, Dan returned to Oregon a broken man having to start life over practically from scratch.

So why is the spirit of his lost child, a grown woman from another dimension, tracking the twins' every move as they search for Journals I (the good one) and II (the nightmare)? Dan’s mission in life, which he walked away from on that Bridge of Regret in Paris in 1977, was to marry beautiful young Parisian scholar Claudette Mingo, who was about to unravel one of history’s greatest secrets: why Leonardo Da Vinci worked for years, until his death, on what would become the most famous and expensive artwork in history: the Mona Lisa hanging in the Louvre for centuries. And why does the image of Lisa Gherardini have that smile, which has baffled scholars and intrigued viewers for half a millennium now? It all becomes clear as Chloë and Rob decipher their father’s mysterious, multi-dimensional life.


click to read free or buy - opens a new windowRead Free at Galley City (Fiction). You can now read the entire text free at my Galley City website, with the option to buy if you wish. For the price of a cup of coffee, you can buy the e-book (no obligation). The coffee is gone in minutes, but the e-book (or p-book) is yours forever, and the author appreciates your kindness. Thank you!

Browse or Buy at Amazon

The book linked at left is an e-book edition to browse; or buy & download from Amazon for your Kindle reader.
     The middle link is for the corresponding print edition. Most of these are standard 6x9"; a few have added trim sizes available (5x8"). More info at
     Most print editions are also available at Barnes & Noble online; or call/visit your local bookstore to order.

click to begin reading first half free at Galley City

intellectual property warning