|This is a cover for other editions of the book|
I have come to realize over the years, especially after starting this blog, I tend to judge a book by its cover. Well, that might not necessarily be true, but a unique cover will definitely draw me into a book faster. So, after requesting this book because of its awesome cover, I found that I enjoyed what was inside almost as much as the cover.
After spending the past six years of her life living in a convent in her beloved city of Venice, 16-year-old Laura, is suddenly released back into her father’s care without any word or explanation. After returning home, she comes to realized the reason for her sudden return: her sister has been found dead in the canals outside her family’s villa. Laura’s father, a once rich and powerful man, now begins on a search for suitors to marry Laura to bring back his power and wealth. When Laura is betrothed to a wizened old man who already has grandchildren, Laura thinks her options have run out. That is until she discovers the Segreta. This powerful and secret society of Venetian women promise to help her out of her horrible situation and all they want in return is a secret. After revealing her secret and betraying the most powerful man in the city, Laura soon finds that the Venice she knew as a young girl was a fantasy. The streets and canals she knows as home are full of power struggles, political intrigue, and secrets…
I really did enjoy Gould’s story. The back drop of old Venice really set this book apart from other historical romance novels I’ve read in the recent past. After just finishing GraveMercy by R.L. LaFevers, I liked this transition into a second historical piece set in a different time and place. Gould’s writing is simple and beautiful although I wish she had gone into more detail about the city itself, rather than the balls and gatherings of the rich because in this story, Venice is almost a character in the book, along with Laura and her friends.
The plot that Gould created was as rich and detailed as the dresses that Laura wears. There is of course darkness that Laura becomes aware of in her city and as a reader, we really see Laura grow up from the girl she was in the convent. With her sister’s death, she begins to learn that life is not as simple as it may have seemed while she was hidden away.
There were some parts of the story that I thought could have been done better. I thought that the dialog was a little flat. Meaning that it could have been a little more detailed and complicated. I sometimes found myself a little bored reading conversation between characters and wishing that there were a little more detail in their speech. It was also disappointing that Laura’s romance with a young artist became part of the story only halfway through and I felt it was a little rushed at the end. Perhaps if the romance was quicker to be introduced and more budding it would have been more interesting to read.
I also found that I didn’t fall for our heroine, Laura, as much from the start. This could be because I’ve been reading a lot of novels with a main character whose prominent characteristic is that she is consistently kicking butt and taking names. While I didn’t love Laura at first, she did grow on me throughout the story and I did find myself really liking her in the end.
Overall, I thought this was a fun book that a lot of people will enjoy. With it’s Romeo and Juliet like romance and the ever present mystery surrounding the historic city of Venice and its’ inhabitants, it’s a book that’s hard to put down.
6 out of 10