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A Stopover in Venice

3.31  ·  Rating Details ·  481 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
Nel Everett, a young American woman, is touring Italy with her famous musician husband when, in a moment of fury, she pulls down her luggage and gets off the train. As her life speeds away down the tracks, Nel is marooned and on her own for the first time in eight years.

Bewildered, Nel returns to Venice where she encounters a tiny dog who leads her to a enigmatic stranger,
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Anchor (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Alina Cătărău
De obicei sunt destul de sceptică atunci când vine vorba de cărți nou apărute, deoarece nu poți fi niciodată sigur dacă romanul pe care l-ai cumpărat a meritat sau nu banii și timpul tău. Totuși, în multitudinea de cărți de duzină, poți găsi, întâmplător sau nu, și cărți bune. Nu neapărat valoroase, dar plăcute ochilor și minții.

În această categorie se încadrează romanul de debut al scriitoarei și actriței americane de Broadway Kathryn Walker, Mistere venețiene (A Stopover in Venice), apărut în
A pleasant way to spend some vicarious time in Venice. On a European tour with her famous musician husband (a thinly-veiled James Taylor, the author's own ex), Nell is suddenly seized by an impulse to get off the train carrying their entourage from Venice to Verona. As she makes her way back to a Venice hotel, she turns over in her mind the disintegration of her marriage. Their early days together were "exotic and blissful; we floated above the banality of ordinary life; nothing could touch us." ...more
Jul 04, 2009 Miriam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: unhappily married women who wish they could travel to Italy
Shelves: art
Kathryn Walker appears to have something against quotation marks. The dialogue is not differentiated from the rest of the text in any way. Maybe this was supposed to be artistic. Perhaps it was a technique intended to slow down the reader (if so it sure worked; it took me half again as long to read this as it should have). Either way it annoyed me because I had to keep rereading paragraphs because I wasn't sure if we were hearing a conversation or the protagonist's thoughts. This was especially ...more
Feb 17, 2009 Anderse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone but specifically anyone who has been to Venice.
Recommended to Anderse by: my parents
My mother, who has been to Venice a few times, always said that this ancient city would be the perfect place to disappear in one needed (or wanted) to. My dad then found this book and the whole family has taken turns reading it.

Anyone who likes art history and the mysteries of the people behind the art will like this book. Anyone who knows Venice and likes art history will love this book. I know the places she describes on her walks and I can picture myself following her steps.
It is a plainly w
Jul 16, 2009 Lynn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book tried to do way too much in a few hundred pages. The biggest problem is that the author is way too proud of the fact that she is Harvard educated. I am sure that Yale graduates don't have that problem. Not a bad read, but a bit tedious at points. Being a genealogist and interested in art history, parts of this I jut can't swallow.

However, the overall message, that sometimes, change is good and that you need to take control of your own happiness are valid. It really helped to ha
Feb 04, 2009 Lindsay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first book I happened upon at the libary last week. I read 15 pages before I checked out and completed the book in less than a week. I couldn't put it down. It was a bit like a fairytale, but better, because this sort of thing could actually happen. A woman who has felt that she has become somewhat invisible to her husband, suddenly gets off a train in Venice Italy, and her life completely changes from that day forward. This book shows you that no matter how stuck you feel in your current si ...more
Jan 26, 2010 Rachael rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't even know where to start. This book was DREADFUL.

So our heroine (ha!) Cornelia (really, Cornelia?!) aka Nel, is withering away in a passionless marriage with her famous musician husband.

Nel (woe is me!) travels all over the world with her husband. But heaven forbid that she ever be alone, so while he is busy working, Nel chooses to sit and mope. When he is finished working (as in the entire reason they are abroad in the first place) all she does is moan that she didn't get to see anyth
Jul 21, 2010 Barbi rated it did not like it
I picked this up because its premise seemed really interesting--a woman, yearning for adventure becomes embroiled in a fascinating art mystery. Sure it's a little cliche, but I wasn't looking to read a great masterwork of literature. However, the premise is the only thing that's interesting about the book. As other reviewers commented, it becomes bogged down in art history jargon, and the shift between conventional narrative and academic narrative is awkward at best. And really, if I had been lo ...more
Dec 07, 2009 Paula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story within a story, two romances, one contemporary and one that took place in the 1500s, full of art and mystery. A fun read with great descriptions of Venice and lots of art history references. I especially enjoyed the book since I read it while I was having my own adventure in Venice. Thanks, Bonnie!
I liked this book. I liked the descriptions of Venice and the explanations about 16th century artists and the intrigue of the artists who lived in that period. I also liked the strength and intelligence of the characters and how the main character found herself.
Feb 03, 2009 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I became wrapped up in the story of this woman’s quest to rediscover herself and gain independence after being lost in the life of her famous husband. She stumbles into a world of art, history, and mystery in Venice. The prose is delightful.
Jan 01, 2009 Annea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Olga Ptashnyuk
Aug 27, 2012 Olga Ptashnyuk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not sure if it is because of my obsession with Italy, but I loved this book. There were moments that really make you think about what is really important in this life and how short our life could be.
Cara Mcnulty
May 15, 2017 Cara Mcnulty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really liked the Art/History mystery part of the story and the setting of Venice. Not so crazy about the story line of the protagonist's marital relationship but I guess that was the whole premise of why she was in Venice to begin with.
A Stopover in Venice by Kathryn Walker is set in modern-day Venice, with an early 1500s subplot. Cornelia “Nel” is on tour in Italy with her famous musician husband. Tired of waiting around in hotel rooms, never visiting or enjoying the areas they tour, she impulsively leaves the entourage and heads back to Venice. She doesn’t speak Italian, but she has a credit card (his). She checks into a hotel, goes for a walk, and rescues a tiny dog from a gang of boys. The little dog’s companionship is exa ...more
Aug 09, 2012 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Renaissance art lovers
Recommended to Nicole by: my mother
An interesting read for anyone who loves Venice, Venetian art, a touch of romance and a light art mystery. Our heroine, Nel, makes an impulsive decision to leave her famous musician husband behind on a train and finds herself in Venice. When she rescues a dog off the street being abused by a gang of kids, it leads her on a curious adventure where she ends up staying in a beautiful old house, making curious new friends, and diving headfirst into a centuries-old art mystery while getting over the ...more
Oct 23, 2008 Kristen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-read-italy, 2009
I love this book. Several people have remarked on its slowness, and I will agree with that. I think, however, that it is reflective of the subject matter, and so is quite effective in evoking both place and inner landscape of the narrator.

Nel gets off the train spontaneously, and leaves her rockstar husband on it to go on to the next stop on his tour. She is then alone in Venice, and determined to make the most of it. Right away she saves a tiny dog from a group of boys who are tormenting it, an
Jan 18, 2009 Lori rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I could tell from the first chapter that I would not care for this book. The idea is great--a woman gets angry at her famous husband on a train bound for Verona, Italy, and grabs her overnight bag before stepping off the train in a fury. She is left alone (and not speaking Italian) with nothing more than her memories and a credit card. The book jacket promising that the heroine will "reclaim herself" by the end of the book should have been a warning for me. This often does not bode well for a bo ...more
Feb 28, 2012 Tami rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Although I would have liked to know more about Venice, art history and the italian language to have felt like I was completely part of it. The only problem I had was there were many voices with changing names and jumps between the present/past, so at times it was hard to follow who was being discussed. It is a book that could be read again to fill in what was missed the first time - not a bad thing for a book - the finding of connections that were missed the first ti ...more
When Nel has a fight with her husband while in Venice, she decides to leave the train and stay in the city. With no set plan, she settles into a hotel and begins to wander the city. She rescues a small dog who is being tormented by a group of boys and sets about taking care of him. When a stranger stops her and inquires about the dog, she joins him in bringing the dog back to his rightful owner, a countess living in a palazzo. She becomes intrigued with some artwork and is pulled in to the inves ...more
Oct 19, 2008 Tricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in art history, Venice
A low-key, quiet book that starts out really s-l-o-w-l-y and dwells a little too much on the main character - Nel - and her failing marriage to a musical celebrity. She is so frustrated with their dead-end relationship that she simply leaves her musician husband & his tour as they travel through Italy - getting off the train in Venice.

The most interesting part of the story deals with an art-history mystery that she becomes involved with. The mystery is: who painted the lovely fresco in the
May 08, 2010 Tami rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A fairly interesting read, and really nicely written (quite lush in its descriptions of Venice as Nel roamed around) ...until the last hundred pages when it started to get heavily into the art history side of the story..and completely lost me. I didn't finish it. It got way too dense and difficult to read, as the diary was translated - pretentious.

Someone else here mentioned that they felt the author tried to do too much, tell too many stories - I totally agree! Just the story of the modern wom
Feb 02, 2009 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a long book, but a dense one. When I first started reading it, i thought it was set in the 40's - the voice of the protagonist is not fresh or current. I almost stopped reading it, but something strange happened while I was reading this book about Giorgione, an elusive 16th century Venetian painter. I brought home a book from my school library about understanding painting and lo and behold, there was La Tempesta by Giorgione. It was just one of those "coincidences" that makes me think there ...more
Sep 06, 2012 S.M. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a huge disappointment. I love art history and have been more than once to Venice, and was hoping for something more interesting, more illuminating, that would draw me into an Italian adventure, and reveal information about living in Venice now and in the past. There is a very thin story here, the characters are not well drawn, one doesn't even know the age of the main character, it's difficult to be interested in any of the people in this book. After 140 pages I just don't care any ...more
Sep 03, 2016 Alison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was not very good. I finished it, so that’s something. The story had potential but was drowned in nonsensical musings - Walker’s writing style is a strange mixture of pretentious and sincere; you can tell she’s trying her hardest, bless her heart. Also, for some reason she refused to use quotation marks, which I understand is a stylistic choice, but just made it more difficult than it was worth to keep up with what was going on. You never know when the characters are talking, or thinki ...more
Robin Brooks
Jul 01, 2015 Robin Brooks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: luminous-romance
This translucent debut novel of Kathryn Walker's is absolutely breathtaking. A dream. A prophecy.

The woman Nel is caught not only in a stultifying marriage, she herself has allowed herself to become reduced to nonexistence within it.

Over the course of this book, in which she helps to uncover a world of light in a romance of artists centuries gone, she discovers the river of life within herself that she had lost but now uncovers.

The dialogue has no quotation marks — the whole book reads like a dr
Jan 22, 2009 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 19, 2008 Gail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We've all had moments of despair in our lives, where we wonder what would happen if we could just get away? In A Stopover in Venice, that's exactly what happens. Nel, wife of a famous musician, impulsively gets off a train in Italy, knowing no one. She makes her way to Venice and begins the process of rediscovering who she is.
I liked this book in part because of Nel's character. She is a reminder that people - women in particular - are made up of so much more than what is on the surface. My only
Jul 22, 2010 Carah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I marked it as 'read' although I didn't finish it. I think it falls into the category of the kind of book you have to be in a certain mind-set to read, and I perhaps picked it up at the wrong time. My husband was just coming home (hooray) after a 7-month deployment, and this silly main character was ditching her husband on a whim because she wanted more out of life. (Her description of their marriage was a bit depressing too, and who wants to read about that when one is celebrating a reunion wit ...more
Feb 06, 2016 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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