There's always a bit of trepidation when starting a book by an author that you've never read before, but sometimes the risk pays off in spades. Case iThere's always a bit of trepidation when starting a book by an author that you've never read before, but sometimes the risk pays off in spades. Case in point THE VENETIAN BARGAIN by Marina Fiorato. Holy moly, how in the world I haven't read her yet I can't say, I'm just glad that I took the plunge because this novel was ah-ma-zing!
16th century Constantinople and Venice explode off the pages in The Venetian Bargain! You see the sights and smell the smells of these two exotic locales vividly under Fiorato's skillfull pen. The ambience and mood of the time feels spot on and it's easy to get lost in the descriptions.
The main themes of the novel are the Plague and the various medical practices that existed, both based on either superstition or science, and the religious differences between the Turks and Christians. It's clearly evident to the reader that the author's done her research. But it's not just the historical aspects that make this book so hard to put down, it's Fiorato's writing style. I was immediately drawn in by her strong and polished voice and held captivated until the end.
Um, and can we talk about the cover? Hello, gorgeous! I need that dress pronto (and if the figure comes with it, so much the better)! It suits the book perfectly and I can totally believe that could be Feyra.
The Venetian Bargain is one of those books that will make you want to hide away behind a locked door, ignore the cries of your husband and kids, and the hundreds of emails waiting a response, and the call of dirty dishes, and just READ. Do yourself a favor and pick this up, you can thank me later!...more
Inspired by the Robert Browning poem titled The Last Duchess, author Elizabeth Loupas gives her own rendition of the mystery behind the death of LucreInspired by the Robert Browning poem titled The Last Duchess, author Elizabeth Loupas gives her own rendition of the mystery behind the death of Lucrezia d’Medici, rumored to have been murdered by her husband, the Duke of Ferrera in The Second Duchess.
For Barbara of Austria marriage to the duke and at last having a court of her own was a dream come true. However, the dream fades as she is immediately bombarded upon her arrival with the whisperings and rumors of court gossip about the mysterious death of her predecessor, the beautiful and young Lucrezia d’Medici. Naturally inquisitive, Barbara’s interest has been piqued and makes it her mission to find out what exactly happened to the first duchess despite the duke’s profound command that she cease the investigation. Not content to let the matter drop Barbara continues to ask questions and in return gains many enemies who will do anything to keep their secret hidden forever.
Though mostly told by Barbara, the author also gives Lucrezia a voice, something I really liked because it gives the reader both sides of the story. From her place in between the world of the living and the afterlife, she gives commentary and reminisces on when she was duchess and her relationship with the duke.
All in all, I found The Second Duchess to be an enticing read that kept me guessing until the end. The mysterious death of the audacious, yet misguided first Duchess of Ferrera is indeed an intriguing one and I look forward to more by Elizabeth Loupas!...more
When author Lorenzo Borghese visited The Galleria Borghese in Italy, a home that belonged to his family until the early 1900s, he was drawn to a marblWhen author Lorenzo Borghese visited The Galleria Borghese in Italy, a home that belonged to his family until the early 1900s, he was drawn to a marble statue of his ancestor Princess Pauline Borghese and inspired to tell the unique story of her life. Told from the view point of Sophie, the princesses’ long time companion and lady-in-waiting, the marriage of Pauline Bonaparte and Prince Camillo Borghese is explored in the pages of The Princess of Nowhere.
Pauline was charming, charismatic and one of the most wealthy and beautiful women of her time. She was also flirtatious, unconventional, and had a scandalous reputation. She and Camillo were attracted to each other at first sight. Though Camillo had reservations about marrying Pauline because of the rumors surrounding her, he soon became too enamored to care and they married soon after meeting, despite her brother Napoleon’s objections. Passionate and tumultuous, their union was a roller coaster of ups and downs. But through all the drama, fighting and betrayals, their love for each other stood the test of time.
A moving tale of love and forgiveness, I found The Princess of Nowhere to be a very enjoyable read and definitely recommend it. ...more