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The Stargazer

(Arboretti Family #1)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  380 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Michele Jaffe's sensual new novel Stargazer, set against the exquisite background of Renaissance Venice, is the story of a brilliant and beautiful doctor's daughter and the aristocratic rogue who crosses her path. Each suspects the other of killing a well-known courtesan; when they're forced to team up to prove their innocence, sparks fly. Jaffe is a Renaissance scholar, so she know ...more
Hardcover, 394 pages
Published July 1st 1999 by Pocket Books
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Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  380 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Feb 29, 2012 rated it did not like it

This book was, in whole, laughable! If you picked it apart and focused on the individual scenes it wasn't so bad. They were well written and intence. But when you mesh them all togeather and call it a novel, it's awful! In whole, there was no logic behind anything that actully happened! For instance, Ian's idea that if he bedded Bianca he'd become immune to her "charms". *eye roll* It was a pathetic excuse for the author to put in a sex scene. If that excuse wasn't horrible the first time it cer

May 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
I read this years ago as a teen. Something stuck out to me to make me remember it all these years later, but I was unable to figure out what had caught in my memory, unless it was just me remembering the absurdity of the story. This book was so confused. The main characters doubted themselves, each other, and the world WAY too much. I can understand a little uncertainty, but a 180 twice in two paragraphs is a little excessive. Why are they both so sure the other one is the murderer? How does th ...more
Summer Seeds
Sep 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
This was bad. Really bad. The characters are ridiculous. The scenarios they find themselves in are worse.

Bianca, a seemingly intelligent woman, finds herself pining for, and throwing herself at, a man who treats her like garbage. Ian thinks Bianca is a murderess, but that doesn’t stop him from sleeping with her. And she goes along with it despite him being emotionally manipulative and verbally abusive.

Thanks but no thanks.
When I saw that this one was set in Renaissance Venice and that it included a romance and a murder mystery, I was eager to read this book. The colorful, rich descriptions of the place, the people and the activities of that time period were so artfully and skillfully drawn. For that reason alone, I enjoyed this book and respected the writing. Unfortunately, the mystery only somewhat pleased and the main characters not so much- okay, mostly they didn't.

The story opens with Ian Foscari, the Conte
Jul 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
Idk what was worse: The love story or the mystery. Skip this book.
No idea how this got on my Kindle because according to Amazon I didn't buy it. I love the title and the cover but I could only read about one third of it because it is so boring.
Kristen Pino Chapman
Mar 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
Such a bad book...some great ideas, but it never manages to take off. It was a great laugh, though!
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is different in a lot of ways. First, the novel is set in Europe, which is different than my typical fare, but not unappealingly so. The focus of the novel is Bianca. She has essentially been shackled to her aunt and uncle since her father’s death. She practices medicine in a time when it was unseemly for a woman to do so. There are a few comments from her aunt throughout the book about how she has embarrassed the family because of her chosen occupation. This endeared her to me even mo ...more
Kelsey Lensegrav
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it
This novel was well written and very interesting. It blended mystery with location very well and manged to captivate attention from the first pages to the last. Very good for a free book.
Jul 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As of lately Michele Jaffe has been writing YA books, all great teen-aged mysteries.
And I was fully aware this wasn't YA, I wasn't like some that pick up a book assuming it's YA and end up yelling "Oh my gods kids shouldn't be allowed near this!"

My exclamations were more along the lines of "Damn! This is a side of you I've never seen before!"
This is definitely different from the bubbly personalities we'll find in her other books. And that's actually pretty great. As much
Feb 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, romance, mystery
Heavier on the romance than I anticipated, and while I knew this would be very different from her young adult novels, I was surprised at the difference in the general writing style.

While I definitely enjoyed the two main characters, Bianca and Ian, the actual plot (what little there was) was very lacking. A complex mystery with many points that don't seem to quite add up. It requires a lot of thinking to sort out all the little details that are actually quite important, because the b
Bekah Chu
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Read on a whim, as most of my reads are nowadays.

I am still confused about the title and how it could ever relate to the plot.

The constant back and forth is quite tiring to read, though the saucy makeup session is not.

I have a problem with Ian's innate sexism and Bianca's wont to have her dignity trampled by a male's ego. I have to remind myself that I was reading from a privileged white man'a POV.

I won't say whether I had known who the culprit that was the cause of the entire mys
Karielle at Books à la Mode
Nov 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
okay so umm...this book is idk, it's good so far but what i have to say is: it's pretty much like reading porn. okay, correction, *it is literally texted pornography. period.

who knows, i guess it's just kinda ona those books where the cover and title is all classy (i mean, 'the STARGAZER'?? how classy does that sound???)but once you actually look inside, it's all "steamy" and such. atleast that's what the book jacket says. lol
it's not steamy at all tho. it's kinda gross and it gives you that
Jan 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

First off, let me say how much I LOVED that this book was set in Renaissance Venice, Italy! It's such a magical city and served as a wonderful backdrop to the story! The descriptions of the place and people were wonderfully written, allowing the reader to easily paint a canvas in their minds. The way the setting was written was probably my favorite part of the book.

The plot, however, was fairly confusing. I c
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Taking place in the backdrop of Renaissance Venice, The Stargazer, takes the reader on an adventure, complete with sensual romance, courtesans, medical advancements, jealous lovers, betrayal, and murder. The mystery of who done it and why is artfully crafted and keeps the reader invested from beginning to end. In fact the mystery gains depth and momentum as the story progresses. There is a gratuitous amount of sex in this book, more so than a normal adult romance novel, but if all of the sex was ...more
Apr 30, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: almost noone.
I have never read a Harlequin romance (and never intend to), so I don't know exactly what they are like; however, I suspect that this book comes close. Perhaps a bit "racier", with many graphic sexual encounters.
The book is set in 16th century Venice, which is an interesting scenario. Having a Ph.D. from Harvard in Comparative literature of the Renaissance, the author should have some relevant expertise.
Almost all of the characters in the novel are exceptionally good looking and clev
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Michelle Jaffe's intriging first novel, Stargazer takes y ou on a journey through Renaissance Venice that will have you reaching for travel brochures. She paints a beautiful picture of life during that era. And like all good romance novels there is smoldering sexuality and good looking characters. But this book is more than just a romance novel in a beautiful setting. It's all set around a murder and there are constant twists and turns and sub plots that keep the story evolving.

The s
Oh my goodness. I had to DNF the crap out of this.

Number of times Bianca sneezes in the first 5 pages: 29. I'm not making that up; I counted. I HAD TO READ ABOUT SOMEONE SNEEZING 29 TIMES IN THE SPAN OF 5 PAGES. KILL ME. We don't even find out why. At least, we didn't before I DNFed this insane "novel."

How long it takes Bianca to notice how utterly sexy Ian is: 4 pages. Again, not making that up.

How long it takes Ian to notice how utterly sexy Bianca is: 7 pag
Feb 10, 2014 rated it liked it
This was truly a case of being divided right down the middle on how to feel about a book. There were some portions that I absolutely hated and some that I loved.

Even after finishing the book I have questions, not so much lingering things that were not answered, but more about why the author chose to write the characters as she did. Some of their actions and decisions just did not seem to fit with what the reader learns about them.

I appreciated that the writing itself was solid, but the plot fe
Stargazer - VG
Jaffe, Michele - 1st in Arboretti Family series

Bianca and Ian, the Conte d'Aosto, meet over the body of a courtesan. Bianca is holding a bloody dagger. Ian has a note from the victim requesting his presence. Naturally, each assumes the other is the murderer. Ian decides to take Bianca to his palace to keep an eye on her. As an explanation for their new living arrangements, he announces they are engaged, then gives Bianca one week to prove her innocence. His family
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disclaimer
Read through

It was a lot heavy with the romance than I first expected, and the characters are moving so quickly from I love you/in love with you/infatuated in you to distrust and etc. the suspicion was therefore a bit too much between trust and do not trust. In addition to sex scenes in between, it became to much and boring. Predictable, and Bianca and Ian seems to be the damnation most enormous idiots that I've read about. This is a dragged story about how they met and fall in love, a
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 06, 2013 rated it liked it
This book felt like Three Musketeers erotica with a murder mystery thrown in. Endless sex scenes and romance-novel-style character stupidity bogged down the plot. On the other hand, our main character was likable, and it's possible the setting is moderately realistic since the author has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature of the Renaissance.
Oct 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Like the other Arboretti books, there is a delicious mix of romance, suspense and a non-typical historical setting that just knocked my socks off. While I liked her contemporary suspense, too, I really wish she would have continued in both genres, instead of switching to YA.

And I was really irritated when the publisher chintzed and shifted from hardcovers to the dual paperback of her books.
Aug 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
I really didn't much care for this book. The characters just didn't draw me in. Their relationship seemed unbelievable, as did their actions. While I am all for a good sex scene, Jafe seemed to throw them in without care for the building relationship or plot.
I loved her other books, but not this one.
Jenifer Kleine
Dec 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, netgalley
I gave it a go, and I just couldn't bring myself to go any further. When reading a book reminds you of reading stereo instructions, it's just not that interesting it's time to just give up. Nothing in this story grabbed my attention. The story didn't seem to flow properly, I guess it felt like being thrown into the middle of a story without reading the beginning. Not for me.
Mar 09, 2009 rated it liked it
I have never been that conversant with the romance genre, but a friend with very good and broad taste in literature gave me this novel a number of years ago to take on my honeymoon and I enjoyed the hell out of it. It's a historical romance/mystery with good steamy sex scenes and an intelligent, educated heroine.
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful historical fiction combined with a strong female protagonist. Enjoyed the relationships amongst the characters and the description of Venice. Just the right pints of wit and dry humor sprinkled into the story. My first Michele Jaffe book--I will definitely be reading more.
Vanessa Johnson
I enjoyed it

I enjoy the idea of the book but I agree with another review where it seemed the book was written in such a way to allow more of the sex scenes than it was to develop a more plausible plot line.
Jul 16, 2008 rated it did not like it
This shouldn't be sold as a mystery. It was definitely a romance novel. Yuck! I didn't even finish it!
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Michele Jaffe (b. March 20 in Los Angeles, California), is an American writer. She has authored novels in several genres, including historical romance, suspense thrillers, and novels for Young Adults.

Other books in the series

Arboretti Family (4 books)
  • The Water Nymph (Arboretti Family, #2)
  • Lady Killer (Arboretti Family, #3)
  • Secret Admirer (Arboretti Family, #4)