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The Madman of Venice

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  149 ratings  ·  33 reviews
The London home of Matthew Ashby is visited by the beautiful, famous half-Venetian musician, Emilia Lanier, begging him for help. A young Venetian girl, Sarah, has been accused of witchcraft by a wealthy merchant's wife, and has since disappeared. Is she in hiding? Or worse - kidnapped or murdered?
Paperback, 293 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Hodder Children's Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Average rating 3.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  149 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Truth be told, the only reason I picked this book up from the library was because my ten year old slipped it into the stack of books we were going to check out. Why? Because she thought I would like it. I was skeptical, but didn't want to hurt her feelings. I shall be thanking her for picking out this book for me.

The Madman of Venice was a pleasant surprise. Simply put, it was a well rounded delightful read that I highly enjoyed. Sophie Masson's novel is well thought out, her plot twists and tu
Was really keen to get into this book but I found it a bit boring and obvious. There were themes that could have been further explored to make it more interesting, and there too many love stories for my liking
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've read this book twice now and it's an absolutely beautifully written love and adventure story.
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
While one is enjoying their ride on the infamous Gondolas, another is killing or stealing. Venice in 1602 is a diverse, romantic, and mysterious city that contains secrets of noblemen and pirates. By examining the romance and mystery in The Madman of Venice, it is evident that the author really tries to create a novel for all audiences, which ultimately illustrates that this is a great read.

When beseeched to find a Jewish girl,Sarah Tedeschi, Master Ashby links his investigation of the plaguing
Feb 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Master Ashby along with his daughter, Celia, and his clerk, Ned, embark on a journey to Venice, Italy to uncover who is behind the pirate attacks plaguing Ashby and other London merchants. They have also agreed to help find a Jewish girl accused of witchcraft who has recently disappeared. As Master Ashy and his cohorts work to solve the mystery, Celia refuses to be left out. She convinces Ned, who is secretly in love with her, to help her discover what happened to Sarah, the missing Jewish girl. ...more
Erin Forson
Nov 29, 2011 rated it did not like it
The Madman of Venice
by Sophie Masson
I wanted to love this book, and I really tried. But somewhere after meeting the main character, Ned, and seeing what a reactionary, self-centered, jealous, and short-sighted character he was, it was all I could do to drag myself through the pages. The premise of the novel is that Ned, an orphan working for wealthy merchant Master Ashby as a clerk, accompanies Master Ashby and his beautiful daughter to Venice to investigate the disappearance of a Jewish girl. N
OK. I am never reading reviews for a book I'm considering reading again. Going into this, I was worried, because some reviews were pretty negative, and I was afraid I wouldn't enjoy the story. Well, Sophie Masson, you have another fan. I loved this book.

Prepare for a full-on gushfest.

So Venice in 1602 is basically the perfect time/place for an author to set a novel if they want me to read it. As I mentioned in a status update on this book, What's better than beautiful people running around 17th-
This book isn't being marketed to the right audience. The cover is so serious and adult, and really this is a middle-grade light mystery/romance inspired by Shakespeare's plays, and it shows in the characters and plotting. Celia is a spunky girl who cross-dresses when necessary, like Rosalind, even though she's named after the more shy cousin. Everyone the group from England meets ends up being significant to the plot. The madman in Act 1 is indeed played in Act 3. Some elements are easy to pred ...more
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OMG. I expected some good writing and some Shakespeare, but what I got was 8000% better. I loved Ned; I think he's an adorable character, and I think that Celia is a really great balance character for Ned, as well as just a great character all by herself. I admit, I started off not liking Henri one bit; I honestly thought that he was just a really stuck up pinhead who was going to get in the way of Ned and Celia. I really liked that he wasn't, though; I like how she incorporated him. I loved the ...more
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I do love books set in Italy and the cover of “The Madman of Venice” seemed quite “adult” …But, here I was tricked. The book is YA/ Teens and therefore, not quite what I expected.

It is a mystery story set in Venice in the seventeenth century and the idea is somewhat appealing. A Jewish girl goes missing from the ghetto and Celia Ashby, who is accompanying her father on a business trip to Venice, decides to do some investigating on her own. The clues point to a very powerful Venetian family and,
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
It was strange how it was advertised as this darker, more mature book when it was actually a milder YA with those type of themes sprinkled in. I thought it was pretty average and kind of forgettable. The characters where just cliché and really unoriginal. Like, the main girl is this blonde young daughter of a rich dude, but surprise! she's actually smart and ambitious and wants to prove herself and that she can do everything the boys can do. Basically, she's just a copy-paste of every. female. l ...more
Sep 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
I picked this book up because the plot looked fascinating--a historic mystery set in Venice. Unfortunately, a plot isn't the only thing needed in a good novel. As I read, I found myself hammered over the head with a romantic plot that seemed out of place in this setting. The plucky female character was just self-centered and downright annoying. The gawky male lead was equally annoying. Granted, both of them could have had some character growth by the end of the book, but I'll never know--once I ...more
Dyna Clarisse
(view spoiler) ...more
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, library
What I liked:
• The setting- Venice long time ago
• The idea of a mystery- where is the Jewish girl?
What I did NOT like:
• The silly romance between the two characters that are investigating the whereabouts of the Jewish girl- it came off too childish for my taste
• Masson did not manage to fully immerse me in the era they were living in. Most of the time I would forget it was supposed to be set hundreds of years ago..
• Overall good concept but executed to much as a children’s book for me to enjoy/
Mary Sanchez
Elements of Shakepeare's, The Merchant of Venice and Romeo and Juliet come into play in this story. It is 1602 and Master Ashby, a merchant from London, takes his clerk, Ned,and daughter,Celia, with him to Venice to investigate pirates who are affecting his business. Ned is particularly excited to go because he's been to plays and read books by Shakespeare where Venice is the setting of his dramas. A high stakes, real life drama now ensues when the London people try to find the missing daughter ...more
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
I picked this book up when I was in Venice. It's got a fairly interesting plot and the characters are much as you'd expect teenagers to act. The writing was pretty clunky though and had modern phrases and dialogue though it was set in the 1600s. Also it was pretty predictable. However there was one part that surprised me and the characters really weren't too bad. I did get all the way through it so I can't say it was the worst or anything. I'd recommend it if you really just want a fluff book th ...more
Emily Craven
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
This book was a delight to read. The plot had the right amount of twists and turns to keep things interesting, the characters were well rounded, charming and developed well, and the mystery aspect was a lot of fun and took me back to the delight I used to take in YA mysteries in high school. The description of Venice was also brilliant, I felt I was back there but this time actually taking part in city life rather than touring past it.
Dec 19, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this in Venice sitting in the cannaregio district where it is set, so a lovely intro to Venice. It loosely follows the plot of the Merchant of Venice, but the writing was sometimes awkward, esp the flirting scenes and the constant use of 'so they explained what had happened' to progress the plot.
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Sophie Masson can really do no wrong. Every book she writes is an absolute great read and this one was no different. You will feel like you are actually in Venice. Great story and wonderful characters.
Shazi A
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
It was really confusing at the beginning, but towards the middle of the book I began to understand the storyline. By the end, I fully understood how the mystery had unravelled itself and I really enjoyed it and the way it had been cleverly put together!
Jens Kuhn
Jan 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Nice enough but a bit tame, which is probably ok considering it's really a childrens book.
The descriptions of ancient Venice are virtually non-existent which is a real pity. This book could have been so much more.
Jun 18, 2013 rated it liked it
What saved the book for me was the intriguing location (Venice) and time period.

The story and characters feel a little formulaic. Plucky young adults solve a mystery and save the day, seasoned with a dash of budding romance.

Hannah Wille
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
I can't wait to see all of the places mentioned in this book! It was perfect for anybody going to Venice or anyone who loves adventure and mystery. I now want to read The Merchant of Venice because it was mentioned several times in the plot.
May 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love historical mystery novels. Not rating the author's writing skills, but the story was great!
Jun 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The setting was interesting: Venice.
Easy prose and gentle romance.
Good for Middle School level but older YA and Adults may find this book simplistic.
Dec 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Good Story - convoluted writing style.
Oct 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really like this book. It had a GREAT story line, and the characters were easy to relate to.
The cover is better on the US version
Kate Forsyth
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful historical mystery set in Renaissance Venice! I really loved this book, which combines romance, suspense, and murder into one fabulous book for readers aged 12+.
Sep 12, 2013 added it
Venice is a magical setting, but this was not a gripping read.
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Born in Indonesia of French parents, Sophie Masson was sent to live with her paternal grandmother in Toulouse, France, when she was just a baby and lived there till she was nearly five, when her parents came back from Indonesia and took her to Australia. All the rest of her childhood, the family stayed in Australia, with frequent trips back to France, and this dual heritage underpins a good deal o ...more

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