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(Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  5,257 ratings  ·  719 reviews
Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—pra
Hardcover, 435 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by Philomel
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Leticia Porter Well I read it when I was 14 so yeah. It's pretty awesome book…moreWell I read it when I was 14 so yeah. It's pretty awesome book(less)

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Katerina  Kondrenko
8.5 out of 10

Ревью в моем блоге/This review on my blog Living A Thousand Lives (please use Chrome/Yandex browser or Android/IOS to see the page; otherwise, spoiler-tags I use to make my post compact may not work)

Josh Groban – All'improvviso amore
Il Divo – Ti amerò
Nino Katamadze & Insight – Once on the street

Genre: historical fantasy, YA, mystery
Stuff: Renaissance Venice, forbidden love, maniac
Fail: some typical YA-moments
WOW: atmosphere
POV: 3rd-person, female
Nov 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
Why do I feel like I've just read the Twilight of young adult historical fiction? I am not kidding, the only thing Fiona Paul manages to do right is adapt every single conceivable cliche from every second rate paranormal romance I've ever been suckered into reading into this thing nominally set in medieval Venice. If you're looking for an independent minded but ultimately hapless heroine, a ridiculous love at first sight love interest, shallow, predictable drama between the two, and a plot that ...more
Jan 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of historical fiction with romance
Recommended to Nastassja by: Katerina Kondrenko

Buddy read with Julia with the assistance of Katerina. Girls, our all night discussions were the best time of my life. Julia, your narration of Luca and Falco will stay in my memory forever. I hope you'll quote them for us in the next book too ;) Kat, I am glad you seduced me into reading this book; I am looking forward to our next book-sabbath party!

Actual rating: 3.5

“A blow to the head,
if sufficiently sharp,
can produce an indentation
in the skull. Results may be blindness,
muteness, violent paro

Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Venom invites you to a rich world of mystery and intrigue set in Renaissance Venice. It offers secret rendezvous in graveyards, masked balls and errant lovers mixed with absent fiancés. With a premise like that, I could not help but be interested in the novel. The cover, too, is beautiful and alluring.

So what went wrong?

Many things, I’m afraid. This will take a while so bear with me. I went to this author event recently where Kenneth Oppel presided as the main author in attendance. He spoke abou
Sarah (thegirltheycalljones)
This book could easily be summed up with four words : Venice, mystery, murders and HORMONES!
Is it a bad thing? Hell no! Is it a great thing? Not really. It's average.
There are lots of goods in this book and some bad, which makes it quite uneven and lower the rating to three stars.

The setting was great : Renaissance Venice. Can you do better, really? I don't think so. Maybe it's because I've been to Venice three times in my life and enjoyed every trip, the last one being only two years back, and
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
The premise is a lot more successful than the execution. The blurb drew me in, but I guess I had different expectations for the book. I feel like the actions of the heroine was way too uncharacteristic for someone of her age and class. I did not like the love interest at all, Falco is an arrogant asshole, and I couldn't see what Cass saw in him besides for the initial bad boy attraction. DNF. ...more
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I must admit it took me a little while to get into this book. It is told in third person which made it difficult for me to connect with Cass at first. Also the first scene is a funeral so it was sad and slow. But have no fear because soon enough I met Falco and I was hooked! Cass just lost a close friend and at night she likes to walk around the graveyard. Weird, yes, but it is her way to have a little freedom and alone time, plus it's located right behind her house. She visits her friend's cryp ...more
Is it possible for a book to be underwhelming and horrifying at the same time?

Like many others, I was seriously anticipating Venom. YA murder mystery set in Venice during the Renaissance? How could that not be awesome?

I guess maybe if the main character is a privileged rich girl with a loving family whose biggest problem is that her life is too boring (and she complains about it. All. The. Time). And if her love interest, Falco, is every girl's fantasy: you know, the kind of guy who dresses her
Zoe Stewart (Zoe's All Booked)
Today's review is brought to you by the word of the day - boredom.

Sheer. Boredom.

An interesting concept, but holy fuck I was not into this. One too many instances of "I'm different, I'm not like other girls" and "you're different, eh? Not like all those other girls".


Seriously. I want to vomit.

A general waste of my time. Today was a reading write off. I read a lot, but like 5% of it was actually worthwile.
Sep 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
I was honestly super excited for this book thanks to the Renaissance Venice setting. I mean, masquerades! Courtesans! Crazy maze like canals and streets and just--Venice was a happenin' place back then and now, let me tell you. But even with a mundane plot, with a mundane, over used romantic trope(I CAN'T TELL YOU BC I NEED TO PROTECT U), love interest--everything--I still would have let it get off with 2.5 stars, even a three. The prose is nice. THe plot, oversimple maybe, but sustainable. The ...more
*3.5 stars*

While I did enjoy this book and loved the time and setting, it did drag on and bore me at times. It was also a little predictable, but I did enjoy reading about Cass' story! I feel like I'm already on the love interest team most people don't pick, and I'm intrigued enough by the series and the characters to continue reading on!
Tee loves Kyle Jacobson
Venom is one of those books that stay with you long after you read it. I want to thank Around The World ARC Tours for allowing me to be a part of this tour because it was truly one of the BEST books I have read so far this year. October is going to be the month of EPIC book releases and this is going to be one of them.

Cass lives in Venice with her aunt. Her aunt has secured her a husband and Cass is waiting for him to come home from school to be with her. He is not someone she has picked to be
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it

“Four Stars: A historical murder mystery that takes you to Renaissance Venice.

Cass stands in the church enduring the never-ending funeral for her deceased friend, Livia. At last the funeral draws to a close and Cass seeks some fresh air. Lost in a fog, she is unaware of her surroundings as she stands on the plaza near the canal. A boisterous young man accidentally shoves against her, knocking Cass to the ground. For a moment, she is lost in the depths of his blue eyes. Quickly he pulls her up an
*****FINAL RATING: 4.60 STARS*****

I don't read a lot of historical fiction. And usually, when I do, it has magic thrown in at one point or another. As a general rule, historical fiction is not my favorite. Yet somehow, Venom defied all those odds and found its way into my heart. I just…I can't even. This book totally resonated with my and made my heart pound. It was wild and crazy and insane and fun, and I loved every single second of it. It amazed me and it thrilled me. In other wor
Mrs. S
May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Awww, YA boys. I never fall for the one I'm supposed to. In Venom, Fiona Paul has created a great example of the kind of artsy, edgy "bad boy" that I just know the entire internets will soon be swooning over. Falco is great, and I'm definitely intrigued by him. But you'll be reading all about him in a million reviews soon enough. I want to talk about Luca.

From the minute I learned that our heroine, Cass, was betrothed to a guy she had known in childhood but who she dismissed as "boring", I knew
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I have to say wow. This book is bombastic.

It combines everything so perfectly, world building is amazingly designed.

The tension between Cass and Falco is real, and you can feel it and just dive into it.

It's good thing that Cassandra didn't stay the same young girl, that she has some personal and emotional growth. I was very surprised at the end of the book, when she started to think kindly of her aunt.

You can fall in love in Falco very easily. From the beginnig you can feel tension between him a
Jul 25, 2012 rated it liked it
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Venom by Fiona Paul
Book One of the Secrets of the Eternal Rose Series
Publisher: Philomel
Publication Date: October 30, 2012
Rating: 3 stars
Source: ARC from a giveaway

Summary (from Goodreads):

Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city
Melissa Cushing
So I am giving this one 5 stars!!! Loved it!!! It was a great story! I loved Cass and Falco, and even felt for Luca as well, later in the book. :) I will not give a blurb or description of the book because you can get that on Goodreads and/or Amazon. Overall I loved the story and the descriptiveness of the characters, the beautifully described clothes that the ladies wore throughout. It was a period piece, with wonderful descriptions of Venice, the opulence, wealth, and excess of Venice and the ...more
An Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher for review. Quotes pulled from the ARC may be incorrect and may be subject to change.

Cass is an orphan, engaged to a boy she barely knows, she must marry him for her future. Yet her freedom is within her grasp and she wants out of the restraints. When she meets a new boy named Falco, and their chemistry seems to ignite at their first encounter, she realizes there’s more to the mysterious and attractive boy than he seems.

I was so excited when
May 03, 2012 rated it liked it
If you're inclined to romance books, you'll love this book. I am not one of those people, so I spent the most of the book being annoyed by Cassandra. I was constantly yelling at her in my head: Don't trust him! Don't go into the dark room! Don't go into the dark room with the guy I told you not to trust! I enjoyed the murder mystery aspect, but the high-society girl playing detective has been used far too many times. Also, before every chapter was a quote from "The Book of The Eternal Rose"; whi ...more
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
**This review contains mild spoilers. Continue at your own risk.

Had to stop at 40% into the book.

No, no, no, no, NO, NO, NO, NO!

Another interesting premise down the drain...

A historical fiction YA book set in Venice during Renaissance era? C-c-combo breaker! Sadly, the execution was done at a very sub-par level.

Okay, I believe in common sense. With that in mind, there are so many things that I found as ridiculous and non-sensible about this book. I disapprove this book until I would go to the ex
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very exciting journey through old Venice, filled with dark secrets, pain and pleasure. I liked the characters very much except the author made Cass seem like a pretty dumb girl with really bad memory. Buuut, everything was enjoyable and I'm excited to see what happens next. ...more
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was an ARC I picked up, so I will try to keep this review honest while avoiding spoilers as much as possible.

This book disappointed me, which is a shame because I love Italy and the author did a good job of setting up atmosphere. The actual mystery was the only thing keeping me reading because I was tiring of the romance. There were so many "don't do it" moments, and Cass herself keeps telling herself she shouldn't be doing something. Yet she does it anyway. That got to be very frustrating
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Venom for me has been the surprise of the year. I'm not sure what I had expected, but not only was it entertaining, it was a true thriller in every sense of the word. Set in an era where ladies should be just that, expected to maintain the upkeep of their household, and rely on their Lady's Maid to run their errands, but Cass isn't your average girl. Her sense of adventure far outweighs her density, and she is far too accepting of others.

Fiona Paul has cr
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is just flat-out great!! From the love story to the mysteries, it kept me engrossed the entire time. The setting is absolutely fabulous. The descriptions of Venice are so beautiful and lovely.

Overall I enjoyed Cass's character and I really liked the development of the relationships she had with people such as her aunt and Falco.

I loved Falco because he was just enough bad boy! The love story between them progressed very nicely and it definitely avoided the whole insta-love thing.

Apr 05, 2012 marked it as to-read
OCTOBER??? REALLY? I might die by then of extreme impatience! Seriously, I'm not kidding. I just read the review and I am already banging my head against the desk my computer is on. I have to wait until OCTOBER! I am already waiting for two other books to come out and now this one! Kill me now! ...more
Jean Valjean (OG 2010)
This looks like SO much fun! I can't wait to get my hands on this little gem. ...more
Jan 25, 2016 marked it as to-read

*drops dead*

“But you are different from most girls, aren’t you, Cassandra?”

I don't know how many times this phrase was repeated, but it was way too many. 🙄 I'm so glad the whole *~not like other girls~* YA trend died out in recent years.

The only thing I liked about this novel was Luca. That's it. Cass and Falco were so damn annoying and sappy. I kept rolling my eyes throughout their scenes. Also this book could have benefited from being 150 pages shorter. I felt it was unnecessarily wordy most of the time
Feb 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I first picked up this book around when it was published, but I put it aside for some reason. It must have been the fact that I wasn't in the mood for historical fiction at the time, because it starts off interestingly enough. I was pretty much in love with the synopsis, but I didn't have high expectations because of lots of mixed reviews. There were definitely a few things that got under my skin, but overall I ended up really enjoying this. The actual novel itself is also gorgeous - from the fo ...more
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Fiona Paul is a pseudonym for author Paula Stokes


Please contact me via email or twitter.

If you're looking for a review copy of BELLADONNA, please contact Penguin's marketing department directly at Thanks and happy reading! :)


Other books in the series

Secrets of the Eternal Rose (3 books)
  • Belladonna (Secrets of the Eternal Rose, #2)
  • Starling (Secrets of the Eternal Rose, #3)

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