Lydia Presley's Reviews > The Rossetti Letter

The Rossetti Letter by Christi Phillips
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Jun 30, 2011

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bookshelves: 2011, fiction, historic-fiction, italy

I wish it were possible to review a book by cutting it up into three separate books. Because two out of the three would get favorable reviews from me while the third... well, I don't think I'd have read the third after the first 20 pages or so if I had the choice.

Basically, The Rossetti Letter is three stories - that of modern-time Claire, out to prove her dissertation on Alessandra Rossetti, that of Alessandra, a courtesan who lived in seventeenth century Venice, and finally, a political conspiracy taking place in Venice in which Alessandra has a part in.

The modern story, I think, is given more credit in the summary than deserves, but it was entertaining, I found Claire likeable, I found the reason she actually got to go to Venice a bit laughable, and the relationships formed in Venice a bit contrived, but still - it was mindless fun.

I actually enjoyed Alessandra's story the most. I enjoyed learning about the lifestyle, the choices given to women without dowry and I had no idea that only one son in a family was usually allowed to marry, thereby making courtesans "necessary evils".

But the political, historical stuff - seriously, I felt so lost and I floundered my way through it because, frankly, it just wasn't that interesting. If the book had more of that part of the story in it then it did, then I honestly would not have finished the book, because as much as I enjoyed Alessandra and was amused by Claire, it wouldn't have been worth the boredom.

But, for the $5 this book ended up costing me - it was an okay read, just nothing to write home about.
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