I received this book for free from Won in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1
Published by Philomel on October 30th 2012
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult
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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—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?
Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.
Beautifully seductive and enchanting, Venom by far surpassed my expectations and became one of my favorite reads of 2012!
Admittedly, I do not read a lot of historical fiction but once I read the premise behind Venom, I just knew it was something I had to read! I always enjoyed the Renaissance era and the author transported me back in time to the beautiful Venice and all that was encompassed by it. From the gorgeous dresses and masked balls, to the gondola rides through the canal, and even secret rendezvous in the graveyard. All of this just made the murder mystery that much more exciting! The writing was superb and the details exquisite. I can only imagine the amount of research needed for authenticity, but I would say it all hit dead on. Everything felt alive, wonderous, and incredibly romantic.
Cassandra is dealing with the expectations placed on her by her Aunt and of course her upbringing when she discovers a dead courtesan’s murdered body in the graveyard outside her home. Instead of going to tell the guards what she has discovered, she embarks on a dangerous, yet exciting adventure with Falco, an artist who she also finds in the graveyard that night. Together they set out to solve the mystery of who the girl is and who the murderer could possibly be, before Cass becomes a victim as well. And oh how this adventure hooked me! Falco was the perfect blend of the proper gentleman to suit the times, and the somewhat cocky, self assured personality that was incredibly charming. He was mischievous, yet sweet and I craved his presence whenever he was missing from the pages. And guys… he paints her! Like skimpy outfit, beautiful necklace type deal, a la Titanic? *melts*
“Your beauty lights up the darkest night,” he said. “I could paint an entire chapel just for you. Maybe I will someday.”
*swoon* I don’t usually envision anyone in my head as I’m reading, but there is one scene where Falco gets hit in the head with a saucepan. From then on out I dubbed him as Flynn Rider from Tangled. LOL But seriously, everything about their secret meetings and scandalous adventures blew me away and left me craving more.
If you are a fan of historical fiction, than I highly recommend this book to you. If you are just a fan of romance, then I highly recommend this one to you. Actually, if you are a fan of reading in general, I highly recommend Venom to YOU!