Review: Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1) by Fiona Paul

October 8, 2012 Book Review, Young Adult 23 ★★★★★

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.

VenomVenom by Fiona Paul
Series: Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1
Published by Philomel on October 30th 2012
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Won
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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!

About Fiona Paul

Fiona Paul lives in St. Louis, MO where she’s managed to persuade fancy universities to award her degrees in psychology and nursing. Between her studies, she traveled around five continents and spent time living in Thailand and South Korea (which is probably why she finds the idea of wearing shoes in the house a little weird).

In addition to writing, Fiona is somewhat obsessive about coffee, music, and adventure sports. Her future goals include swimming with great white sharks and writing a whole slew of novels, not necessarily in that order.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

23 Responses to “Review: Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1) by Fiona Paul”

  1. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    I LOVED FALCO!!!! I also really enjoyed this book and I am not a historical reader either. But Renaissance Venice was amazing! Loved the adventure and mystery to find the killer. Also totally swooned when he painted her and I was thinking Titanic as well! That ending though!!!!! I can’t wait for the next one. I want to run away with Falco!

  2. Carmen B.

    I’m so excited for this one! From your description Falco is exactly as I hoped he’d be ^^ Great review, I love the quote you chose 🙂

  3. Carina

    Oh wow, it sounds really great. I’ve definitely been curious about this one for a while, but after reading your review now, I want to read VENOM even more. Might have to get a copy soon, so I can check out its awesomeness myself. 😉 Thanks for sharing!

  4. Traci @ The Reading Geek

    Great review! I have this one next in my pile and now I’m even more excited to read this. I love historical fiction and woah swoon at that quote! <3 Also hah Flynn Rider I'm totally going to think of that too now when I read that scene.

  5. Ellen

    Wonderful review. I have seen this book around and have been wondering how it was. I typically don’t read a lot of historical fiction either, but have read a couple of books lately that have been great. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hannah

    Eeeeeeeep!! Holy cow. I am DYING for this book. Have been ALL Year. Hands down this is my MOST-ANTICIPATED read this year. I tried to hard to get an ARC but I didn’t so now i’m just counting down to the 30th when my pre-order comes!! ACK! SO glad to see another crazy awesome review for this one. I know I’m going to love it! Fabulous review! You made me even more excited Sara!
    <3 Inky@ Book Haven Extraordinaire

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