Review: Belladonna (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #2) by Fiona Paul

July 11, 2013 Book Review, Young Adult 34 ★★★★★

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.

BelladonnaBelladonna by Fiona Paul
Series: Secrets of the Eternal Rose #2
Published by Philomel on July 16th 2013
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Won
Buy the Book
In Renaissance Italy, love, lust, intrigue and secret societies converge to stunning results!

In the second in the stunning Secrets of the Eternal Rose series, Cassandra Caravello is trying to forget Falco, the wild artist who ran off with her heart, as she grows closer to her strong, steady fiancé, Luca. But Luca seems to have his own secrets. When he’s arrested by soldiers in the middle of the night, Cass’s life is once again thrown into chaos. She must save Luca, and that means finding the Book of the Eternal Rose—the only evidence that will prove he’s innocent.

So begins her journey to Florence, a city haunted by whispers of vampirism, secret soirees and clandestine meetings of the Order of the Eternal Rose. And home to Falco, who is working for the Order’s eerily stunning leader, the Belladonna herself.

Can Cass trust her heart to lead her to the truth this time?
Nothing is as it seems in this seductive thriller, where the truth may be the deadliest poison of all.

Venom was was one of my favorite reads last year so I was so incredibly excited for this sequel. Once again, Fiona Paul managed to hypnotize me with beautiful writing and a seductive story!

Our beloved Cass still finds herself at a crossroads to her future. She has her fiancé Luca who loves her dearly and will do most anything for her, and then there is Falco the artist from a different world than her own but one filled with excitement and love. Luca finds himself in a bit of trouble and Cass embarks on a journey to hunt down information on the Order of the Eternal Rose and all of their secrets to help prove Luca’s innocence. Cass has found herself immersed in danger once again while she unravels mysteries behind this secret organization. But this time she is on her own, with only the help of her handmaid, Siena.

I completely loved the path the characters all took in this sequel. Cass really grows into her own person, so strong and so devoted to both the men in her life. Where Luca was missing for much of Venom, we get to learn more about the man he is in Belladonna. He was very much a focal point of the novel in many ways. Fiona Paul sure is making this love triangle difficult for me. I absolutely adored Falco in Venom. He was charming and mischievous, and regrettably missing for quite a bit of this sequel. But when he finally showed up, he lit up my face much like his presence lights up a room. Both men were actually missing for quite a bit and though I missed them at times and craved their presence, it took absolutely nothing away from my reading experience. I was so immersed in Cass and everything she was discovering, not to mention some new characters who enter the fray, most importantly of which is Belladonna. At the heart of the Eternal Rose group, Belladonna creeped me out with her perfect preservation and self-obsession. But she was so utterly fascinating.

Sometimes I wonder if Fiona Paul has somehow discovered time travel, transporting herself back in time because the details are just so rich. But never overpowering. I am so in awe of her writing and knowledge of the time period. The way she wove interesting facts and myths of the era into the story and the mysteries of the Order of the Eternal Rose was incredibly bewitching and hard to put down. The ending was captivating with a few surprises thrown in, one of which left my jaw on the floor. I am in desperate need of that final book, Starling, to see how she wraps everything up and just what will happen with my beloved characters. I hope my heart can take it!

Her situation was hopeless: betrothed to one man, wildly in love with another.
Check back on July 15th for my stop on the Belladonna Blog Tour!

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

34 Responses to “Review: Belladonna (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #2) by Fiona Paul”

  1. Lauren Elizabeth

    “Sometimes I wonder if Fiona Paul has somehow discovered time travel, transporting herself back in time because the details are just so rich.” <--- YES, this is exactly how I felt about Venom! I'm reading Belladonna now and loving it so far. I'm thrilled to see it's a five star read for you. Can't wait to get back into it!

  2. Tanja - Tanychy

    I can’t believe that this is the sequel to Venom, I mean the covers don’t match. Anyhow I haven’t read the first book and I hope I’ll. This sounds like a great sequel and I’m so happy to see that you enjoyed. Great review 🙂

  3. Becca

    OMG, that’s it, I HAVE to read this series — so many bloggers have said SOOOO many good things about Fiona Paul. I need to get on it. I have Venom, but I haven’t started it yet, but now I know I need to. Ahhh, must move it up in my reading list stat!

  4. starryeyedjen

    I agree…Fiona does such a wonderful job with her descriptions…feels like you’re transported right back to Renaissance Italy! And I like how difficult this love triangle has gotten…I hope she makes the right decision in the end. 😛

  5. Lisa (Lost in Literature)

    I love seeing all of the rave reviews for this book! Sometimes I think I live under a rock, I swear. I had never heard of this series before seeing reviews for this one… and now I feel like I’m really missing out! This series sounds awesome!! Definitely one I’ll need to look into. Thanks for sharing a great review! 🙂

  6. Nick

    I really liked the first book and I’m so looking forward to this installment! Your review got me even more excited! Thank goodness, it comes out next week. I love that Cass has grown over the course of this series. I’m so curious about Luca. Although I fell in love with Falco in Venom, I’m excited to get to know more about Luca.
    I agree about Fiona Paul’s writing. I thought she did an incredible job with the setting in Venom and it’s good to know that this habit continues in this one.
    Anyways, beautiful review, Sara!

  7. Rachel

    I haven’t picked up this series but I do remember seeing reviews for Venom. Nice to hear the sequel is just as good and the first and that they’re we plot twists that keep you guessing. I’m not a fan of love triangles, so I don’t know this series would be for me. I think I’ll wait until the last book comes out to determine if I read this series. Wonderful review, Sara. 🙂

  8. Aman

    Gah! I still haven’t read this series, I was so excited to read Venom last year but then I just forgot about it until now. I’m so glad that you’re loving this series and even though I’m not a fan of love triangles, I love when they are done well. Great review, Sara!

  9. Ro Mejia


    Thank You for the great review!!! I have a thing for books with love triangles…they’re the best!!! Nail Biting. I will be adding this to my TBR!!!

    A Bookish Escape

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