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 #2
Published by Philomel on July 16th 2013
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult
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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.