Books for Younguns, Young Adults and the Young-at-Heart

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Review: Venom

For the holidays, I'm reviewing a book or series a day from December 1st through 24th.

Today's book is Venom by Fiona Paul, a local Central West End author.

Cassandra is growing up a ward of her aunt in Renaissance Venice when her childhood friend dies.  One night she visits her tomb and finds a stranger's body, the victim of a gruesome murder.  In her quest to find out who this women is and what happened to her friend's body, Cass crosses paths with Falco, a mysterious artist.  She is immediately drawn to him, but the attraction could risk everything, especially with her straight-laced fiance on the way back to town.  And there's also the fact that it looks like Falco might know more about the murder than he's let on.

This is historical mystery/romance done right.  The mystery is compelling and the romance isn't over-the-top. (Just enough to add intrigue and raise the stakes, not enough to be nauseating.)  But the real stars are Cass, the disenfranchised noblewoman chaffing at the role society has prescribed for her, and the city of Venice itself, which is illustrated in beautiful detail from the glamorous society events to the seedy underbelly.  All the characters are engaging and memorable and the plot will keep you guessing with some genuine moments of suspense.

This book is recommended for armchair travelers, fans of a strong heroine and those who like intelligent romance.

Venom is published by Philomel and retails for $17.99 (hardcover).  I read an advance readers copy from the publisher.  You can get your autographed copy at Left Bank Books today!

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