I love reading everything from fantasy to historical romances. On a constant quest for more books to read.
After her husband’s untimely demise, Marietta Gatti is banished from the family’s villa by her spiteful mother-in-law. She returns to her hometown of Venice and her only kin—a father she hasn’t spoken to since her forced marriage. Her hope of making amends is crushed when she learns she is too late, for he recently has died under suspicious circumstances. Grief-stricken, Marietta retraces her father’s last night only to discover someone may have wanted him dead—and she may be next. When the prime suspect turns out to be the father of the man she is falling in love with, Marietta risks her future happiness and her life to avenge the death of a man she once hated.
Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel takes you back to the days of eighteenth century Carnival, where lovers meet discreetly, and masks make everyone equal
The heroine Marietta is unhappily married to the womanizing and neglectful Dario Gatti who suddenly dies after eating bad meat
After his death she is summoned and told unceremoniously by her horrible mother in law to get out.She will get an yearly allowance but she is no longer a part of their family.
She was always hated by the Signora Gatti for not being good enough for her son and when she finds out the Signora has had all her paintings burned.Marietta says good riddance and leaves feeling she can finally be free.
She decides to return to Venice to make peace with her estranged father but on the way the carriage she is travelling in gets stuck in mud and she and the other passengers are left stranded. Luckily another carriage belonging nobleman Nico Foscari arrives and invites the passengers to his familys villa.
Marietta early on takes his measure and realize he is a bit of a rake and quite possibly a cad too. Albeit a charming and handsome one but still a rake who likes to throw around innuendos and try and discomfit her.And she then discovers that Nico is nearly blind and relies on his friend and former tutor to be his eyes (and sometimes his ears too)
He likes to use his disability to throw other people off their guard as most people assume he is totally blind and therefore helpless. He is bitter about his blindness since it means he is dependent on other people and not being able to do something worthwhile with his life he tries to fill his time with women wine and cards. His own father considers him a failure and embarrasment.
When Marietta finds out through Nico that her father has been dead for two months and it was stated to be a fatal accident. But something doesnt quite add up with this story and when she arrives in Venice and start to investigate her doubt about it being accidental grows. Could it be one of his noble patrons who had him murdered.
But this is Venice and asking too many questions can be dangerous so Marietta has to use her the wit she has at her disposal and even dress up in mens clothing to get inside these noblemens houses to find evidence.
And wherever she goes Nico Foscari seems to appear and delight in teasing her and take an interest what she is up to.
So what did I think of this book? Well...
The setting of 18th Century Venice makes this book stand out a bit from other historical romances but apart from including carnival in the plot and mentioning ridottos and some historical personages from that time I felt the potential of the setting was very underutilized.
The same thing with its two main characters who have could have been fleshed out more and would have benefited from a exploration of its characters motives and ambition.Its more or less spelled out by another character why the hero is such a devil may care. and often Nico appears very immature in comparision to Marietta.
I did like her character quite a bit but even she displayed a bit of whats the problem with the characterization in this book.for example after Marietta arrives in Venice she often forgets about her marriage that is supposed to have been unbearable unless the author have to bring it it up to explain the heroines reluctance to fall in love with the hero (or at least fall into his bed)
I felt that this book could have used some editing since sometimes the characters talk and act like genuone 18th Century people to suddenly go all modern on you.It was very jarring.
And the situation with the antagonist wrapped up too easily in my opinion and feels quite anticlimatic.Almost apologetic and "truly honestly we didnt mean it" I never got what they actually hoped to accomplish with their plan. It was all a bit vague and never got a proper conclusion.
Furthermore the historical character of Casanova who is one of Nicos close friends is nicknamed "Cas" by Nico and his character is also shoehorned into being a romantic interest of Nicos sister.. I am sorry but I wasnt really rooting for this and felt he could just have easily been edited out or replaced with an original character.
Monogamy? What is that? Some kind of bird?
So in conclusion this is a book that had much potential but falls short due to it being inconsistent. But in the end I cant say I hated it as there are some fun dialogue in it and I did care about what the heroine was going through.
Also it wasnt that expensive.