Friday 14 December 2012

349. Venom by Fiona Paul

Venom by Fiona Paul
Published December 2012 Harper Collins

From the publisher:
Beauty, romance, murder... A novel as stunning and seductive as Renaissance Venice itself. Cassandra Caravello is part of Venice’s wealthy elite. Her world is one of fabulous gowns, society parties and privilege, yet she longs for something more. While her fiancĂ© is away studying in Paris, she has a chance meeting with an artist called Falco. He is attractive, audacious...and highly unsuitable. When Cass stumbles upon the body of a murdered woman - with a bloody X carved across her heart - she’s drawn into a dangerous world of secret societies, courtesans and killers. Falco is quick to offer his assistance, but then another body is found and Cass starts receiving death threats... Is Falco more involved than she imagined? And will she be able to stay true to her fiancĂ©, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for someone she’s not even sure she can trust?

I am not a girly girl by any stretch, but I just love the dress on the cover of this book!  Again, I know not a good way to select my reading material, but that’s why I picked this one up.  This is a novel set in the Renaissance Venice, basically the story of a wealthy young girl, and a poor apprentice artist who should never have met, let alone fall in love, throw in a killer who is carving up women and you have a book that’s hard to put down.

This is a world of the haves and have nots.  Cassandra Caravello is most definitely a have, she lives with her over protective Aunt on an isolated Island of San Domenico, her Aunts house sits adjacent to a cemetery.  She is closely watched over by her Aunt and the staff of the  house, Cassandra is engaged to be married and the hope is that she will curtail her ‘impossible ways’ and keep her out of trouble until the day of her nuptial arrives!

A chance meeting along a canal, and then again on a late night trip to the cemetery, Cassandra meets Falco, and she can’t get enough of the thrill and excitement being with him brings.  The two of them stumble across a dead body, and find themselves on the trail of what appears to be a brutal killer.  Cass and Falco find a dead courtesan with an X carved across her heart, her body in a crypt where Cass's friend should have been laid to rest, but is missing,  and later a dead servant is found floating in the canal with the same X marking.

Most of the action in this book takes place at night and in the early hours of the morning, as this is when Cass manages to sneak out,  because of this we get to see a bit of the seedy side to Venice.  Cass, with Falco’s encouragement does things she would never dream of, such as dressing as a courtesan herself and visiting a few of the ‘houses’ to try and gather information, they attend a masked ball, in disguise, and Cass even spends the night (just sleeping) with Falco in his studio.  All of this excitement mixed with her growing feelings for Cass make her begin to question her impending marriage.  Be warned what Cass sees at the 'houses' is at one point described in some detail, so be aware of the sexual content,

As I was reading this book I had my suspicions about what might be going on, there were some clues along the way.  This story is set in a time when the medical profession still used leeching to fix a body overloaded with blood and black bile, and a visit to the salt baths could cure all manner of ills, and I suspect that the missing body had something to do with science and medicine.   As the story unfolds we learn that perhaps the missing body and the murders are not connected, and though we learn who the murderer is,  the reason behind the missing body has only just started coming to light.  There is a book 2 on the horizon, so I am sure that will be revealed in time.

Who will like this book: Girls age 15+
Read it if you like: Stravaganza Series by Mary Hoffman

No comments:

Post a Comment