The Treasures of Venice by Loucinda McGary*
This is a fun, escapist novel filled with romance, set in a great location. Not exactly literary genius, but it is enjoyable.
Samantha is sitting in a cafe on St. Mark's Square, when suddenly a handsome stranger walks up to her and acts like he knows her! Intrigued (didn't you ever hear curiosity killed the cat, Sam?), she follows him into the Doge's Palace and learns that the sexy Irishman is named Keirnan Fitzgerald. How... Irish! She also gets the sense that he's hiding from someone or someones unknown. Even though Sam knows better, her libido starts making noises with her mouth, and pretty soon she's showing him where she's staying.
Keirnan leaves and Sam thinks that's the end of their association, but the next night she finds him in her hotel room with a bullet wound! In short order, she discovers that Keirnan is searching for the Jewels of the Madonna, a legendary treasure, so that he can save his sister's life.
This book is old skool romantic suspense. In fact, the beginning is almost exactly like the beginning of a Mary Stewart novel I read when I was younger (can't remember which one--they tend to blend together). But that's mostly what I liked about this book. It feels comfortable and familiar, and you can just shut off your brain and enjoy the adventure and setting.
I got this book from Meghan at Medieval Bookworm (thank you, Meghan!), and she enjoyed it more than I did. For me, the story started to fall apart in the second half. I expected the stakes to go up a lot more than they did, and Keirnan to be involved in a much bigger, sketchier operation than he was, so the suspense started to seriously wane on my end. I also didn't buy Keirnan and Sam falling in love so quickly or so hard--but then, I skimmed through most of the historical sub-plot, just because it was actually sillier than the contemporary one, and that's what really set the stage for them to have a huge romantic connection.
Even with those drawbacks, however, I did enjoy the book and the setting. If you like old-fashioned romantic adventure or books set in Venice, this is a good bet.
Speaking of the setting, have I mentioned I LOVE Venice, and love books set in Venice? One of the things I really liked about the novel was that I'd been to most of the places mentioned. Check out my photo album on Flickr to see a few of the touristy spots featured in the book.
Meghan is also reviewing a book today that I sent her at Medieval Bookworm! Go to her site to see what books we swapped.
*Click on this link & buy because Mama wants a trip to Venice.
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