Thursday, September 3, 2009

Review: The Treasures of Venice

Summary: When American librarian Samantha Lewis and Irish rogue Keirnan Fitzgerald set off to find priceless jewels, they become embroiled in a 500-year-old love story that eerily prefigures their own... In 15th century Venice, beautiful and wealthy Serafina falls in love with Nino, a young Florentine sculptor. They decide to flee to Padua, and to fund the trip, Nino copies a set of jewels that then disappear. In modern-day Venice, Keirnan needs Samantha's help to locate the jewels so he can pay his sister's ransom. Samantha must decide whether the man she's so drawn to is her soul mate from a previous life...or are they merely pawns in a relentless quest for a priceless treasure? -- Sourcebooks Casablanca

I am not usually a reader of Romantic Suspense books, but I thought THE TREASURES OF VENICE by Loucinda McGary sounded intriguing. I enjoy suspense novels and I love reading books that take place in Italy, so I put my notions about romance books aside and dug in. I have to say that I really enjoyed THE TREASURES OF VENICE. I liked the characters and the setting; and I definitely appreciated the suspenseful story! And I will admit that the romance aspect was kind of sweet.

I wasn't surprised that I enjoyed the mystery and suspense parts of this book. The mystery kept my interest right up to the very end, and I thought the author wove a very interesting (and exciting) tale. The author incorporated a few surprises into the story and kept me guessing. I especially appreciated how the book went back and forth between the present and 1485. I found that I enjoyed both time periods equally well, and I really liked how the author tied the stories together.

Another thing I enjoyed about this novel were the characters. I guess that's a really good thing when you are writing a novel with a romance storyline, right? Poor Sam was visiting Italy on what was supposed to be her honeymoon -- her fiance dumped her right before the wedding -- when she was approached by a stranger in a cafe. She didn't quite know what to make of this strange man (Kiernan) but she goes along with his crazy story because she sensed that he was being honest. They spend lots of time running from the police as well as chasing down Kiernan's sister's kidnappers, and they discover that they falling in love with each other. I definitely liked Sam and Kiernan and could definitely understand their attraction for each other.

Besides having mystery, suspense, and romance, this book also contained a little bit of the supernatural. Sam kept experiencing moments of deva-ju and felt as if there were things familiar about Venice and Kiernan. The book alluded to possible reincarnation but left it somewhat open to interpretation by the reader.

I am dying to go to Italy but it's not the right time in my life to do that; so in the meantime, I will read as lots of books that take place in Italy and live vicariously through the characters. I thought the author did a good job of bringing Italy alive and especially Venice; and I thought Ms. McGary's descriptions of the canals and the various churches allowed me to clearly visualize the city. I have to say that I think Venice does embody romance so it was the perfect place to set this novel!

I would be remiss without mentioning the romance part of THE TREASURES OF VENICE because it was most definitely a Romantic Suspense novel. I hesitate to read romance books because I find that I don't always enjoy them. Often times, I think that the romances are so over-the-top and even corny -- they can actually get in the way of the storyline. I didn't think that was the case in this novel. I certainly liked the characters and I definitely wanted them to be together. I think Ms. McGary did a great job of building the tension and romance between Sam and Kiernan, and their relationship most definitely enhanced the story without getting in the way of it.

If you are a fan of Romantic Suspense novels or books that take place in Italy, then I think you're really going to enjoy THE TREASURES OF VENICE. Make sure you come back tomorrow because Ms. McGary will be stopping by with a guest post.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book.

9 comments:

Beth Kephart said...

You have just broadened my world; I had no idea that there was a category known as suspense romance (romance suspense?). Venice is one of my favorite places in the whole world. I hope, hope, hope that you can get there soon.

Meghan said...

I'm glad you liked this book too! I don't often read romantic suspense because I don't like suspense and I find it consumes the romance, but this book was nicely balanced. I want to go to Italy too, but it will be a few years for me as well.

Beth F said...

After reading Meghan's review and now yours, I know this is going to be a great book for me.

bermudaonion said...

I don't mind a little romance in my stories and this does sound like a good story. I just wish they hadn't put the shirtless guy on the cover!

Serena said...

I'm with you I would love to visit Italy some day.

Sounds like a great book and I love books set in Europe...Italy especially.

Marie Burton said...

I enjoyed this one too, and I concur re: not usual reading romance. But this had enough historical to make it entertaining.

HODGEPODGESPV said...

i like this type of story and that it drew you in puts it higher on my list.. thanks for a great review.

softdrink said...

I read this one while I was in Italy...
http://www.fizzythoughts.com/2007/10/intermission-the-secret-book-of-grazia-dei-rossi.html
It's a bit long, but interesting.

carolsnotebook said...

I used to be embarrassed to carry a book with a shirtless man on the cover. No anymore. I love a good romantic suspense novel.