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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Darkness and passion in 1750's Venice.

Venice in the Moonlight by Elizabeth McKenna

This story had me with the first line! The image portrayed is wonderful! A surreal moment!
That moment captures with a totally restrained focus the helplessness and seething anger of Marietta Gatti, set against the background of a dysfunctional marriage and family. So much is weighted by so few words.
OK so I have just been to the Magritte exhibition at the MoMA, NYC and combining that with Dali, the picture of peas being not squashed but smashed by a silver spoon against the background of  imagined expensive plate is quite fascinating.
A despicable husband and an even more terrible mother-in-law have been the bane of Marietta's life for the past 5 years.
When released, or rather driven from that life, Marietta returns to Venice to track down her father, a renowned painter. He has never contacted her in all the years of her married isolation. There are many questions to be answered.   

En route to Venice from Verona, the public coach is involved in a mishap. Marietta and her travelling companions are rescued by Nico Foscari, scion of one of the primo families of Venice, with the reputation of a rake.
Once in Venice, Marietta encounters more heartbreak, dark mysteries and possible murder. 
We are introduced to persons of interest residing in Venice during this time, Casanova for one is playing a deep game, and then there is Consul Smith. What has Nico's father, Savio Foscari, to do these men? Even more of a conundrum.
Marietta is unwittingly caught up in frantic heretical practices by members of the leading houses of Venice. With their access to trade and wealth dwindling, these men are desperate to return Venice to her position of power by any and all means. 
Meanwhile, Marietta's resolve to reorder her life has Nico totally puzzled. Her seemingly bizarre actions have him rescuing her more than once.
As the paths of Marietta and Nico continue to cross, Marietta's attraction to the enigmatic rake grows. Nico is by no means immune. Whether their relationship will develop in friendship or love, or both, remains to be seen.

an author provided ARC in exchange for an impartial review

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