Monday, August 31, 2009

a review of "The Treasures of Venice"

The Treasures of Venice by Loucinda McGary (Sourcebooks, ISBN 978-1-4022-2670-0)

Now, if you are a regular reader of my reviews and you glance at that cover of the book there on the right that I am presently reviewing, it might seem a little unusual. No, never before have I reviewed a book with a shirtless man, 6 pack..8 pack, a whole case of beer..on display, on the cover. Yes, my dear reader, this books is a romance. A romantic suspense is how it is described, but nevertheless there is that shirtless hunk on the book cover, shouting romance novel.

Why then did I step out of my usual fare to read this book? Well, in the description, I noticed that one of the characters in the book and I share our full name. So, it seemed like a good
Well, happily, I can report that I enjoyed a lot more about this book than one person's name.

Samantha Lewis had expected that her tour of Italy would be with her new husband, but when her fiance sought comfort in the arms of another woman, she took her broken heart and her nonrefundable ticket on the group tour alone. Well, she was alone, that is, until a very handsome Irishman, with beautiful blue eyes, by the name of Kiernan Fitzgerald approaches her as she sits drinking a coffee at a cafe on a Venetian plaza and begs her to play along with the pretense that they know each other. He is being followed, something involving a women. Although it is totally out of character for the young American librarian, she feels oddly connected to this stranger and goes along, only to find herself drawn into a both a present day thriller and a 15th century love story.

Kiernan's sister has been kidnapped by a group of thieves who believe that in her research she has actually discovered the location of the long fabled Jewels of the Madonna. The story is that the jewels were stolen by a young artist named Nino to finance the escape of the woman he had fallen in love with, the lovely Serafina Lombardo, who was pledged by her family in an arranged marriage. Some believe it is just a legend, but Kiernan's sister believed she had proof of their actual existence and now it is up to her brother to find the jewels to exchange for his sister's life. And as we follow the dual storylines, we discover that there may be more that ties these two couples together than the search for the Jewels.

As I mentioned, I am not normally a reader of romance novels nor historical novel for that matter and yet happily in this book I found those aspects combined with a quite entertaining and believably written suspense story that held my attention throughout the book. Ms. McGary is able to intertwine the two stories, present day thriller and 15th century romance and mystery, both set with the intriguing city of Venice as a backdrop, and keep them both convincing.

Which is not to say it is a perfect book. I have mention several times before that I have little patience with characters that act stupidly, like wandering off in the dead of night alone or refusing to go to the police or accept help. It is a compliment to Ms. McGary's very good writing that the book was finished before I even noticed these issues, instead of shouting to the characters about them while I was reading, as sometimes happens. Also the whole supernatural connection was not something I bought into, but it was employed in a light-handed enough way that it did not become an issue for me. Rather, I just pulled along into the story, a story with a fast paced and very entertaining plot, very well written, with quite believable and likable characters.

I do just wish that fellow on the cover would just button his shirt up though. It may well sound elitist, but it is not a cover I would want people to see me reading in

If you want to check out a few more reviews...
The Burton Review
Wendy's Minding Spot

Available Sept. 1 From Amazon


  1. Haha! I generally don't read stories like this either, but I am going to grudgingly admit that it doesn't sound half bad. However, I would not be seen with it in public for sure!

  2. one I might consider on an e-reader...if I had such a thing. not an Evil Kindle...but a Sony, or a Asus, or a Plastic Logic..or I head Google has one in the works...

  3. Sometimes these books will surprise you!

    "It may well sound elitist, but it is not a cover I would want people to see me reading in" ~ several suggestions: 1. wear a trenchcoat, big slouchy hat and wrap around sunglasses 2. use the old brown paper bag made into a book cover trick 3. read strictly at home with just a flashlight and the draped pulled shut!

  4. 1. too hot
    2. keeps falling off
    3. Bingo!

  5. Yes, I was surprised to see that cover on your blog! I'm glad you were able to enjoy it, but I still don't think it's my kind of book.

  6. Kathy, you might be surprised.

    And remember, one of the characters and I share our first and last name. That has to count for something~

  7. Well I will be reading the book, I am making a collection of stories based in Venice. It's surprising hiow many thrillers and crime stories there are, I guess it's the spookey element of the shadowed Venice streets, nooks and niches.

  8. This sounds like one I would really enjoy. I used to be like you about not wanting to read books in public whose covers screamed romance. I've decided I just don't care anymore.

  9. I admire that you have the courage of your convictions.
    I don'

  10. Caite...I agree about the romance genre, and I had some of the same feelings and comments reading Susan Vaughan's Primal Obsession

    This one looks like I might have to cave and give it a look. Thanks for the fun review.


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