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Monday, April 19, 2021

Review: The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen

The Venice Sketchbook
by Rhys Bowen

Thank you Lake Union Publishing and TLC Book Tours for this copy.

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publish Date: April 13, 2021
412 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Love and secrets collide in Venice during WWII in an enthralling novel of brief encounters and lasting romance by the New York Times bestselling author of The Tuscan Child and Above the Bay of Angels.

Caroline Grant is struggling to accept the end of her marriage when she receives an unexpected bequest. Her beloved great-aunt Lettie leaves her a sketchbook, three keys, and a final whisper…Venice. Caroline’s quest: to scatter Juliet “Lettie” Browning’s ashes in the city she loved and to unlock the mysteries stored away for more than sixty years.

It’s 1938 when art teacher Juliet Browning arrives in romantic Venice. For her students, it’s a wealth of history, art, and beauty. For Juliet, it’s poignant memories and a chance to reconnect with Leonardo Da Rossi, the man she loves whose future is already determined by his noble family. However star-crossed, nothing can come between them. Until the threat of war closes in on Venice and they’re forced to fight, survive, and protect a secret that will bind them forever.

Key by key, Lettie’s life of impossible love, loss, and courage unfolds. It’s one that Caroline can now make right again as her own journey of self-discovery begins.

My Review:

I am thankful that Bookstagram has pointed me in the direction of finding love for historical fiction as this was a genre I typically stayed away from.  Even after, I stayed away from WWII hisfic because it's not a time period I'm particularly interested in... but in my quest to continue trying new things, I wanted to give this one a go for a couple of reasons: 1. I've only heard the best things about Bowen's books and 2. I absolutely LOVE Venice and would love to travel back again now that I'm older and can appreicate it more. So off to Venice I go via the years 1928 and 2001,

Unfortunately I think WWII hisfic just isn't for me.  As with most dual timelines, I prefer one over the other and I was definitely more invested in Juliet's story over Caroline's.  It just felt more compelling.  Bowen does an amazing job in making you feel like you are in Venice.  It was like being shown around by a tour guide with infinite facts of the city... and vast descriptions of the food (I'd give my left leg for a proper Venice feast).

The story itself is fine.  I think maybe some of the descriptives took over the story telling and while I didn't mind them, there's a reason why history was my least favorite subject in school.  Definitely tag yourself in if you like a good romance story during this time period.  I'm happy that I gave this a go.  The author is clearly extremely talented.  I think I'm just the wrong reader for this.


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