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The Venetian Mask – guest reviewer

April 10, 2008

A NovelI have surrounded myself with readers. This certainly isn’t a bad thing, especially when I’m in need of a book recommendation. Usually our conversations starts with “so, what are you reading now?” I get some of the most wonderful recommendations from my friends and am happy to share a good book I’ve found with them.

Having said that, recently when my girlfriend (who is also a member of my book club) stopped by, our conversation naturally turned to books. I had received The Venetian Mask by Rosalind Laker from Three Rivers Press not too long ago and gave it to Nicole to read. She even agreed to write a review for my blog, which you can see below. She has also started her own book blog, having written only a couple posts so far. It would be wonderful if you guys could stop by her blog Book Escape and give her a nice welcome and also let her know what you think makes a good book review on a book blog. Thanks!

Review by Nicole: I was at my friend Stephanie’s house the other day talking about books (something we do a lot). I told her I was on an historical fiction kick and she offered me her copy of The Venetian Mask by Rosalind Laker. The only catch was that I had to write a review of the book for her blog (I know, not much of a catch for a free book to read)!

After dropping my little ones off at school, setting the kitchen timer so I wouldn’t forget to pick them up from school on time and getting comfortable on my couch, I looked at the back cover of the book to get an idea about the content. The Venetian Mask takes place in Venice during the 18th century where two girls, Marietta and Elena, meet in a music school for orphaned girls. They become the best of friends but once they reach marrying age, they end up marrying archenemies. This book is the story of these two young women’s lives in Venice. Sounds pretty good, right?

As I started reading the first chapter though, my eyes grew heavy. The book just didn’t grab me like I hoped. I barely made it through the first chapter before dosing off. Next thing I know, the timer is going off and I have to get my kids from school. Clearly not a good start…

But, have no fear, once Marietta made it to Venice and started her life at the music school, I got hooked. I really liked Marietta’s character as well as her friend Elena. I felt all the characters in the book were very well described and I cared about the two girls. I hated the bad guys and loved the good ones.

Descriptions of Venice during Carnival and later during Bonaparte’s occupation were phenomenal. I could picture the colorful masks and costumes, the beautiful architecture and elegant parties. It was easy to be drawn into the scene.

The story included all the aspects of a good book – romance, intrigue, mystery, good versus evil, loyalty and friendship. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction, just make sure to get through the slow first chapter!  


11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 10, 2008 8:38 am

    It is so fun to have book-friends. Good job encouraging her for her own blog! I’m off to go welcome her… And good review!

  2. April 10, 2008 8:40 am

    It is so fun to have book-friends. Good job encouraging her for her own blog! I’m off to go welcome her… And good review!

  3. April 10, 2008 11:06 am

    Thank you for the review. This book sounds wonderful. I love anything historical. I too love getting book referrals from friends.

    I have a referral for you :>) I just finished a wonderful book called, Dancing Above The Waves, by Author Susan Walerstein. It’s a psychological suspense that is love, loss, deceit and intrigue all wrapped up in one. It’s a page turner. I hope you have a chance to pick it up and review on your blog.

    Thanks again and happy reading!

  4. April 10, 2008 1:35 pm

    This is the second time I hear about this book today. I think I’d like it so I’m putting it on my TBR list. Off to welcome Book Escape 🙂

  5. April 11, 2008 10:32 am

    Nice review on The Venetian Mask! I reviewed this on my website a little while ago. Its definitely as though Venice IS another character in this novel.

  6. April 11, 2008 11:37 am

    Oooo I like that cover. And the title. It’s so mysterious. That alone makes me want to read it. I may have to try to get my hands on a copy!

  7. April 12, 2008 2:41 pm

    Oh great another good book. Like I don’t have enough already. This one sounded so good to me that I am going to try to get it asap. I am moving to a new house next week so I will wait until I get there to order it.

    Yah most of my conversations start out with what are you reading. It is always funny to ask someone that and when they say they don’t read I am totally speechless. “what you don’t read?” Like there are any people out there that don’t love books.

  8. April 13, 2008 2:38 pm

    Mary – thanks for the recommedation. I will have to check it out!

  9. April 13, 2008 9:47 pm

    Isn’t that wonderful? I’m always reluctant to talk about my blog with non-bloggers because of the strange blank-eyed stares I sometimes get, but two of my coworkers recently started blogs as well. I think reading is contagious–my husband who NEVER reads has been a reading fool all weekend. I’ve been wanting to take a picture, but I don’t think I could get away with it. 🙂

    Anyway, sounds like an intriguing book!

  10. April 13, 2008 9:54 pm

    Trish – yeah, I don’t very often tell people about my book blog, since I really write it for myself anyway. One of the other women in my book club happened to google some discussion questions for a book she was reading and actually came upon this blog. She couldn’t believe it when she recognized the picture of my daughter on it! Thank goodness I haden’t bad-mouthed my book club!

  11. April 15, 2008 9:01 am

    Your first review, Nicole? If so, awesome start! You certainly hit all the high notes—premise, good parts, bad parts. I’ll have to go look at your blog. 🙂

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