NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Venetian Bargain by Marina Fiorato

4.0 out of 5 stars -- Intrigue, danger, romance and THE PLAGUE...

A very entertaining historical fiction novel set in 1570s Constantinople and Venice that brought out the researcher in me! There's nothing I love as much as a book that makes me want to investigate details of a time and place and this one definitely does that!

The synopsis, perfectly described in the product details, tells the story of a girl from the East meeting a boy from the West. They are different in every way -- culture, religion, medical training, social standing -- but when forced to work together to stop Venice's devatasting Black Death, they find friendship and respect that grows into forbidden love.

The best part of the narrative involves the details of each city and the vivid descriptions made me feel able to see all the beautiful buildings and scenery. I could almost smell the air, taste the food, and feel the veil and the mask worn to provide protection from the miasma that surrounded the people. I love a book with any type of medical history and that both Feyra and Annibale were trained doctors during this epidemic made me reread pages again and again to compare what is known now to what was believed in the 1570s. I can't get enough of that!

The characters a reader expects and loves were all there -- in their roles of good and evil, but there is a unique perspective here with the voice of Feyra, an Ottoman in a strange world that she fears even though she is half-Venetian. I enjoyed exploring Constantinople, Venice, and the island of Lazzaretto Novo. The additional details about the building of a church, commissioned by the Doge to make a plea to heaven to stop The Plague, were fascinating as was the inclusion of Andrea Palladio as the architect who imagined the fantastic Redentore that still has millions of visitors to this day. Everything about this book made me want to travel to these cities and see them for myself.

The only weak spots for me were the romance and the sort of unbelievable ending of this otherwise very compelling tale, but I pushed through and enjoyed it very much nevertheless. I'd highly recommend this to fans of this era and setting and my next read happens to be a book set just a few years later in Venice and is about gondola builders. Enjoy!

Please send recommendations of any other historical fiction novels set in this time period in Venice or Ottoman Empire.

Amazon Vine ARC. 

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