With the gorgeous setting of 18th Venice during the mysterious season of Carnevale, the story features a secret society, murder, suspense, and a love story. Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel, Venice in the Moonlight, was an enjoyable short read (it’s only 186 pages). But perhaps it was too short…the conflicts were well developed but were resolved too quickly, in my opinion. There wasn’t much depth to the resolutions , which left me wanting for more explanation.
The story follows young Marietta – a widow at the age of 20 – who spent 5 years of her young life married to a horrible husband and an even worse mother-in-law. After her husband’s sudden death, she was banished from the family home in Verona and sent back to her hometown of Venice. She hoped to make amends with her widowed father who had married her off to this horrid family, only to find out that her father had died a few months earlier. Marietta had been angry at her father for 5 years, trying to figure out why he had chosen to marry her into the horrible Gatti family. But, as she finds out more and more about her father’s life during those 5 estranged years, she comes to realize that he only did what he felt was best for her and that he still loved her so much. As she delves into the circumstances leading up to her father’s “accidental” death, she discovers that someone had been out to get him. But why? Her sleuthing into Venice’s dark corners puts her in danger herself. Someone doesn’t want her to uncover some dark secrets and Marietta finds herself alone, not knowing whom she can trust.
Enter the love story (which, by the way, I ended up enjoying the most out of the story). During her “exile” from Verona, she had been rescued by the handsome Nico when her carriage had gotten stuck in mud. After arriving in Venice, she kept running into this handsome man. At first, she didn’t trust him – he seemed to be a womanizer and a cad -just like her late husband had been. She didn’t want to give her heart to someone just to have him use her and then discard her when he tired of her. So she played it safe and pursued a strictly business relationship with him, trying to use his influence to discover more about her father’s death. Time passed, and things changed…
All in all, the book was entertaining and I would recommend it for a quick read. The setting was great and the author described 18th century Venice beautifully – down to the masks worn during the Carnevale season. I just wish that the conflict resolutions weren’t dismissed so easily. It seemed that the grave dangers the characters found themselves in, and which had been building up throughout the story, were resolved within moments.
Please enjoy this short interview with Elizabeth McKenna…
- How did you do research for your book?
Years ago, I had traveled to Italy and fell in love with it. When I decided to use Venice as a setting, I hauled out my photo album to refresh my memory. I also read the book, A Venetian Affair by Andrea di Robilant, which is a true love story set in the 18th century. It helped me with historical details. I also, of course, relied on the internet. I found a copy of Casanova’s memoirs online, which was extremely interesting.
- How long have you been writing?
I was a journalism major, so I have been writing my whole adult life, but I didn’t start writing fiction until 2008.
- If you could go back in time, where would you go?
I wouldn’t go back too far. I like the Hollywood glamor of the late 1940s/50s. I love to watch the black and white movies where the woman has semi-curled hair and a beautiful evening gown.
- Favorite travel spot?
Anywhere in Europe. I love the architecture and the food. I am not a beach resort sort of person. I like to explore and learn things when I travel.
- What is your next project?
I am working on a contemporary romance titled, First Crush. Here is the description I have been using:
Remember your first crush? How your heart raced and your cheeks flushed whenever you saw him? Jessie Baxter does, and it’s happening all over again at her high school reunion. Lee Archer is The One Who Got Away. Despite Jessie’s best efforts, he only wanted to be friends. Fifteen years later, things are different. Lee wants more, but first Jessie has to unload some baggage—the biggest one being a psycho ex-husband. Will Jessie learn to trust again and make her first crush into her last love?
Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel will have you remembering the angst of high school, the grief of a failed relationship, and the happiness of true love.
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