Review: Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1) - Fiona Paul

Release Date: December 6th, 2012
Published By:
Harper Collins
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: Beauty, romance, murder… A novel as stunning and seductive as Renaissance Venice itself.

Cassandra Caravello is part of Venice′s wealthy elite. Her world is one of fabulous gowns, society parties and privilege, yet she longs for something more. While her fiancé is away studying in Paris, she has a chance meeting with an artist called Falco. He is attractive, audacious…and highly unsuitable.

When Cass stumbles upon the body of a murdered woman - with a bloody X carved across her heart - she′s drawn into a dangerous world of secret societies, courtesans and killers. Falco is quick to offer his assistance, but then another body is found and Cass starts receiving death threats… Is Falco more involved than she imagined? And will she be able to stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for someone she′s not even sure she can trust?


Review: The first 30 or so pages were a bit tough for me to get through - this story’s opening scene takes place at a funeral, so no fun beginnings unfortunately, but I am so very glad I perservered through because this was an absolute gem of a book.

Historical fiction is a genre I’ve recently (in the last year or so) really started to enjoy. This story takes place in renaissance Italy. Cass is a wealthy upper class teenager. Her aunt has arranged a wedding between her and Luca, a boy she hasn’t even seen for the last three years, and doesn’t want to marry. Things become even more complicated when she bumps into (litterally) a young up and coming artist in Falco. Falco and Cass have nightly meetings trying to find a murderer on the loose. The same murderer who has threatened Cass, and they’re trying to find him before he finds her. And of course with all the time spent together, feelings start to develop between Cass and Falco.

I loved both aspects of this book, the crime/mystery aspect of this book as well as the love triangle that formed throughout this book. I really cared for the characters, and I developed a bit of a crush on Falco! His cheekyness and brazeness was something I found to be actually quite endearing, and I wanted Cass to just go for it as reserved (and engaged) as she was.

One thing I wished that we learnt more about was the actual Book of the Eternal Rose. At the start of each chapter is a quote from this mysterious book, and in the last 50 pages we hear a tiny mention of it, but ultimately, I am still none the wiser. I understand that the next book will undoubtedly answer many questions I have about this, but I just felt for a book that is the first in the “Secrets of the Eternal Rose” series, there could have been a little more explanation to at least leave me wanting more!

I loved the extravagant clothing, the description of the clothing, and the dresses as well as the different class types of the time. I appreciated the research that went into the background of this book with the little bits of Italian throughout and talk of time relevant items like chopines and courtisanes.

This book I might mention is not only beautiful on the cover itself, but the pages within are all stunning, with beautiful patterns on the inside pages towards the spine. Here’s a picture of what you can expect:

I very much enjoyed this book and am looking forward to finding out what happens next (thank you for the cliffhanger ending! lol).



What do you think?

  • Yes! The book is so pretty with the lace-like borders and curlicues in the chapter breaks. Unfortunately I DNF this book. I guess historical YA isn’t my thing but I’m glad to see you liked it.

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