Stealing Venice: Book 1

“Keep your arms and legs in the gondola — this is one wild ride!”

These two families take ‘keeping up appearances’ to a whole new level! This is going to be the Summer Read of 2021. Forget slogging through pages and then chapters waiting for a set-up to pay off with some intrigue – We start right off racing to keep up with Giselle Verona, oops, Countess, but she doesn’t like people to use her title. We are quickly introduced to her Italian In-laws (oh Giselle’s French) and um, The Pope who is completely believable and Salvio Scortini, the man whose family line is so old they built Venice. Literally.

I’m not one for sappy romance, but I’m a sucker for real seduction and these characters deliver. No spoilers here so I won’t say which ones. I’m also a fan of dialogue, I hate when a writer tells me everything the characters are thinking. Let me hear them in their own voices. Well, Bendewald has a gift for dialogue so fresh and real that these outlandish people are forever in my psyche. Now, where do I get a passel of zany French pals to keep it real with?

Anyhow, I visited Anna Bendewald’s website as noted in the forward of the book and her character map was super helpful in making sure I had everyone straight because she hurls you through the story like she’s Robert Altman and Quentin Tarantino’s love child. Wait, they can’t have a baby together…well, you know what I mean.

This book is satisfying in a way that surprised me. I knew who the bad guy was, it was just written in such an intimate way when we were in his point of view that God help me, I didn’t put the Kindle down once in those sections. I couldn’t look away when I was looking through his eyes as he did everything he could to keep his city.

I see there’s a second book on the way and I’m glad I don’t need a passport for this european whirlwind.
Jennifer Bock Henry
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The two oldest families in Venice are intertwined and about to spiral into a battle to the death for the very future of the romantic city on the mysterious lagoon. A beautiful young artist is caught between them and may discover too late that she has brushed up against madness and murder.
Stealing Venice Character Map