This delicious second book takes us farther into the secrets these families are hiding behind the walls of the beautiful palazzos of the floating city. I was so caught up in the characters we met in Stealing Venice I couldn’t wait to see them get on with their lives—all of them are good people…well except that maniac Salvio Scortini…and even he feels he’s taking orders from God.
Bendewald is an exquisite story teller and here she takes her readers on a splashy vacation to Venice during the Acqua Alta. Where the first book was all hot early days of fall, we now weather the storms and high tides that enhance the mood of Venice on edge. Locals are taught with expectation waiting for Salvio’s body to surface, and tourists are bobbing in boats in front of the dark Scortini Palazzo hoping to catch a glimpse of his young wife who lives there all alone and whom no one sees except on her weekly visit to mass with her formidable mama and nonna.
The Veronas just want to get on with their lives now that they’ve survived being hunted through the calles and canals – but a secret is about to rip their lives and the Vatican apart.
Raphielli Scortini has survived almost being killed by her husband Salvio, she’s been the perfect victim, perfect Catholic, and the perfect daughter but now she’s going to get a life. She’s only twenty and all this pressure has made her paranoid, at least that’s what her friend Alphonso calls her feeling that she’s being followed. Now if the Mafia don can just keep her husband locked away forever she can start again.
I have to say that what impressed me the most about this novel was how place and culture oriented it was. As an American relatively ignorant of Venetian culture and geography, I feel that I was not only stimulated by a very compelling storyline but I was also educated in this unique part of the world; it’s geography, politics, history, social policies and culture being so remarkably different from what I am familiar with in America.
Additionally, the main character Raphielli Scortini is truly one of the most unique and memorable heroines ever devised. Bendewaldcould write a whole book on this fictional character. What a marvelous achievement.
Anna Bendewald is a romantic thriller mastermind, who will hook you with this story, compel you with these characters and enrapture you in this hauntingly beautifully geographical and religious environment.