The Treasures of Venice
Sam Lewis was supposed to be on her honeymoon, and when her fiancé broke things off at the last minute, she decided to go to Italy anyway. While on tour in Venice, a handsome Irishman approaches her, pretending to know her. She plays along, and soon discovers herself involved in a search for a historical artifact. Kiernan Fitzgerald’s sister, a historian searching for the lost Jewels of Madonna, was kidnapped when she got close to finding them. Her kidnappers demanded the Jewels as ransom, and Kiernan is on a quest to find the Renaissance-era jewels and get his sister’s life back. What he didn’t expect, though, was the attraction that blooms between Sam and himself.
Meanwhile, we take trips back to 1485, to the time when Serrafina Lombardo, the daughter of a respected family and betrothed to her deceased sister’s husband, meets and falls in love with a sculptor named Nino. In their quest to be together, they must steal her family’s jewels, and trust some close friends to help them escape – or she will be ruined, and he will be killed.
I really liked both Kiernan and Sam, though I did have to push aside my inclination to label them as TSTL. They’re both typical suspense characters, involved in something way out of their league but they insist on keeping the police uninvolved. I rolled my eyes at them a few times, but for the most part they were such realistic, likeable characters, it didn’t bother me. Though the book takes place over the span of a few days, the author manages to instill a sense of calm and pacing to their lives and growing love. The story was fast-paced, but their romance felt real and developed naturally.
The story wasn’t perfect; there were some missteps in the suspense plot line, like some logical loopholes or plot twists that just didn’t quite make sense. There was also a mirroring of Serrafina and Nino, and Sam and Kiernan that went a bit farther than it needed to go, thus losing its effect. However, the plot flowed well from one story to the other, and I thought both characters were just very real, and Kiernan showed more physical weakness than we usually see with a hero — he was actually sick and injured, and affected by these things, instead of the usual macho fight through the pain. This sounds like criticism, but it’s actually praise. It just made him more human.
Treasures of Venice is a fun, suspenseful trip through Venice. Though it’s not perfect, I’d recommend it to those who enjoy those stories that feature suspense jaunts in Europe – and I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t like those.