My rating: 4 of 5 stars
THANK YOU TO NET GALLEY AND RANDOM HOUSE CHILDRENS BOOKS FOR ALLOWING ME TO REVIEW THIS BOOK AND GIVE MY HONEST OPINION
When 16-year-old Laura della Scala learns that her older sister, Beatrice, has drowned, she is given no time to grieve. Instead, Laura's father removes her from the convent where he forcibly sent her years earlier and orders her to marry Beatrice's fiancé, a repulsive old merchant named Vincenzo.
Panicked, Laura betrays a powerful man to earn her way into the Segreta, a shadowy society of women who deal in only one currency—secrets. The Segreta seems like the answer to Laura's prayers. The day after she joins their ranks, Vincenzo is publicly humiliated and conveniently exiled.
Soon, however, Laura begins to suspect that her sister's death was not a tragic accident but a cold-blooded murder—one that might involve the Segreta and the women she has come to trust
This book is a wonderfully beautiful read that tells the story of 16th century Venice and all the mystery, intrigue and suspense that comes with it. I've always wanted to go to Venice so for me the descriptions of the canals, the Palazzos and of course dresses and jewels were a delightful insight.
Laura is headstrong and from the beginning we understand that she's not entirely happy with her life in the convent. So when she's released she really comes into her own. Her character grows stronger and stronger as the book continues.
I loved the idea of a Secret Society for women however I would have liked to learn a little more about them. The concept of a Society brings ideas of initiations and gossip but we neither see much nor hear more about them except for the two head ladies.
The romance was a surprise. More of a traditional kind than heart pounding but it was sweet nonetheless.
As for the mystery and suspense, well, I couldn't put the book down. It gripped me right from the word, Go! with the families all mixed and intertwined with one another - except for the feud families which the story is based around.
The antagonist - well, I didn't see it coming. But I understood exactly how and why. This is a clever story that will have you guessing, and enjoying every minute of it.
The reason I haven't given this 5 stars is because I would have liked it to be longer (however it is being published by Puffin) and I didn't like the cover but I see another version is available now too.
All in all - a great read!
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