Daniel H. (Oak Lawn, IL)
The clash of cultures – East versus West; the clash of religions – Christianity and early Islam; the clash of nascent philosophy of modern scientific rationalist Western medicine and traditional holistic Eastern medicine; all of this wrapped into an agonist-antagonist romance between the lead character, Feyra, and her counterpart, Dr. Annibale Cason, makes this novel a sweeping and interesting entry into Venice of the mid 1400s. I found the deus-ex-machina ending not terribly credible, but, overall, enjoyed the story.
Mary H. (Phoenix, AZ)
A mask of romance and intrigue.
Let's hear it for a woman as the heroine! This story centered around a very talented, intuitive and young woman named Feyra from Constantinople. Her journey is nothing short of remarkable, at times more fantastic than possible but nevertheless the story keeps you interested in the next challenge.
I especially enjoyed the historical references to the schemes utilized by the Venetian doctors who treated so many in need during the plague. Whether the character wears a mask or a veil, there is something to hide as well as something to reveal. Follow Feyra in her struggle to keep her faith while also trying to stay one step ahead of those who knew the Turks only as evil. She has so much to prove and the outcome may not be what you expect of a historical romance story.
Liz D. (Northbrook, IL)
The Venetian Bargain
The Venetian Bargain combines well-researched historical facts, descriptions that awake your senses and setting that all transport the reader to 1570's Venice. Fioratto's well-developed characters draw the reader into the plot that begins with a slow pace, accelerating to some high drama and romantic moments. I enjoyed this read.
Angela L. (Gypsum, CO)
Satisfying Historical Fiction
I enjoyed reading The Venetian Bargain. The book opens a window into life in Constantinople at the peak of the Ottoman Empire and swiftly moves on to Venice, Italy, with the main story chronicling the fight again the black plague. Abundant historical detail brings the cultures and period to life very satisfyingly.
I recommend The Venetian Bargain for readers of literary fiction and those with an interest in history.
Jane C. (Brighton, MI)
Great follow up to The Glassblower of Murano.
Great read. The book takes place in Venice in 1576 during the time of the plague. There is no answer to keeping safe from the plague and even though this is a love story, there are doctors trying to find answers. The history of this time is fascinating, with notes of the arts, medicine and love thrown in. The building of a great church by Palladio adds interest in that the Doge thinks the church will help glorify God and end the plague.
Sally H. (Geneva, OH)
The Venetian Bargain
Books like The Venetian Bargain are making historical fiction one of my favorite genres. This was the first book of Marina Fiorato's that I've read, and after finishing it I bought two of her other books and added one to our book club reading list. Her period detail is authentic, and the story itself is compelling if not spellbinding. There were some technical glitches which hopefully will be corrected in the final editing process, but even if not, I didn't find them deal-breakers. Overall, this was a very good read.
Carole A. (Denver, CO)
A Beach Bargain
Fiction based on historical fact is one of my favorite reads. The Venetian Bargain was not a favorite. The Glassblower of Murano, also by Fiorato, was a favorite and so I was excited to be receiving a copy of her latest book. Half way through I was no longer excited. To me, the writing was sometimes flat as well as noticeably contrived and unbelievable.
As a rule I find fiction based on fact to read as though the events did or could have happened and this was not the case, for me, in this book. The character of Feyra does remind us of how limited women who had education and talent were to ply their skills in days of old. So while Feyra was a strong feminine character the men seemed, as a whole, to be weak and underdeveloped. All this being said I would recommend recommend The Venetian Bargain as a book for travel to take you thru a plane ride or while lounging on the beach. I look forward to future books by Fiorato going back to the standard of The Glassblower of Murano.
All the previous being true it was a pleasant. Read.