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Sue Z. (Cornelius, NC)
The Ventian Bargain
For lovers of romantic historical fiction, it doesn't get much better than this. Author Marina Fiorato seamlessly joins a love story together with a history of Renaissance Venice in a time of peril. Her heroine, trained as a doctor, is caught up in a plot to introduce the plague into the city, an act of sixteenth century bio-terror. The story is played out against a backdrop of historical accuracy,which makes the author's love and knowledge of the history of Venice very apparent
Barbara E. (Rockville, MD)
The Venetian Bargain
I thoroughly enjoyed this work of historical fiction. The characters are well developed and the plot is thrilling. Fiorato deftly weaves historical characters into her fiction and her descriptions of Venice and the Plague were fascinating. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in 16th-century Venice, the BlackPlague, medicine during that age and the Ottoman Empire. It is dramatic, romantic, chilling and thrilling. Well-written and a great deal of fun.
Barbara C. (Fountain Hills, AZ)
The Venetian Bargain
I very much enjoyed reading this book. It was tightly written, with movie-star characters, fascinating historical setting and direct, plot driven narrative. The book has several themes cleverly intertwined. The rivalry between Turkey and Venice in the fifteenth century creates the background of the story, and the terrible plague which ravaged the area drives the plot. Feyra, the heroine, is a model for feminist activism as she stows away on her fathers ship from Constantinople, , gets to Venice, uses her wiles and knowledge of medieval medicines, and helps to stem the plague. Annibale, the handsome "plague doctor" wearing the cloak and mask of his profession, presents the perfect hero -dashing, dedicated, aloof, and finally succumbs to the beauty and intellegence of the heroine. Fine romance in a historical fiction novel.
Debbie-Lyn C. (Kitty Hawk, NC)
The Venetian Bargain
The device the author employs to define the chapters and the story - The Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse - is deftly used in conjunction with the events of the plot. Here again, historical information is interesting and cleverly written.
The only fault I found with the book is the rosy ending. It comes about so abruptly, cleanly and wrapped up, it seemed the author was tired of writing the book and decided to finish it off. I like happy endings, but after the devastating and dramatic force of the novel, the fairy tale ending sounded rather contrived.
I would recommend The Venetian Bargain to my book club. They enjoy reading historical fiction, and there is much to learn and discuss here. It was refreshing to read a book with romance, but without the prurient graphic paragraphs of so many of the recent novels
Wonderful, vivid descriptions! At some points I wanted to cringe from the smell and turn my eyes from the horrors portrayed. The reader feels right in the heart of Venice and Constantinople during the mid 1500's. Fascinating events of the plague, bitter feuds, poisoning, even dress and food make for a fast paced enlightening read.
Carol N. (Indian Springs Village, AL)
The Venetian Bargain
I love reading historical fiction and was eager to read about Venice. I was able to visualize the city perfectly based on the descriptions and story of the author. She was also able to bring alive a horrid time in history when the plague was taking the lives of so many - it was done with a delicate hand and not too graphic, yet you understood the seriousness and stealth of the disease. I do wish the author had spent a little more time on the interactions between the main characters and developed their relationship with each other more. It was my first book by this author but it won't be my last.
Sherilyn R. (Bountiful, UT)
Good But Not Great Historical Fiction
You need to know that I love historical fiction. When I find an author who blends both history and fiction into a well written novel I couldn't be happier.
Vivian H. (Winchester, VA)
Another Delightful Read by Marina Fiorato
Marina Fiorato's novel The Venetian Bargain is the first of her numerous historical novels I have read. She did a great job writing about history; Constantinople, Venice, the Plague, the architect Palladio and medical practices in the 16th century. What I found lacking was the fictional portion of this novel. The relationship between Freya and Annibale (two main characters in the story) was slow to develop and never explored sufficiently to be believable.
That being said would I read other novels by this author, yes indeed! She had a great sense of place, kept me interested and wanting to know more.
This is not great historical fiction but it is a good read.
I love historical fiction and stories that are set in Italy. Venice is a city that brings to mind glorious visions of Renaissance art and architecture, gondolas slipping effortlessly through the canals, the beauty of hand blown Murano glass, the power of the Doges, the revelry of Carnival, the lion of Saint Mark and the horses of the Basilica of San Marco as the symbols of the city, the trading center from which Marco Polo set off on his journey of the Silk Road.
The Venetian Bargain gives us a glimpse into this most fascinating of cities during the plague epidemic of 1576, which decimated the population. A young Turkish woman who served as physician to the ruler's mother, stows aboard a ship to avoid being forced into the Sultan's harem and finds herself caught in the midst of a plot by the Ottomans to destroy Venice by pestilence, war, famine and death. To avoid capture as an enemy of the state, she must hide. While in hiding she meets the architect, Andrea Palladio, who the Doge has commissioned to build a magnificent church with the hopes that the offering to God will save Venice from the plague. The story beautifully blends the flavors of east and west with religion, architecture, medicine, and material culture.
Fiorato's development of her primary characters illustrate how people with different beliefs and cultural backgrounds that at first see only an enemy, an infidel or kafir can find common ground and accept the humanity of a person -if they are willing to look. That is the gift of this book. There is teaching without preaching - mixed with a bit of romance and mystery. While there were some parts of the story that moved slowly, I enjoyed the book immensely and recommend it to those who appreciate well-researched historical fiction.