Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Book Haul ft. Marina Fiorato


So, I bought some books. My TBR shelf was looking a bit sparse so I thought I'd treat myself to a few new reads, in particular,  the novels of Marina Fiorato. I read The Double Life of Mistress Kit Kavannah last year and loved it, and since then I've been meaning to try out some more of her work. I'm keen to get to all of these soon because they all sound like great reads. I was also recently sent S.T.A.G.S by M. A. Bennett for review which I later found out is a pseudonym of Marina Fiorato and what re-sparked my interest in reading some more of her work. S.T.A.G.S is a brilliant YA thriller and my review is up on The Bookbag if you want to know more about it.

Anyway, on with the books:


THE BOTTICELLI SECRET (2010)
Hodder Books • 514 pages

An irrepressible young woman in 15th-century Italy must flee for her life after stumbling upon a deadly secret when she serves as a model for Botticelli... When part-time model and full-time prostitute Luciana Vetra is asked by one of her most exalted clients to pose for a painter friend, she doesn't mind serving as the model for the central figure of Flora in Sandro Botticelli's masterpiece "Primavera." But when the artist dismisses her without payment, Luciana impulsively steals an unfinished version of the painting--only to find that someone is ready to kill her to get it back. 

Fourteenth-century Italy was a rich and sumptuous era and one I'm always keen to read more of in historical novels.  Kate Quinn's The Borgia Chronicles sparked my interest in this particular place in history and The Botticelli Secret sounds like a lot of fun. A story about centred around art, mystery, and possibly murder? Count me in. It's a chunker of a book but if the premise is anything to live up to then I'll fly through it.




THE DAUGHTER OF SIENA (2011)
John Murray Publishers • 387 pages

Amid the intrigue and danger of 18th-century Italy, a young woman becomes embroiled in romance and treachery with a rider in the Palio, the breath-taking horse race set in Siena.... It's 1729, and the Palio, a white-knuckle horse race, is soon to be held in the heart of the peerless Tuscan city of Siena. But the beauty and pageantry masks the deadly rivalry that exists among the city's districts. Each ward, represented by an animal symbol, puts forth a rider to claim the winner's banner, but the contest turns citizens into tribes and men into beasts--and beautiful, headstrong, young Pia Tolomei is in love with a rider of an opposing ward, an outsider who threatens the shaky balance of intrigue and influence that rules the land.

The eighteenth-century is another historical era I'm keen to read more of, although to be honest, any historical novel set pre-1800 instantly grabs my attention. This one definitely sounds like more a romance which I don't usually go for, but the plot sounds different to any other historical novel I've read (a story centred around a horse race?). I think I'll save this one for when I'm feeling a bit soft at heart and in the mood for some love.



THE VENETIAN CONTRACT (2012)

John Murray Publishers • 407 pages

1576. Five years after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto, a ship steals unnoticed into Venice bearing a deadly cargo. A man more dead than alive disembarks and staggers into Piazza San Marco. He brings a gift to Venice from Constantinople. Within days the city is infected with bubonic plague—and the Turkish Sultan has his revenge. But the ship also holds a secret stowaway—Feyra, a young and beautiful harem doctor fleeing a future as the Sultan's concubine. Only her wits and medical knowledge keep her alive as the plague ravages Venice.

Out of all three of the books in the haul, I think this is the one I have my eye on most at the moment. A story woven in to sixteenth-century Venice full of adventure, mystery, and a woman ahead of her time are all the things I look for in a historical novel. This has the potential to be amazing and I only hope it lives up to my expectations! The Venetian Contract is a high contender for being my next historical read.


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I don’t think three books is bad for a book haul. I’ve been tempted to buy a few more over the last month but I’ve held back and not let my TBR shelf become too crowded. Let’s see how I hold out throughout September…


Until next time, happy reading!

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