Venice in the Moonlight by Elizabeth McKenna
A Story of Vengeance, Forgiveness, and Love.
Considered useless by his cold-hearted father, Nico Foscari, eldest son of one of the founding families in Venice, hides his pain behind gambling, drinking and womanizing.
After her husband’s untimely demise, Marietta Gatti returns to her hometown of Venice in hopes of starting a new life and finding the happiness that was missing in her forced marriage.
When Fate throws them together, friendship begins to grow into love until Marietta learns a Foscari family secret that may have cost her father his life. Now, she must choose between vengeance, forgiveness, and love.
Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel takes you back to eighteenth century Carnival, where lovers meet discreetly, and masks make everyone equal.
About Elizabeth McKenna:
Elizabeth McKenna works as a full-time technical writer/editor for a large software company. Though her love of books reaches back to her childhood, she had never read romance novels until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts.
She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene). Elizabeth had always wanted to write fiction, so she combined her love of history, romance and a happy ending to write her debut novel Cera’s Place. Her short story, The Gypsy Casts a Spell, is available for free on her website http://elizabethmckenna.com/.
She hopes you will enjoy her latest novel, Venice in the Moonlight, as much as others have enjoyed her previous works.
Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.
Review by Mina’s Bookshelf:
Elizabeth McKenna’s choice of historical setting is where this novella scored high with me: a mid-eighteenth century Venice strikes as rather unusual in a sea of ‘look-alike’ Regency England HRN and, for this reason, her ‘clean’ romance shines in an interestingly different llight. Had the author further developed her original plot into a full-length novel, exploiting with more conviction the Enlightenment theme and the atmosphere of political changes that let to the French Revolution, Venice In The Moonlight could have been a remarkable historical thriller. The potential was there…although McKenna didn’t grab the opportunity, I praise her for the significant improvement of her work. Compared to Cera’s Place, her first self-publishhed novel, Venice In The Moonlight features a more organic development: character arcs unfold with credible and subtle nuances, the romance builds at a fluid and natural pace. The language sounds consistent with the time period, exception made for a few ‘modern’ flaws, but, overall, McKenna’s penmanship is pristine and eloquent, her voice humming with genuine emotional vibes.
Marietta Gatti never imagined she would be a widow at twenty. Daughter of a talented but impoverished painter, she had forcefully entered marriage with a philandering and much older husband, mislead by the illusion that an ill-matched union could ultimately be better than starvation. Dario Gatti’s lecherous behavior and his family’s cold-heartedness were the price Marietta had to pay for her financial security. At least, his illecit affairs had kept him (and his violent manners) out of her bed most of the nights. With her husband dead prematurely, though, her future looks grim. Cast off by her in-laws, homeless and penniless, Marietta heads back to her paternal home in Venice, just to find out that her father had died weeks before in unclear circumstances.
With the aid of disguises (the Carnival season with its air of secrecy is at its peak in Venice), Marietta sets off to investigate the suspicious death of her father and her leads will take her face to face with one of the wealthiest Venetian families and its secret political agenda. Savio Foscari, founding ruler of Venice, is too powerful an enemy to take on, but Marietta’s quest for justice won’t stop her from risking her life and even the possibility of a new love. Fate just isn’t on her side…the man she has set her heart on is Nico Foscari, son of that same Savio Foscari who may be responsible for her father’s death. Nico is a charming rake, a spoiled and bored aristocrat, but unlike her unfaithful husband, he doesn’t use wine and women for his own pleasure as much as to mask his pain and lack of self-worth: blind since a young age, his promising world of a brilliant political career had become a sea of cloudy objects. Could Nico be involved in his father’s conspiracy, despite his physical disability?
I particularly appreciated the way the author heightened the historical characterization by use of cultural references to landmarks and iconic figures of 1750s Venice (Casanova, Tiepolo, Voltaire). The romantic treatment was graceful and stripped of any graphic sensuality, but none-the-less heady and captivating.