Book Review: From Venice with Love

Follow a mysterious love story throughout Europe in this captivating novel from Rosanna Ley

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I received a copy of From Venice with Love* for review purposes

When Joanna’s husband confesses to having an affair, she packs her bags and heads back to her childhood home, Mulberry Cottage Farm in Dorset. Her sister Harriet lives there with their elderly mother, and she’s been harbouring a simmering resentment for the younger sister who escaped the responsibilities of farm and family to work as a travel journal.

Joanna discovers a bundle of letters written by Emmy, an artist in the early 20th century,to her lover Rufus. Fascinated by the love story enclosed in their pages, Joanna travels to Venice, Lisbon and Prague to try and discover who Emmy and Rufus were, and what became of the lovers.

Meanwhile, back in Dorset, Harriet is trying to discover who she really is, apart from a loyal daughter and farmer. She’s trying to rekindle her rocky relationship with her sister, and also has the added worry of a prowler who she keeps on seeing around her home and in the local area.

With Love from Venice* is a tale of love on different levels. Joanna is keen to learn more about the love between Emmy and Rufus, and in doing so she also learns more about her feelings about her own marriage. Harriet is on a painful journey to learn to love herself, to forgive her own faults and those she sees in her sister and mother

There’s also a third strand to the story. Nicholas buys the travel brochure that Joanna writes about Venice, and follows her walking tour of the city’s bridges. They start an email correspondence that grows into a kind of friendship, and this helps Nicholas to heal after the break up of his own marriage.

But With Love from Venice* also has an element of mystery that will keep you hooked right up to the end. Not only the mystery of who Emmy and Rufus really were, and the mystery of Harriet’s prowler, but also the strange visions that both Joanna and Nicholas see as they journey across Europe.

Rosanna Ley cleverly weaves all of these different elements into a book that will keep you guessing right up to its very last pages.

This is quite a slow burning novel, and I have to admit that I didn’t particularly like Harriet for much of the first half of the book. But it’s worth sticking with it, because the lyrical prose and intriguing plotlines build towards a very captivating conclusion.

The blurb:

With her marriage in danger of falling apart, Joanna returns home to the beautiful but dilapidated Mulberry Farm Cottage in rural Dorset, where her sister Harriet is struggling to keep the Farm afloat and cope with their eccentric mother.

When Joanna discovers a bundle of love letters in the attic, written by a watercolourist named Emmy, she is intrigued and sets out to discover Emmy’s true story. Emmy’s letters take Joanna to the picturesque alleyways and bridges of Lisbon, Prague, and the most romantic place of all: Venice – where a whole new magical world seems to unfold in front of her.

Meanwhile, back at Mulberry Farm Cottage, a mysterious prowler adds to Harriet’s problems and interrupts her search for a perfect partner. Will she ever find true love? Where will Emmy’s mesmerising pathway lead? And more importantly, will Joanna and Harriet be able to rescue the cottage and finally be able to re-discover their sisterly bond?

A captivating story of love and mystery throughout the years: 7.5/10

From Venice with Love* is available in hardback, paperback and Kindle format, published by Quercus books

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