Release Day Review: The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen

Love and secrets collide in Venice during WWII in an enthralling novel of brief encounters and lasting romance by the New York Times bestselling author of The Tuscan Child and Above the Bay of Angels.

Caroline Grant is struggling to accept the end of her marriage when she receives an unexpected bequest. Her beloved great-aunt Lettie leaves her a sketchbook, three keys, and a final whisper…Venice. Caroline’s quest: to scatter Juliet “Lettie” Browning’s ashes in the city she loved and to unlock the mysteries stored away for more than sixty years.

It’s 1938 when art teacher Juliet Browning arrives in romantic Venice. For her students, it’s a wealth of history, art, and beauty. For Juliet, it’s poignant memories and a chance to reconnect with Leonardo Da Rossi, the man she loves whose future is already determined by his noble family. However star-crossed, nothing can come between them. Until the threat of war closes in on Venice and they’re forced to fight, survive, and protect a secret that will bind them forever.

Key by key, Lettie’s life of impossible love, loss, and courage unfolds. It’s one that Caroline can now make right again as her own journey of self-discovery begins.

**ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review**

Every now and then I pick up a Historical Fiction novel because I enjoy the setting and the emotional punch it delivers. It is not easy for an author to make the reader connect and care for two main characters who live in a different time period. I always enjoy seeing the pieces of the puzzle come together and show a complete picture. I love trying to predict what will happen next and how everything is connected. The Venice Sketchbook started really good and I loved the setting of the story. I thought the division between the two timelines was done well. I looked forward to seeing what happened to both Juliet in the past and Caroline in the present time.

However, when there are two timelines it can get a bit difficult to tell a complete story in detail. That was my biggest letdown in this book. I just didn't have enough time to fully connect to either main character. The stories felt rushed, and especially that of Caroline was over before it really begun and it felt unfinished. It was lacking depth. I needed more time to build a relationship with the characters and I unfortunately wasn't able to. I also didn't feel like the romances where genuine. I just didn't feel any real love between the main characters and their love interest. I liked the writing style of the author, and it definitely was very easy to read and had a great flow. It was also emotional at times and I appreciate the author being able to make me shed a couple of tears. I am curious about this author's other books, so I'll probably check them out.

About the Author

Rhys Bowen is the New York Times bestselling author of more than forty novels, including The Victory GardenThe Tuscan Child, and the World War II-based In Farleigh Field, the winner of the Left Coast Crime Award for Best Historical Mystery Novel and the Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel. Bowen’s work has won twenty honors to date, including multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. Her books have been translated into many languages, and she has fans around the world. A transplanted Brit, Bowen divides her time between California and Arizona.

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