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Venom - Book Review

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Published January 8th 2013
Update February 2nd 2016
Venom has since been re-titled and released as Venomous Kiss. Its sequels are also in the process of getting new titles.

First-time author Fiona Paul has recently published her first piece which might be a big hit with Lady Julia Grey fans.

Paul's debut novel Venom is set in Renaissance-era Venice, when it was still known as the Serene Republic. The main character is Cassandra "Cass" Caravello, a young noblewoman betrothed to Luca da Peraga, who is studying law in France. A chance meeting with Falco, a young artist, leads her on a series of escapades that would make most modern feminists proud.

When a Jack the Ripper-style series of murders terrorises the city-state, Cass and Falco start their own investigation, one that leads her into the underbelly of Venetian society. She discovers the connection between artists and grave-robbers and the possibility that an influential foreigner may have a hand in those murders, not to mention the dark family secret her fiancÚ has been keeping from her, one that almost costs her her life and possibly ruin her upcoming nuptials.

Playing Miss Marple: Venetian noblewoman Cassandra Caravello goes undercover to investigate a series of Jack the Ripper style murders terrorising the city-state while carrying out a torrid affair with a young artist.

Like Deanna Raybourn's heroine Lady Julia Grey, Cass has no qualms about playing Miss Marple despite the personal risks, not to mention the potential damage to her reputation. Paul also explores the idea of choosing one's love versus an arranged marriage. Her depiction of the Renaissance period in Venice is greatly detailed. It is clear that Paul has done her (history) homework in the same manner as Raybourn. After all, it is well-documented research that makes a historical romance/thriller tick.

Venom is the first in the Secrets of the Eternal Rose series. The next book, Belladonna is slated for release in the middle of this year.
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