The shadows of Venice have long inspired writers—from Henry James and Thomas Mann to Daphne DuMaurier and Ian McEwan. Now, its Megan Chance’s turn, as the acclaimed novelist takes readers through the alleys and canals of this ageless and mysterious city in her compelling new book, The Visitant: A Venetian Ghost Story (Lake Union Publishing; September 22, 2015). Part haunted tale, part love story, part mystery, this riveting historical novel explores the truth behind a terrifying reality, as a young American woman, immersed in a strange foreign culture, encounters a world beyond her wildest imaginings. Buried secrets of a tragic past converge, threatening to destroy not just her hopes of redemption, but her very life.
Set in 1884, The Visitant paints an unforgettable portrait of a decaying city and the secrets that lurk in its dark, crumbling corners. Elena Spira has arrived there to take up the duties of nurse to a young epileptic man who has descended to the depths both physically and psychologically. Samuel Farber wants none of Elena’s help as he wallows in a laudanum-triggered haze of hallucinations. Samuel speaks of visits from a spirit, seemingly wild claims that Elena first rejects as drug-fueled. But, the truth is far more sinister. When Samuel’s best friend and host, Nero Basilio, arrives, Elena finds herself drawn to this charming man as he shows her the hidden delights of Venice. But there are dark forces at play—forces that Elena cannot begin to comprehend. Casa Basilio possesses a tragic history, and a ghost whose presence may be driving Samuel to madness.
The Visitant finds Megan Chance working at the peak of her storytelling powers.
“Chance’s Venice is glittering, mysterious, sophisticated…” –The Seattle Times on Inamorata
“…provocative and haunting. Chance’s quietly powerful tale will appeal to fans of well-detailed, mysterious, and romantic historical fiction.” –BookList on Bone River
Elina Spira is sent to Venice to take care of Samuel Farber at his friend Nero Basilios palazzo. She has almost ruined her family's reputation and this is a way for her to make amends by nursing Samuel back to health after he was rubbed when he had an epileptic seizure. They start off on the wrong foot immediately, but they soon realize they both have things in common. They are both controlled by their family's and both set to marry someone against their will. Then, Nero arrives and suddenly she who has been sheltered all here life is seeing another side to life. And, she starts to find herself more and more intrigued by Nero. But there seem to be something dark in the palazzo, is the place haunted and is it really seizures that Samuel has, or is there a malicious spirit in the house that is taking over him?
I love the setting of the story. Venice is just such a fantastic city to read about and Megan Chance has really painted a wonderful picture of the city. I found the story interesting to read and I especially loved the paranormal part of it. It just made the story a bit more interesting to read. I usually don't like love triangles, but it worked in this book mostly because it never really felt like a love triangle because Elina never agonized over whom she loved. The story never dwells on that. Instead, both men are part of the process of setting her free from her old life and that is something that the end clearly showed. She has all her life lived a perfect life, until the scandal and by coming to Venice is she trying to set everlasting right again. But she isn't doing that for herself, but for her family. Now she is starting to find herself and perhaps even a different future than her family want.
The one thing with the story that, unfortunately, is my main problem is that the story is too predictable, there is just no twist to the story, there are no real moments of surprise and that is unfortunate since I quite enjoyed the book. I think one main problem for me was that I was never really taken in by Nero. I always liked Samuel more, he was just a much more interesting character with his epilepsy and his family's need for him to marry someone with the right name. So, I was never truly moved with the ending. But still I liked the very last chapter, and I would like a sequel to this book. I would love to see what's next for Elina.
Megan Chance is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author of historical fiction, including Inamorata, Bone River, and City of Ash. Her novels have been chosen for the Borders Original Voices and Book Sense programs. A former television news photographer and graduate of Western Washington University, Chance lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters.
Monday, September 21st: Bookish Whimsy
Tuesday, September 22nd: FictionZeal
Tuesday, September 22nd: Bibliophilia, Please
Wednesday, September 23rd: 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Thursday, September 24th: Kissin’ Blue Karen
Friday, September 25th: Walking with Nora
Monday, September 28th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, September 29th: Savvy Verse and Wit
Wednesday, September 30th: Vox Libris
Monday, October 5th: Kahakai Kitchen
Tuesday, October 6th: A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, October 7th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Thursday, October 8th: Bibliotica
Friday, October 9th: Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, October 12th: It’s a Mad Mad World
Tuesday, October 13th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, October 14th: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Thursday, October 15th: Mom’s Small Victories
Date TBD: Romantic Historical Reviews