Two impossible love stories are fatefully connected by one artistic legacy in a stunning debut that leaps between the mysteries of late-Renaissance Venice and the dramas of present-day America.
“Enchanting from the first page.”—Sarah Jio, New York Times bestselling author of All the Flowers in Paris
In the wake of her father’s death, Rose Newlin finds solace in her work as a book restorer. Then, one rainy Connecticut afternoon, a struggling painter appears at her door. William Lomazzo brings with him a sixteenth-century treatise on art, which Rose quickly identifies as a palimpsest: a document written over a hidden diary that had purposely been scraped away. Yet the restoration sparks an unforeseen challenge when William—a married man—and Rose experience an instant, unspoken attraction.
Five centuries earlier, Renaissance-era Venetians find themselves at the mercy of an encroaching Ottoman fleet preparing for a bloody war. Giovanni Lomazzo, a portrait artist grappling with tragedy, discovers that his vision is fading with each passing day. Facing the possibility of a completely dark world, Gio begins to document his every encounter, including what may be his final artistic feat: a commission to paint the enchanting courtesan of one of Venice’s most powerful military commanders. Soon, however, Gio finds himself enraptured by a magnificent forbidden love.
Spellbound by Gio’s revelations, Rose and William are soon forced to confront the reality of their own mystifying connection.
A richly detailed page-turner shadowed by one of history’s darkest times, The Lost Diary of Venice weaves a heartbreakingly vivid portrait of two vastly different worlds—and two tales of entrancing, unrelenting love.
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Destined to be a bestseller
This is a book that has everything this reader looks for; good strong characters, an amazing plot, and well researched back story that makes for a story that stays with you after you turn the last page.
The story is told in two different time periods. The modern time takes place in the United States with Rose and William. Willam just inherited a book that is very old, and would like it restored. Rose is a highly regarded book restorer and while looking at it notices that the book is not just one book, but two. A palimpsest. One book on top of one that had been partially scraped off.
As she begins to decipher it, her contact with William increases, and she becomes drawn to him despite his being married. He, too, is drawn to her, but as a married man with children, tries to fight the draw. This part of the story was written so well, I had rollercoaster feelings about their getting together or not as I progressed through the story. I felt I was part of their relationship, and that I, too, had an agenda in how it would turn out.
The second time period is about the author of the book which is to be restored. Gio lives in Venice, Italy and is an artist who is slowly going blind. He is commissioned to paint the portrait of a courtesan of a man who is destined to be a doge. Gio is entranced with her, and his art and life are forever changed by meeting her.
Through this story there is woven the history of Venice at that time, and the battle of Lepanto. The details, though factionalized, are based on actual facts, as well as historical characters of the past. I was more often than not fascinated enough with some of the details to look them up, only to find that the details were so amazingly accurate. For instance, the use of fireworks in Venice at the time period was something new I learned reading this book.
I highly recommend this book to any and all, and will be recommending it for my book club. And, even though I was given an advance reading copy digitally, I can honestly say I will most likely be one of the first to buy a print copy to have in my library. And, I have a few folks I think would enjoy this as a gift.