BLOG REVIEW: Venice in the Moonlight by Elizabeth McKenna

20y.o. heroine is grieving, not because her husband of 5 years just died with his family expelling her from their home, but because her long-lost painter father's recent death was likely due to murder.
Much of it she has to investigate herself in Venice since the authorities there are dismissive of her notions.
Her path so happens to cross the son of 1 of Venice's founding families,
who may be almost blind but is notorious for his lavish lifestyle and womanizing ways.
His attraction to her makes it easy to get into his family home, where she attempts to find the book her father noted in his journal from the shocking ceremony he witnessed.
As much as she tried, she can't resist her increasing attraction towards him,
especially when she gets to know the kinder side of him. Will he think differently of her when he finds out that she's implicating his own father for her father's murder?

The best part of this book was the intrigue. In fact, the romance in this book was encapsulated in the centrality of its' mystery and intrigue.  The mystery began as soon as heroine left her former husband's home. She regretted their estrangement due to his forcing her to a marriage she didn't want. She was still angry with him about it but she wanted to mend their relationship more and hopefully live with him again.  Finding out about the nature of his death as soon as she arrived in Venice turned the next 3/4 of this book into the intrigue of getting proof her father's murder and the people involved in it. I thought the use of the days-long Venitian carnival as the means for masked heroine to come and go to various seedy establishments at night without causing much suspicion was clever.  She was lucky to escape near capture and abuse several times. I though it was funny that vomiting saved her twice: the first one was from her husband and led to his eventual death and the second one was from her and saved her from sexual assault. The intrigue was well-paced and introduced us to different parts of 18th-century Venice. The only part about the intrigue that was questionable was the resolution. It was too swift, with the people involved changing allegiances quickly and giving up what they've been secretly doing immediately. With something that secretly involved that many prominent people in the city, I would surmise that more effort would be placed in snuffing out the whistle-blowers or putting the blame on those who were caught while moving their secret ceremonies elsewhere.

The romance was slow to develop emotionally. The physical attraction was immediate and I liked how visually-impaired Hero was so taken by the way heroine smelled. But it took them a while to get to know each other and for heroine to trust him. She was too busy either with her investigative assignations, resisting his charms, or luring him just enough to get needed info from or about his father. It was their painting sessions that allowed them to spend valuable time getting to know each other without being rushed. They developed an emotional connection that allowed heroine to take a romantic risk with him. Their sexual chemistry strengthened as a result. The sex scenes were generalized and focused more on their emotional connection. I wish, though, that the emotional connection between Hero and heroine developed much earlier in the book.  It was there but slight. Maybe it's to let us see the progress of Hero's transformation from an avid womanizer to a man obsessed only with heroine. I did appreciate that but still wish for a more intense emotional feel between Hero and heroine.

I moderately recommend this book.
3-star 

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