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Monday, 9 September 2013

A brush with VENICE - our novel selection

It happened in Venice by Molly Hopkins is a highly entertaining, funny and witty read. The author has done a great job in bringing her very human characters to life, with their flaws and inconsistencies as well as endearing qualities, and real and engaging dialogue.  My first impression in the first pages was that it was a crossover between Sex and the City and Sailor Moon (I don’t know if that’s good or bad, I guess it would depend on whether you like Sex and the City and Sailor Moon…).  On the whole, even with Evie’s overall aloofness (and recurring desperation), and Lulu’s insanity, I found the book heartwarming, and it left me with a cozy feeling of fulfilment.

The title itself is misleading… or rather, the back cover is misleading, for whatever happens, DOES happen in Venice (and we’re all the more glad for it to happen, by the way); but nothing happens as we are led to believe on the back cover, meaning a story taking place IN Venice, and instead we see Venice in just a few chapters.  That’s not a bad thing, however, because there is a handful of other cities that take over some of the other chapters and give the book a wonderful balance. For Evie’s story, every city counts, as they mirror her emotions at the time and convey a feeling of completion for the issues that she has to come to terms with.

Together with Evie we walk into the heartbeat of each city, Dublin with its cheery people, Amsterdam with its fast-paced way of life and beyond-gorgeous architecture, Marrakesh with its color and noise and flavours… and Paris, where heartbreak and strength meet at the Arc de Triomphe, as well as London, where real life prepares Evie for each one of her travels and for learning more about herself than she ever bargained for.  The way each city plays into the story is fascinating, almost as if they were characters themselves, all described with high-quality imagery and sense of place, and with a soul and a fundamental connection with Evie. Of Venice itself, I can hear Evie saying that voices make Venice stand out “over and above anywhere else… voices as opposed to the screeches of breaks and the roar of cars and buses”, and I have to say that it is one of the most beautiful and original ways I have ever heard a city’s essence described, and that I fully agree with her, because in Venice you get a higher sense of humanity than anywhere else, at least of those super-highly touristic spots where you have thousands of people every day and all year round. Amsterdam and Dublin get captured very cleverly as well in the final notes, as Evie tell us her anecdotes as well as facts about each city (and which made me laugh really hard).

I laughed a lot at different moments on each page, the dialogue is that good. Although I have to admit that I found Evie (and Lulu, but that was the point of her) very annoying at times. Evie’s twin nieces were perfectly portrayed for reality and comic relief, and John’s and Nikki’s places for grounding Evie were absolutely fantastic, particularly by the last chapters. And speaking of Nikki, he and his Greek family were another great way of making us travel within the pages, even if it was a little over the top at times…  Three of my best friends in the world are Greek, so I really enjoyed laughing on their account, although my Konstantinos is not a lazy teenage waiter, my Spyros is not a bad-tempered middle-aged uncle, and my Nikolas is not a hot blooded body-builder. All are good-looking and all are taken, sorry girls.
It happened in Venice is a great summer read, light and funny, definitely chic lit for the smart chic… so, enjoy!

In the mood for a little more reading that involves a brush with Venice? We have two more novels that feature the city on the cover but will also take you further afield (you even get Lake Como, Falmouth and London, for example are thrown in for your delectation)!

Do you have enough romance in your life?Journalist Kirsty Bailey would have to answer no. She has the essential starter kit - a boyfriend - but somehow Joe seems to have skipped the vows of for better/for worse and gone straight to for granted.But then just as she's on the verge of settling for a swoon-free existence, Kirsty's magazine sends her to a majestic Venetian palazzo to attend the much gossiped-about Love Academy... Her undercover mission? To prove her editor's theory that this 'school for singles' is nothing more than an escort agency with a sexy accent and fancy glass chandeliers. But what if her editor is wrong and their promise of true amore is for real? Will Kirsty be able to resist the kind of moonlit temptations she's been dreaming of for years, or is her relationship with Joe going, going, gondola?If you think Casanova was a bad boy, just wait until you see what Cupid has in store for Kirsty...

A girl flees to Venice to escape her dangerous past in this electrifying novel of intrigue, psychological tension and suspense... For Lucy Riddick, Venice has always been the dream destination. A dream inspired by the pretty picture pinned to her mother's kitchen wall. To Lucy, Venice seems the ideal place to lose herself. And now she needs to do just that. The secret she's been keeping from her boyfriend and her friends has finally caught up with her and Lucy needs to disappear - and fast. There's no better time to pack her bags and head for Italy. But what if, when she sets foot in Venice, Lucy finds that the one thing she has been running from, the one thing she has been trying to escape, is already there, lying in wait for her? Time to run away again? Or time to end the chase, once and for all?

Happy reading from Sandra and the TripFiction Team – and click on the title to catch Sandra’s own novel La Sombra Detrás (in Spanish) here And our full collection of novels set in Venice can be found here

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