Friday, April 11, 2014

The Stargazer - Review

The Stargazer (Arboretti Family, #1)The Stargazer (Arboretti Family #1)  by Michele Jaffe
Published January 7th 2014 by Diversion Books (first published July 1st 1999)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bianca Salva's love of science has led her to defy the conventions of her day and illicitly practice medicine among the poor of Venice. She's managed to keep her pass time a secret--until she is discovered over the lifeless body of a young courtesan, by the last person she'd ever want to see.
Ian Foscari, Conte d'Aosto, is known for being rich, handsome...and heartless. Finding Bianca over the dead body, he concludes she's the murderer. Yet for reasons he cannot explain, her protests move him. He offers to give her one week to prove her innocence, but she'll have to move into his house and be his prisoner. Her other option: the authorities and certain death.
Bianca has no choice but to agree to his maddening terms. She's furious at having to cede her hard won freedom, and unprepared for the effect of his presence on her, for the longings he awakes in parts of her body she's only studied in books. As Bianca struggles to focus on finding the killer, Ian fights his own battle between the undeniable attraction he feels for her and the painful scars of his past.

When their mutual attraction blazes to life, they are both dazzled by it's force. Passion burns through their reserves, teaching them both to trust again. Love again. But this fragile alliance is soon tested. Lured into a web of scheming and betrayal, Bianca and Ian find themselves in a race against the clock to save their lives, their hearts, and the city of Venice itself.

As of lately Michele Jaffe has been writing YA books, all great teen-aged mysteries.
But she started off writing romantic mysteries. Like this one.

I was fully aware this wasn't YA, I wasn't like some that pick up a book assuming it's YA and end up yelling "Oh my gods kids shouldn't be allowed near this!"
My exclamations were more along the lines of "Damn! This is a side of you I've never seen before!"

This is definitely different from the bubbly personalities we'll find in her other books. And that's actually pretty great. As much as I love bubbly, it was nice seeing a different kind of personality.

It's no Agatha Christie mystery but, then again, what is? This is a signature Michele Jaffe mystery, she has her own style of writing and makes the genre her own. Bianca Salva is a great new detective, she proves that a women can be more than expected in Renaissance Venice (I'm sorry I can't remember the century) and she's what all women in romance novels should be: a fighter.

Speaking of the romance, it's like a whole other story. Sometimes when they were trying to solve the mystery I started wondering "what happened to the romance?" And then when we would get the romance I'd start thinking "Um you guys remember there's a killer you need to catch before the week is up right? Not that I'm rushing."
It was a perfect balance between the two.
And I mean both with the story and the two characters.

Definitely one of the best romances I've read in a long time.

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