Kiernan Fitzgerald’s sister Kathleen has been kidnapped, and if he can’t find the Jewels of the Madonna in time, he fears for her life. On the run from the men who took his sister, Kiernan runs into Samantha Lewis at a cafe and asks her to pretend to be his date so he can escape. Perplexed, Sam goes along with it, hoping Kiernan might help her forget her horrible ex-fiance, especially given she is on what was meant to be their honeymoon. When she experiences strange dreams and flashbacks, Sam begins to wonder whether she and Kiernan are reincarnations, reliving a love story that happened more than five hundred years ago.
I liked The Treasures of Venice a lot more than I was expecting to! I normally don’t like romantic suspense novels; I read this one for the dual history prospect since I enjoyed The Reincarnationist by M.J. Rose. Normally, I find romantic suspense isn’t conducive to believable relationships, since at least half the book will be spent intriguing, running away from bad guys, or having the characters’ lives in danger. That’s also the case here, but I liked the couple and I loved the historical tie-in. I felt that the second, older timeline was a little gimmicky; I could actually believe in the present-day love story a little more, probably because the latter is given more screen time. Maybe also because I had trouble believing that any fifteenth-century woman would have a chance to escape her entourage in broad daylight every single day. It was completely necessary to have both storylines, though, or the ending would have felt very deus ex machina instead of having been built up the whole time. I did love the little trip into Venice’s history, the cathedrals, the detective hunt for specific graves, the gondola trip, and so on.
As I mentioned already, I liked the couple that were the main focus of the book. Even without the physical spark between them that we’re explicitly told about, I felt they had a connection from square one and then built on it nicely, so I found myself hoping for them to be together. The suspense towards the middle-end of the book ramped this up for me a lot and I found myself realizing just why people like romantic suspense. It was cute how worried the main characters got about each other, especially when the bad guys were all taken care of, because they didn’t know how to act without that filter of danger. They figure it out, though, of course.
I really enjoyed The Treasures of Venice and would definitely recommend it to those who enjoy contemporary romance or romantic suspense, with a hint of historical mystery.