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The Rossetti Letter Paperback – 6 Aug 2007
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"Christi Phillips's sexy and suspenseful novel makes you want to hop on the next flight to Venice, book in hand. Reading it is like a visit to that sensual city."
-- Janis Cooke Newman, author of "Mary"
"Saucy...nicely told...An amiable first effort sure to appeal to many fans of the genre." -- "Kirkus"
"Reading Christi Phillips's lush, beautifully written novel is like enjoying a sumptuous meal in the Venice it describes with such loving detail. You want to savor every moment."
-- Ayelet Waldman, author of "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits"
"With impeccable research into seventeenth-century Venetian politics...an intriguing literary suspense debut novel...an entertaining story with intrigue, espionage, and romance." -- "Booklist" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Christi Phillips is the author of The Rossetti Letter, which has been translated into six foreign languages. Her research combines a few of her favorite things: old books, libraries, and travel. When she’s not rummaging around in an archive or exploring the historic heart of a European city, she lives with her husband in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is at work on her next novel, set in France. Visit www.christi-phillips.com. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The rather irritating Claire is writing her PhD on the Rossetti letter (rather oddly she's never been to Venice, the site of her thesis, and never seems to have consulted any primary sources...) a letter written to the Venice council by the courtesan Alessandra Rossetti revealing a Spanish conspiracy to invade Venice. But Rossetti disappears from history after the letter and no-one has ever understood the context in which the letter is written. Claire hears that a Cambridge academic is writing a book debunking her view of the conspiracy and so finally gets to go to Venice to prove him wrong.
Interspersed with this is the story of the rather lovely Alessandra Rossetti caught up in the margins of the conspiracy, and so we find out the true story of what happened alongside the modern day investigations.
I've never been to Venice (sadly) and so can't say whether the descriptions are accurate or not, but they certainly came over as magical and made we want to go. I agree with previous reviewers that characters are rather cliched but for me they worked. This is a fairly baroque novel (assassins, sword-fights, torture scenes, hangings) but accepted on that level it works far better than many other historical novels.
The modern day part was less successful (the girl who hadn't heard of the war was a 14 year old... not so surprising, unfortunately), and the neatly tied-up ending was irritating but overall this was a far more enjoyable novel than I expected. Great for a bit of historical romance before bed or on the tube with minor shades of Possession Possession: A Romance.
When books like this are published it makes one despair. It is written by an American author, clearly for an undiscerning American market. At one point the modern history graduate heroine, turns to her history(!) student travelling companion, on landing in Italy, (the student had not heard of the 2nd World War - one wonders do they have an education system?), and instructs her that without the Americans, Europeans would all be speaking German! It is this crass, lack of respect that typifies this novel. If I had been in a gondola the book would have been confined to the watery depths!