Sunday, 12 July 2009

Continuing with the Venetian theme in my reading, June from our Book Club lent me ‘Daughters of the Doges’ by Edward Charles. The book begins in England with Mary Tudor on the throne, at a time when there was a great deal of religious and political intrigue. The characters set off on a journey through Europe, which is undergoing the consequences of the Reformation, and set off for Padua which is located near Venice. I eagerly started off reading this book as I am fascinated with the changes in and around Europe at the time of the Renaissance (which was not just confined to Italy) and the Reformation. However, I felt that it was as if the book was written by two people; the first part was full of intrigue and adventure, however, when the characters arrive in the Veneto the pace changes. Characters act almost as if they belong in the twenty-first century, rather than the sixteenth century. Towards the end I felt that this happened more and more and the character plots conveniently fitted together too neatly. I felt that it lacked the feel of the uncertain times they were living in and it ended up to be more of a romantic novel which it hadn’t really started out to be. I do like romance but not necessarily neatly served up on a plate when I am expecting quite a clever intriguing plot.

However, I did enjoy reading about Venice and Padua and the book also contained quite a lot about the artists, Tintoretto and Titian and their artistic practices. It does make me want to visit Padua and Venice again....

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