October 16, 2013

Review - The Venetian Contract by Marina Fiorato

Feyra is a Turkish Muslim young woman from Constantinople, who has trained as a doctor but is on the run to Venice after the Sultan dies and his son inherits power. Their ship brings plague to Venice and Feyra takes refuge in the house of Palladio, the great architect, who has been contracted by the Doge to build a great church so that God will help Venice in her time of trouble. She is able to share the secrets of the great Islamic buildings in Constantinople with Palladio, which inform his designs. She then forms a professional working relationship with a Venetian doctor who has set up a hospital on an island where he can try new methods of combating the plague. This is an interesting time in medicine and the passages with Feyra and the doctor are the strongest. The author states that she wanted write a story about Palladio, but I think she has been taken over by her young heroine and the medical story. Although the different parts of the story do not really hang together well, you get an excellent feel for Venice in the late 1500s and a charming romance. Wendy

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