Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Review: The Venetian
October, one of my very favorite months, is a perfect time to read a good ghost story. The trees are in the middle of their riot of color as they slowly go to their winter slumber, the days here in the Pacific Northwest are more and more rainy, with the occasional windstorm, and of course, there is Halloween at the end of the month. So when I heard about Shani Struthers' new book, The Venetian (which is the first of a new series called This Haunted World), of course I had to read it!
Shani Struthers is a British paranormal author with eight other books (and a ninth coming this November!) under her belt, most of which are ghost stories. While I have not as yet read any of her other books, I am no stranger to the paranormal genre, and am always on the lookout for another series and they are now on my “to read” list.
By the time my bath water was cold, I was more than halfway through, and upset I had to wait until the next day to finish.
The story follows Louise, a grieving woman, and her husband who have decided to travel Italy after realizing that they cannot have children.
Their last stop is Venice, a city that Louise had always wanted to visit.
While there, they became wrapped into the history of the island of Povegalia, the most haunted island in the world.
Almost immediately, Louise finds herself connected with the specter of a veiled lady named Charlotte, who was married to an ambitious young doctor at the asylum on the island that was found to have been using experimental “treatments” on the patients within.
The book is broken up into three parts, the first and third following Louise in modern day Venice while the second tells of Charlotte and her life as a newlywed to her young doctor husband just before the outbreak of World War Two.
While I found that the pace picked up in the second and third parts, the first part seemed to drag a bit, with only glimpses of the veiled lady phantasm; I had been hoping for a quick increase of ghostly activity.
The only part of the book that really irritated me was Louise's husband, Rob, and his constant dismissal of his wife. In both the first and third parts, he is dismissing Louise's opinions, fears, and desires.
While she does eventually confront him about it, she later muses that she shouldn't have and that he wasn't actually doing anything wrong.
It really rubbed me the wrong way that there wasn't any real resolution to this conflict.
I must say, I love the fact that Shani used an actual location, Poveglia, and utilizes actual legends, histories, and stories that surround it in her novel, instead of just inventing a completely fictitious place.
The island actually exists, and it is supposedly extremely haunted. It has been a quarantine island for sailors and plague victims, and it did, in fact, once house a mental institution. There is a bell tower help up with scaffolding and even a room littered with pages torn from books.
If you are like me and enjoy a good ghost story, you can find The Venetian on Amazon, with the Kindle version currently at $2.99.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have the first of her Psychic Surveys series on myKindle, and it's calling my name!