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.

When I sat down to devour The Venetian one particularly stormy weekend, I was definitely in the mood to be thrilled. I lit my black Halloween candle, drew a hot bath and dropped a black bath bomb in the steamy water, and poured myself a glass of wine, ready for whatever Ms. Struthers was going to give in this, her latest novel. Let me say that she delivered on the thrills and chills!

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.

What really made me happy was that the monsters were not paranormal at all, the real monsters are people who think that they are the ones who know what is best.

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!



  1. Sounds like a creepy book. I don't think I would enjoy reading it, but glad to hear you liked it.

  2. Thank you, Jess, for a great review - I'm glad you enjoyed the book and yes, it was fascinating to use a real location and weave the story around myth and urban legend. As for that Rob... hmm... a frustrating character for sure!

  3. Luv these types of books! Thanks for reviewing! #ProductReviewParty

  4. I am usually the fantasy kinda girl but I might have to give this a try!

  5. Hi,
    I've never heard of the book. Thank you for bringing your post to the Blogger's Pit Stop last week.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

  6. I'm not into thrillers, but sounds like a good spooky book. #ProductReviewParty

  7. I have been looking for a new book to read and this one sound like a winner. Thanks for the review

  8. Sounds like a great book - and this one sounds right up my alley. Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to read it.
    ~ Natasha @ Epic Mommy Adventures