After her husband’s untimely demise, Marietta Gatti is banished from the family’s villa by her spiteful mother-in-law. She returns to her hometown of Venice and her only kin—a father she hasn’t spoken to since her forced marriage. Her hope of making amends is crushed when she learns she is too late, for he recently has died under suspicious circumstances. Grief-stricken, Marietta retraces her father’s last night only to discover someone may have wanted him dead—and she may be next. When the prime suspect turns out to be the father of the man she is falling in love with, Marietta risks her future happiness and her life to avenge the death of a man she once hated.
This was a short romantic read with touches of suspense, but despite its length it was a fine story. Elizabeth McKenna took me back in time to Italy and its aristocrats with vivid scenery and interesting characters. I would have liked to have seen the characters and mystery flushed out a bit more, but I did really enjoy this book. The story surrounds a lovely and strong heroine, Marietta. Wed at a very young age to a despicable and abusive man, fate almost seems to be on her side when her husband meets with an untimely death. Only her in-laws are just as cruel and send her out of their home. Determined to make her own way, Marietta turns to her gift of painting for income. Upon her journey to return to Venice, she has a chance meeting with a very wealthy man named Nico. And it is here that her adventure truly begins, refusing his advances only makes him want her more, and hiding beneath his playboy image is actually a very kind and thoughtful man. Upon returning to Venice Marietta discovers that her father has passed away, and the circumstances of his death are quite questionable. Determined to discover the truth she is quickly drawn into a dangerous exploit. With Nico courting her at every move and the truth of her father’s death so close to being discovered, Marietta uncovers a secret society that will stop at nothing from remaining hidden from the public eye, and now she has become a target that needs to be silenced.