Thursday 6 July 2023

The Venice Sketchbook

Finished June 28
The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen

This book caught my eye at the library when I was picking up some holds, and I ended up bringing it home and reading the whole book that same day. 
There is a short prologue in 1938 at the beginning, which sets the scene for a place and time that ends up being a key to the book's plot. From there the book follows three timelines. The first four chapters are from 1928, when 18-year-old Juliet Browning visits Venice as a gift from her aunt, and has an encounter that she will never forget. The book then moves to 2001, when Caroline Grant is facing the end of her marriage. Caroline and her husband both have degrees in fashion, but he has chosen to pursuit a career in design and recently travelled to the United States to follow that dream. As the book begins, we find that he has begun a new relationship there. The divorce is now final and Caroline will have their son Teddy during the school year, while Josh will have him for the summer and holidays. Caroline stays at her job at a women's magazine, but considers moving in with her grandmother and great aunt Lettie in the house she grew up in. When her great aunt dies, secrets get revealed and when an opportunity to investigate those secrets opens up to Caroline, her grandmother encourages her to take it. 
The story then moves back to Juliet Browning in 1938, where she returns to Venice as an art teacher accompanying her students. Several things have changed for Juliet since 1928, and while she longed to return to the city, she hasn't been able to until now. When she has a chance encounter that brings back feelings from her 1928 visit, she is once again tied to the city. Soon after, an opportunity to study abroad returns her to Venice, a move she makes despite the looming political situation.
As the 1938/39 and 2001 ones stories begin to connect, we find Caroline making interesting discoveries, and revealing possibilities that may change her own life. 
A book that encompasses romance, suspense, and intrigue, this book was one I had difficulty putting down. 

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