An enchanting debut novel — a fairy tale of sorts.
The time is the present. The novel opens on a train en route to Verona. A young American woman is on an Italian tour with her famous musician husband. In a moment of fury and despair at their lifeless marriage, she drags down a piece of her luggage and gets off the train in the countryside. Marooned and on her own for the first time in eight years, she returns to Venice, gets a room at the Hotel Gritti Palace, sets out to explore the city, and chances on a group of boys tormenting a small dog, which she rescues and smuggles into the hotel.
The following day she is accosted by a man who claims that the dog belongs to his employer. Reluctantly she follows him to a Gothic palazzo and to the dog’s owner, an elderly contessa. The young woman becomes faint. The contessa insists that she stay the night . . .
What started off as an impulsive act of defiance opens out into an adventure — and a mystery — that summons up centuries of the Venetian past, the discovery of a lost masterpiece, and the heroine’s reclamation of herself.
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