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Joanna Lucas is an art restorer with a prestigious Boston institute. She wins a lucrative grant to assess the damage to mosaics in the basilica in Venice. While she’s not wild about going to Venice, her boss talks her into it, and she asks her best friend, Deena, to go with her.
While sitting in a cafe near their hotel, Joanna sees the artist Chandler Cardin sitting across the room staring at her. Chandler is the last person Joanna wants to see. Chandler broke Joanna’s heart two years earlier.
Joanna has told herself that she’s moved on, that she’s over Chandler. But is she really? That is the question to be answered in this ninth book by Kenna White.
White evokes the specialness of Venice as Joanna travels around the city in a water taxi. You feel her awe as she sees the architecture and her heartbreak when she sees the damage done by the waters slowly eroding works of art as the tide rises and falls.
You’ll even smile when she gets lost and when she finds herself in a canal, à la Hepburn in “Summertime.” If you’ve never been to Venice, you’ll get a taste for what it would be like to visit.
If you have been to Venice, it will bring back the good memories of a remarkable city.
White, however, does not evoke the emotions of her characters as well as she does the city. We’re told that Joanna is heartbroken, but we never feel it. Joanna is supposedly devastated by Chandler’s having cheated on her, but accepts Chandler’s superficial explanation that she never really cheated on Joanna quickly and easily.
More believable, but nevertheless annoying, is Deena’s macho posturing when Chandler is around. You want Joanna to get a spine and tell her best friend to stay out of it, but she doesn’t.
Finally, White asserts that there has never been a woman gondolier, but the first woman gondolier appeared in Venice in 2007, albeit in a limited capacity.
If you want to curl up in your favorite chair and read a light romance, pick this book up. It’s worth the read because of the setting and the knowledge of mosaic restoration that White passes on via Joanna.