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5.0 out of 5 starsMarina Fiorato "The Venetian Bargain"
Reviewed in the United States on April 21, 2016
Marina Fiorato has created a character with family connections to the Venetian Doge of Venice who has not been raised a Christian but rather a Muslim in the Court of Constantinople during time period of the Plagues. She escapes Turkey on a ship and ends up in Venice, battles the plague, but was previously trained as what would be today considered a doctor by the Court Physician. Things become complicated with her arrival on a death ship and she lives on one of the many islands around Venice and eventually practices her herbal medicines. It is an accurate study of what was happening in Constantinople and animosities between it and Christian Venice. Finally as events unravel the main character's connection to the Doge is made and she is allowed to expand her herbal medicinal practice. Of course a romantic interest is woven into the plot and he is initially completely mistrustful of her herbal treatments as he too is a "doctor" for the time period. As always Ms. Fiorato has carefully researched historical surrounding events for the time period with the help of her talented and professional family. A good read and it will lead you into other of her books.
Reviewed in the United States on November 26, 2016
This book has a very interesting story line using the conflict and prejudices between the Turks and people of Venice as a backdrop. I was impressed with the main character, Feyre, a Turkish doctor who escapes her homeland and ends up in Venice where Turks are hated and murdered. She's quite good at escaping authorities and befriending people who will help her. She's faced with the challenge of the plague infecting the city due to her medical profession. The problem is the doctor she works with treats her like a nurse (more like a maid) not acknowledging her abilities. Nevertheless this is where the love interest enters. I found it very interesting that the author includes some fascinating ideas that I don't know is true for that time period. The physicians wore masks that looked like great white beaked birds. Within the beaks was stuffed herbs or such. In all the story flows well with something different happening fairly often to keep my attention. It has some magic to spice it up a bit. I enjoyed this book.
2.0 out of 5 starsNOT THE AUTHOR'S BEST WORK - MEDIOCRE AT BEST
Reviewed in the United States on August 7, 2014
I enjoyed the author's earlier work "Glassblower of Morano" and looked forward to another good read but was very disappointed. The story is choppy, the characters flat and the "real character" the architect Andrea Palladio, whose story was supposed to be told, was relegated to the role of a secondary character. I learned more about Palladio in the Historical Note at the end of the book than I did in the book itself.
The story takes place in 16th century Venice when the Sultan of Constantinople plans a revenge on Venice by sending the plague to its shores, by burning the weakened city and finally by attacking it from the sea. The protagonist is a young Muslim woman, Feyra, who has studied medicine under the Sultan's own physician and who has treated the women of the harem. Prior to the sailing of the death ship, captained by her father, Feyra learns that she is half Venetian. The story is unbelievable, falls apart at many points and is just not a good read. I found it very easy to put the book down and do something else and only kept reading because I was hoping that it would get better. It didn't! To add insult to injury, the proofreading of the Kindle edition was atrocious! There were so many errors and typos that I was disgusted.
I will probably read another book by this author since I really enjoyed "The Glassblower of Morano" but this was not worth the time or the money. I gave it two stars because it was obvious that the author put in a great deal of work researching her subject. I would welcome a book about Andrea Palladio and the building of his famous cathedral on Giudecca because this certainly wasn't such a book.
During a plague why not read a book about my favorite city /county during a plague. So skillfully researched and written that I now want to read all of this author’s book. I would have ended it differently, but it’s not a bad ending just not he one I wanted. Maybe it’s one of those books that could have had two or three possible endings and the reader chooses which chapter is to be the final chapter.
As a student of history and literature, I am always striving to find a historical novel worth reading. This novel fascinated me with its illustration of the Ottoman Empire, as well as the examination of the medical profession during this time. The entire novel felt well researched and written. Additionally, I thoroughly enjoyed the strong female heroine. I only rate four stars because I feel that the novel ended too abruptly, leaving too many questions unanswered and the reader slightly confused. I feel that a sequel is in order! I enjoyed the characters too much to leave them.
Reviewed in the United States on December 18, 2017
I really liked the setting and timeline of this story and how the main character struggled with two different religions, lifestyles and cultures. In the end, the characters come together for the common good of the people. It was fascinating to me to think that a Muslim woman might not want her veils taken off. This different perspective I shared with my students today as I am a historian and language arts teacher. Wouldn't definitely recommend this book !!!
5.0 out of 5 starsso I really liked a historical fiction that relates to both
Reviewed in the United States on July 25, 2014
I have links to both Turkey and Italy, so I really liked a historical fiction that relates to both. It's a well written plot and it flows well. It has history, cultural notes, adventure, suspense, and love. It is one of those books that you can't put down. One of the best things about the book is that it is a story that reflects the fact that there are good people and bad people in every country, religion, ethnicity... It promotes peace and love among human beings, without making it too heavy. Given the turmoil and hatred in the world today among various groups of people, I think the book is also timely. I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction with a little suspense. I also should state that I prefer Marina Fiorato's books to other authors of similar style, such as Dan Brown.
A story of human resilience. A young girl who grew up in the palace in Istanbul is thrown into an unfamiliar world after her mother is murdered. Following her mother's request, she leaves Istanbul on her father's ship, which unknown to her, carries the plague to Venice. Circumstances put her on an island off Venice where, along with a Venetian doctor, she fights to save lives of those who have contacted the plague. This leads her to develop a cure, which creates more havoc in her life. The Venetian Bargin is a fast moving story that will have you on the edge of your seat for the entire book. Then, when it is finished, you want it to keep on going. History lovers will love this story.