#BlogTour for #TheLostDiaryof Venice by @MargauxDeroux and published by @orionbooks @TrapezeBooks – with thanks to Alex for the tour invite :-)

A secret diary. A forbidden love. A centuries old mystery to solve.

The Book Blurb

When a rare sixteenth-century manuscript lands on her desk courtesy of William, a struggling painter, shy book restorer Rose makes a startling discovery: it is a palimpsest. Beneath the text is a different document, one that’s been written over. What they discover is the secret diary of William’s ancestor, Giovanni Lomazzo, a Venetian painter who has just been commissioned by Venice’s most powerful admiral to paint a portrait of his favourite courtesan… it is a diary of forbidden love, dangerous political plots, and secrets that could destroy everyone involved.

Together, Rose and William work to solve the mystery of what happened to the secret lovers. As feelings develop between Rose and William, their own experience begins to mirror the affair that they’re uncovering, and each set of lovers is forced to confront the reality of their romance.

A richly detailed and sweeping page-turner, Margaux’s sumptuous portrait of late Renaissance Italy will have you falling headlong into history, slipping in and out of the shadows along the canals of Venice.

A secret diary. A forbidden love. A centuries old mystery to solve.

My thoughts…

I do enjoy historical fiction, so was delighted to read The Lost Diary of Venice for its BLOG TOUR. This is a book of layers that moves from modern day back into the past to Renaissance Italy of the 1500s. There’s a meandering pace to the narrative; this is not a negative. It gives the reader time to savour the richness of the historical detail that clearly comes from a labour of love and superb historical research. I enjoyed the historical writing more than the modern day setting, but both are linked really well as we learn about obsession, needs, desires, love and longing.

The historical plot is rooted in actual history, a tale of artists, courtesans, spies, anti-Semitism and war. I loved the character and journey of Giovanni, an artist who is beginning to lose his sight; it is his reawakening under the care of the alluring, layered character of Chiara that really hold this book together.

There’s a great deal of character development and plotting that works so well in this book, even the villain of the piece is given a reason for his behaviour, of how trauma and pain has molded him into the cruel, detached bigot he has become at this point in the story.

In the modern day world, the past is awakened by the discovery of Giovanni’s diary and through this two people, who are feeling rather lost, connect with each other. It’s another layer from the author and the reader questions the connections we form in relationships, and how time alters our feelings and sometimes we lose a sense of what we had, or have lost. Can these things be regained? Or should we disconnect and find something more ‘real’ and ‘true’ in new experiences. I enjoyed the question of ‘what is real’ in these situations.

It’s a recommended read from me, so do consider The Lost Diary of Venice if you enjoy layered historical fiction with romance, war, culture, mystery and art – lovely escapism for 2020!

The Blog Tour

MAYBE ONE DAY by Debbie Johnson – Blog tour with Orion Fiction

It’s lovely to be on this blog tour, with thanks to Alainna Hadjigeorgiou for the invite. Please do have a read; this book comes highly recommended!

Book Blurb

What if you had the chance to find a lost love?

Jess still thinks about the man who disappeared from her life seventeen years ago, and the tragedy that tore them apart. So, when she discovers a hidden box of letters in her mother’s attic, Jess realises that the truth about why he walked away has been kept from her all this time.

Jess sets out to follow the faded postmarks across the country, determined that her journey will bring her closer to him. As each clue falls into place, Jess discovers new things about herself – and the man who once broke her heart. Maybe she can find him. Maybe their love story isn’t over.

Maybe one day, they will be together again…

My thoughts

Well, this book certainly hooked me in! I loved the story of Jess and her search for the truth as she uncovers hidden aspects of her past. This is the overall hook, as we follow her emotional journey to uncover the truth. After her mother’s funeral a hidden box is found, and inside are old letters for Jess from Joe, the father of her daughter, who Jess believes walked out of her life; these are particularly emotive moments as their story is revealed.

It’s a study of trauma, grief, lies, love and redemption. There is an awful tragedy at the core of this book, so it’s upsetting at times, but as we know, terribly sad events are the ‘way of the world’, and the important path to healing is handled beautifully. This is a book where friendships shine, and forgiveness is the way to healing and re-building.

Read this book if you’d like to go travelling with Jess to learn her story, and find out the truth about why Jess’s true love left her, and if she’ll ever get the chance to see him again: maybe one day is the question at the centre of this story. It comes highly recommended from me, a surprisingly addictive read.

The Author – Debbie Johnson

Debbie Johnson is an award-winning author who lives and works in Liverpool, where she divides her time between writing, caring for a small tribe of children and animals, and not doing the housework.

She writes feel-good emotional women’s fiction, and has sold more than 750,000 books worldwide. She is published in the USA, Canada, Australia, India, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey and the Ukraine. Her best-sellers include the Comfort Food Cafe series, Cold Feet at Christmas and The A-Z of Everything.