Editor’s Note: Today we’re thrilled to welcome our newest contributor to Clear Eyes, Full Shelves, Rebeca. She’s joining us as our Official Romance Correspondent, and you may remember her from the Book Matchmaker feature a few months ago. We’ll be posting a little introduction soon, but in the meantime, welcome to CEFS, Rebeca!
Can one book simultaneously be a Gothic mystery, a contemporary YA novel and travel writing?
Lauren Henderson has tackled this interesting mash-up with Flirting in Italian.
Violet, the protagonist, has recently graduated from secondary school and aims to attend Cambridge in the fall. Her plans do not include a mysterious painting, a trip to Italy or a brooding prince. (Bad planning on her part, in my opinion.)
Luckily for both Violet and readers, her life takes a sharp turn for the more adventurous.
While preparing for her art history A-level, Violet stumbles across a painting in a museum that could be her mirror image, circa 1790. This would be remarkable enough, but she has long wondered over her lack of resemblance to either branch of her family. The painting lures her to Italy and the secrets that await her there.
Henderson does a good job establishing a tense, mysterious atmosphere in which the somewhat improbable plot makes more sense.
The heavy oak kitchen door at the far end of the long room swings open with such force that it slams against the wall. Sunshine floods in, and I realize how dark it was in here, how little natural light this kitchen has. A figure’s silhouetted against the brightness outside, tall and lean, and in the next moment it tears toward us threateningly, footsteps ringing loudly on the stone flags.
Just don’t hold your breath for all the answers as this is only the first book in a series.