After she nearly ruins her family with a terrible misstep, Elena Spira is sent to Venice to escape disgrace and to atone by caring for the ailing Samuel Farber. But the crumbling and decaying Ca’ Basilio palazzo, where Samuel is ensconced, holds tragic secrets, and little does Elena know how profoundly they will impact her. Soon she begins to sense that she is being watched by something. And when Samuel begins to have hallucinations that make him violent and unpredictable, she can’t deny she’s in mortal danger.
Then impoverished nobleman Nero Basilio, Samuel’s closest friend and the owner of the palazzo, arrives. Elena finds herself entangled with both men in a world where the past seeps into the present and nothing is as it seems. As Elena struggles to discover the haunting truth before it destroys her, a dark force seems to hold Samuel and the Basilio in thrall—is it madness, or something more sinister?
Paperback, 339 pages
Published September 22nd 2015 by Lake Union Publishing
Elena despairs to discover that the home she is sent to in Venice to escape scandal, is a rotting ruin. Worse, she is met with hostility from the maid and her hostess. Still, Elena is determined to be the best nurse she can for her patient, Samuel Farber, who is recovering from a brutal assault and suffering from epilepsy. If Elena can control his epilepsy and return him to health, she can restore her father's name and secure her future. What Elena doesn't expect is to encounter something sinister and paranormal, bent on revenge. Will Elena succeed or will Samuel succumb to madness?
What I Liked:
- The Visitant is an interesting ghostly mystery set in Venice. I loved how Venice served as the perfect backdrop. This was a strong, atmospheric read that drew heavily on the crumbling home, and the dark, filthy canals. If you want a good ghostly mystery with an eerie atmospheric setting, this is one to try.
- The book is set at the end of the nineteenth century. Young Elena has spent her whole life training in the mental asylum where her father works. I enjoyed exploring the views on mental illness and epilepsy and learning more about the methods and drugs used to treat the various illnesses. I found the treatments and views on epilepsy especially interesting.
- The house is full of rot and mildew and it harbors some deadly secrets. Once Elena arrives, she can't shake the feeling that someone or something is watching her. She can't explain the waves of extreme cold, nor the disturbing behavior of her patient. Is it epilepsy or a ghost? I enjoyed the ghost mystery, and I thought that it was well done. The ending was a bit shocking when all was revealed.
- The mystery is suspenseful and interesting. I liked the way the author took her time to reveal what happened in Elena's past to make her fall from grace. I also liked the ghost portion of the story and learning the truth behind the haunting.
- Elena was a character that made several mistakes, but in the end, I appreciated her growth and the way she handled herself. I liked that she wasn't afraid to see the truth, and I had hope for her at the end.
- The ending wraps up the story line, and the reader isn't left with any nagging or irritating questions. This is a stand alone.
And The Not So Much:
- I was not a fan of the romance. It is sort of a love triangle, but not really. Elena ends up caught between two men, but she immediately choses one. Even though I appreciated that she quickly shed her prudish ideas, I thought it was a bit over the top, and her sexual behavior wasn't in line with her character. Furthermore, I never felt a connection to the man she chose. It ended up being a mess.
- Even though the ending concluded the story lines, I was left wanting to know what happened to Samuel and Elena. Did they escape their fates? I hope so.
- The other issue I had with the story was that most of the characters were unlikable. I liked Elena, and I felt sympathetic toward Samuel, but everyone else in the villa, was hostile and openly rude. The horrid behavior of the secondary cast, helped build up the atmosphere, but it made me disconnect from the story a bit because everyone was so deplorable.
- The sex scenes got to be a bit too much, I found them a unbelievable because Elena was a prudish proper girl, and then she is all of a sudden behaving like a whore? It just didn't work for me, and the whole romance was a flop.
The Visitant with its suspenseful mystery and eerie atmosphere was an interesting read, but I struggled with a tepid romance, and an unlikable cast of secondary characters. I enjoyed the book, but I found the romance was a turn off. Still if you want a good ghost mystery set in Venice, this is a book you can check out.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.