Wednesday, March 28, 2007


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THE ROSSETTI LETTER -- Christi Phillips
A Perfect 10
Pocket (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-2737-4
ISBN-10: 1-4165-2737-0
March 2007
General Fiction

Venice - 1617/18 and Present Day

Divorcee Claire Donovan has found a way to visit Venice, the city of her dreams. It may not be the way she thought she'd visit Italy, but chaperoning a fourteen-year-old girl can't be too complicated, can it? Well, it can and does get complicated, but at least Claire is in Venice and will have the opportunity to finish the research on her Ph. D. thesis on the Spanish plot to overthrow the Venetian government in the seventeenth century. Claire's theory is that the Venetians were informed of the invasion by a letter written by a famed courtesan who may have discovered it from one of her lovers. But Claire also knows that a prominent British historian is planning to present a completely different theory, so time is of the essence for Claire to finish her thesis.

Alessandra Rossetti has few choices left to her after her brother and father drown at sea. There is no money, but her enterprising mother prepared Alessandra to use her strikingly beautiful looks to maintain her freedom. After her long-term lover dies, she receives advice from one of Venice's most famous courtesans, and soon Alessandra is nearly as busy as her mentor. One of her lovers is the ambassador from Spain -- a secretive, mysterious man, and Alessandra soon is enmeshed in a frightening, dangerous plot that could not only destroy her, but also her beloved city.

What will Claire be able to find as she searches the libraries and streets of Venice, all the while trying to keep her charge out of trouble? And what about the historian from England who is determined to discover another answer to the puzzle of how the Venetian Council discovered the invasion plot? Did Alessandra have help? Or was she the heroine that Claire believes she was? All these answers will unfold in this fabulous debut novel.

Christi Phillips has written an amazingly detailed, beautifully composed story that moves seamlessly from the present day to the seventeenth century. The main characters have incredible depth, and the dialogue is realistic. Each heroine is dynamic and brave in her own way, but both are also real women with real issues that we can all relate to. Whom do you trust? Does love make one stronger? Secondary characters are as important as the main core of players in several instances, and the author knows how to create just enough mystery in these people to keep a reader wondering.

If this novel is any indication of the talent of this new author, it's one heck of a promising start. I cannot wait to read more from Christi Phillips. For a sometimes hair-raising, sometimes humorous visit to beautiful Venice, don't miss THE ROSSETTI LETTER!

Jani Brooks

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