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Susan Parisi

Penguin (2008)

ISBN: 9780143007647

Reviewed by Lorraine Cormack (this review was first published in June 2009)

Blood of Dreams was a disappointing novel. A trite and meandering plot, and characters that are never fully realised combine to create a very unsatisfying reading experience.

In eighteenth century Venice Laudomia chafes under the guardianship of her brothers. Neither they nor her sisters-in-law want to hear anything about her gift of foresight. They want her to be an extremely proper young lady who never says, thinks or hears anything they deem scandalous; and they want her to marry someone conservative who will ensure the rest of her life will be like that. They particularly don’t want Laudomia to mention the visions she’s been having of a series of ugly murders terrifying Venice. Then Laudomia meets Estavio and the entire family is immediately smitten. But when Estavio champions Laudomia’s gift to her brothers, they immediately reject him as a friend and potential suitor. Laudomia, however, is not willing to let him go so easily.

The supposed twist at the end of the novel is in fact obvious very early on, at least if you’re paying attention. I’m not sure if this is deliberate – an attempt to make the reader more knowledgeable than Laudomia – or simply a rather clumsy attempt to seed something that the reader will remember retrospectively as a justification for the ending. Either way, it didn’t work for me. The twist itself was so trite that it only made me roll my eyes to have my suspicions confirmed. Read the rest of this entry »

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