I am a lover of Venice, and so when I heard about this book, I jumped on the opportunity to read and review it! THE EYES OF VENICE takes place in the 16th century, where magic and splendor blend with lurid slums, danger, and poverty.
The lives of two newlyweds, Michele and Bianca, are suddenly interrupted when Michele is wrongly accused of a crime and persecuted. Michele is subjected to years of life at sea, working in slave conditions on galleys. Sailing from Venice to the Ottoman Empire and back, his sole goal is to redeem his name and return to his love. His escapade is filled with hardship and brutality but also resiliency and tenacity.
Left alone to fend for herself, Bianca’s life is far worse. Poor to the core, her only legitimate options are limited to the hard life of laundress, beggar, and servant, living from day to day at constant risk of dying from illness, starvation, or the bitter, damp cold. Venice at its ugliest brings infestation, disease, dirt, vulgarity, and violence; danger lurks everywhere. As well, anything could happen under the siege of ruthless employers. A glimmer of hope finally shines Bianca’s way when she is hired by a highly ranked patrician noblewoman.
This book is a true gem. It grabbed me immediately, especially Bianca’s side of the story. The tumultuous series of dramatic events kept me hooked until the very end. Barbero brilliantly creates a mesmerizing odyssey, and translator Gregory Conti also does a terrific job in bringing out the essence of the author’s meaning to light up this story effectively.
THE EYES OF VENICE will transport you to a place and time like no other. I was completely swept away by this!