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I have started reading books again now that I no longer have prisms in my glasses and with the right light, I do not have any trouble. I have thoroughly enjoyed the stories I have read by Carol Goodman and this one did not disappoint me. I did find myself wanting to shake the main character when her conclusions were not right and mine were dead on. The ending was so dang satisfying. However the sonnets were not or ever assumed to be penned by Shakespeare but to him by his Dark Lady…bah, book I have started reading books again now that I no longer have prisms in my glasses and with the right light, I do not have any trouble.

However the sonnets were not or ever assumed to be penned by Shakespeare but to him by his Dark Lady…bah, book descriptions. Jun 01, Eadie rated it it was ok Shelves: read , audio I listened to this book on audio and I must admit that for a murder mystery it was rather weak. The murderer was quite obvious and there were too many coincidences that happened throughout the book that I found this book to be totally unbelievable. The main character, Rose, was very hard to connect to as she had no depth to her character. All in all, I was rather disappointed but I will try another one of her books as I have seen some good reviews from readers of her novels.

Nov 18, Paula Schumm rated it liked it. I listened to the audiobook from the library. This murder mystery is set in Florence, Italy. There are many twists and turns in this drama, and Rose seems to be in the right place at the right time to overhear every conversation she needs to figure out the solution. Aug 06, Danielle rated it liked it Shelves: audiobook. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't particularly compelling. I didn't buy the protagonist's theories about Robin, and to some extent, I found myself not particularly caring, either. I did like the narrator, but I wish I could have read the sonnets because the only thing I didn't like about her was that I wasn't sure about the cadence of the poetry.

Great book that makes you want to travel to Florence and dive in its artistic history.

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Carol Goodman uses rich British vocabulary which is a bit struggling for non native readers. However the story is so good that it makes you read it to the very last page with great pleasure. Aug 31, Val Shockley rated it liked it.

I used to read this author with my mom. She read this one. I hadn't. It is a nice story. Kind of predictable. More a good memory for me. The poetry was good.

The ending rushed. May 18, Tes rated it really liked it. She had me at the first sonnet, but still not sure about some of the plot details. Nov 14, Nicole rated it liked it.


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Overall this is a great story and I loved the resolution but I felt like the book as a whole dragged. There was so much repetition within it. Jun 10, Lawanda rated it really liked it. Audiobook performed by Jeri Taylor. A brilliant and romantic story So glad I found this. Mystery story imbued with a strong sense of past and present Italy. Evocative, delicious.


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What a pleasure. Dec 31, Eliece rated it it was ok. I give this book a grade of B-minus. Not a bad summer read, but not one I found particularly engaging. Jun 20, Seema Rao rated it liked it. Middling book blending historical and current events. I'm too much of an academic to overlook the inaccuracies. Sep 29, Bookphile rated it it was ok Shelves: , psychological-suspense. This book turned out to be quite a disappointment for me. I'm a big fan of Goodman's, but this one committed too many writing sins for me to really enjoy it.

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It followed formula a little too closely, and I thought there were far too many instances of convenience. This book just felt like a pale imitation of some of Goodman's other, better works, like The Lake of Dead Languages. Some minor spoilers to follow. One of the major problems of the book, for me, was Rose. I never really connected with This book turned out to be quite a disappointment for me. I never really connected with her. She wasn't a bad character, but I thought her characterization was a bit on the thin side.

I didn't really ever feel like she was a real person, so I couldn't really connect with her personal dramas. Plus, for someone who's supposed to be this highly education professor, she did a lot of dumb things. I get that this was supposed to illustrate how conflicted she was, how difficult it was for her to do the right thing when doing the right thing threatened to destroy her own happiness. Still, she just struck me as far too wishy washy.

Another major issue in the book is convenience, mainly in the form of characters suddenly dropping into the narrative to offer up important clues to the main character.

The Sonnet Lover

There's also a whole lot of coincidence going on here, and I got to a point where I just couldn't buy into it anymore. It's not so much that Rose figures things out as that she just happens to be in the right place at the right time meeting the right person who tells her exactly what she needs to know. It all added up to a little too much serendipity for me. My other issue with this book was the story within a story involving William Shakespeare and Ginevra De Laura.

Sometimes I can handle a book taking an historical figure and shaping them in a way that seems incongruous with what I think of that person. At others, as with this book, I simply can't buy it.

The Sonnet Lover

The entire book, everyone seems to be stretching to connect Shakespeare and De Laura, and then things suddenly fall into place at the end, providing a very flimsy bit of evidence as proof. It just didn't do it for me. I was actually very interested in Ginevra's story more so than Rose's, truth be told , and I think I'd have enjoyed this aspect of the book much more had Rose simply been interested in learning about Ginevra.

By doing all kinds of contortions to connect Ginevra with Shakespeare, I think the book does a real disservice to Ginvera, as it's basically stating that Ginevra's story is only important because of her connection to Shakespeare. As for the mystery, I had it figured out long before the real culprit was revealed. It would have made for a meaty story, as it's interesting for books to explore how people's aspirations and passions can drive their darker sides, but it just didn't work in this book for two reasons: 1 the book seemed to care more about Ginevra and probably should have just focused on her and 2 not a single character in the book was so compelling as to make me feel anything for them other than a detached sense of watching their dramas play out.

It's a letdown to read a book like this from an author whose works I usually enjoy. Goodman writes gothic mysteries unlike any other author I've read, and it's a style that particularly appeals to me. Fortunately, I've read enough of her books to know that they get much better than this one, so it hasn't made me decide to put her books aside entirely.

I'd hate for this one to be the first book someone read by her, though, as I think it would give them the wrong impression about her talents. Sep 30, Jenny rated it it was ok.


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  5. This was my least favorite Goodman book.