Published by Lake Union Publishing on September 22, 2015
Genres: Ghost Story, Historical Fiction, Paranormal Romance
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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?
I don’t usually read ghost stories, but this seemed like a perfect fit for RIP X and I do love Venice as a setting.
To me, The Visitant had three parts: the setting, the ghost story, and the romance. The story is set in Venice but most of it takes place in the Basilio palazzo. It’s the perfect setting: a crumbling old mansion, too cold and grey, in a city that, while romantic, is also decaying. The servants are hostile to Elena and the aunt is just flat out odd. There is a lot of time establishing the atmosphere. Elena is hoping to see Venice but seems trapped in this house. the setting is probably my favorite part of the story.
The ghost story was not scary enough to keep me up at night, but progressed well. The ghost was clearly angry, and, unlike Elena, the reader knows it’s a ghost from the beginning – the title tells us. It doesn’t take long to know who the ghost is, either, but the question is why is she still there, what has her so full of anger and jealousy and hatred. And she is quite dangerous.
The romance – eh. There were a couple of sexy scenes, but overall Elena should have been smarter. On the other hand, she is who she is, a passionate, trusting woman, which is why she is in the situation she is. And she chose the guy I didn’t like as much, but you’ll have that.
The story moved slowly. It’s about atmosphere and uncertainty. At 60% I was wondering if it was worth finishing, but the pace picked up a bit and I really liked the ending. The story wrapped up well for me. Overall, it’s a good seasonal read.