The Italian Party by Christina Lynch

The Italian Party by Christina Lynch

There are so many secrets in The Italian Party, personal and professional. Scottie and her new husband, Michael, move to post-war Italy for Michael's job. He's opening a new Ford Tractor store in Siena. Except we learn quickly that it's just a cover, he's actually in the CIA, a fact he doesn't share with Scottie. We also learn one of Scottie's secrets early; she's pregnant and The baby is not Michael's, but those are just the tip of the iceberg. Secrets, both theirs and others', unfold throughout the story against the global backdrop of the "Communist Threat" and a citywide horse race that seems like the big event of the year. Scottie's teenage Italian tutor was supposed to be in the race, but he's disappeared. Scottie is determined to find. Scottie is interesting. She's beautiful, seems maybe not so bright, but she's fun and friendly. Truth is she's as smart, and sly, as any of them. She is definitely guided by...
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The Visitant by Megan Chance

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...
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