All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

A Venetian Affair – Dana Mitchell

on March 23, 2013

A Venetian AffairA Venetian Affair
Dana Mitchell
Destiny Romance
2013, eBook
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Helen Stoddart is performing in Venice, taking full advantage of the dark wig and mask that makes up their costume. She’s had enough notoriety to last her a lifetime and the pleasure of being unrecognisable gives her the confidence to sing in front of an audience. She spots Gabriel Venier in the crowd and the attraction simmers between them.

Later when Gabriel rescues her from an attempted assault after the show, she goes with him back to his palazzo where she allows herself to indulge in one night of passion in the dark of night with no names before her flight back to Australia. Once back in her home country, Helen dons a different mask – one of icy remoteness, standing straight and tall against the horrible scandal that has engulfed her family. Jailed for fraud and corruption, her lawyer father and brother brought down a scandal in law, the likes of which hadn’t been seen before. Hounded by the press, suspected of being involved, Helen has not helped her cause by maintaining her aloof silence. But she made a promise…

A trained accountant, she’s had trouble getting a job since the police raid and arrests. When she finally does get one as a clerk on a team auditing Venier’s bank she’s stunned when the owner arrives and turns out to be her one night stand from Venice. At first, Gabriel Venier doesn’t recognise her  – after all she never gave her name and she was wearing a dark wig, hiding her naturally white blonde hair. But when his private investigator finally gives him the name of the woman who ran from him that night, Gabriel is shocked to find it’s the same woman the scandal surrounds…and the same woman that he still felt oddly attracted to.

Gabriel is also shocked to find that this icy, cold and impenetrable woman is nothing like the fiery and passionate one that he experienced in Venice. He at first suspects her motives, wondering which is the real Helen. As he decides to get to know her, he begins to see chinks in her armour and makes it his mission to shatter it and once again rouse the fire lurking inside.

A Venetian Affair is the second March release for Destiny Romance. The book opens in Venice where Helen is performing as part of her studies at the Conservatory of Music, something that she is passionate about. She hides behind her mask, enjoying the freedom to just be, without being hounded by the press for a comment, a photo. I’ve never been to Venice, so I don’t really know much about the logistics of police and doctors making housecalls but Gabriel manages to get Helen to his palazzo where she throws caution to the wind and abandons her façade for one wild night.

Back in Australia, Helen is a different person. She’s been deeply affected by the family scandal and she’s also been effectively gagged by a domineering family member as well, unable to speak out of her own innocence. Helen has wanted to be recognised and respected by her family for so long that even after the scandal, she’s doing everything she can to try and earn that. She’s shoving everything back behind an icy demeanour that makes it hard to relate to her at first but you get the feeling that she really has had the most difficult life. There’s been wealth and privilege but also obviously she’s been overlooked and perhaps even bullied. A trained accountant, not a lawyer, Helen didn’t even work for the family firm but yet the press don’t seem to care about this, hounding her constantly and printing whatever they like. This part of the story did feel a bit unrealistic to me – it’s very unusual to see huge presses of paparazzi in Australia, especially directed towards a member of a family that were brought down in a legal scandal. Helen is attractive and her reluctance to speak might have warranted some interest, as would her friendship with a reclusive wealthy man but the constant stories and speculation really didn’t seem that likely. To be honest, it just didn’t seem like Helen would be that interesting, for the press or for the readers of their publications. The trial was long over, her corrupt family members were in jail. However it gives Gabriel and excellent excuse to blackmail her and it also provides a reason for Helen to be somewhere on a specific day.

I appreciate what Gabriel wanted to do, in his deal with Helen but I have to say that I did not particularly enjoy the way in which he went about it. Overly alpha heroes do tend to rub me the wrong way, especially if they border on bullying type of behaviour. Gabriel was straddling a line here – his thinly veiled threats to Helen when he first discovers her identity and later when he blackmails her to spend time with him were borderline for me. I really just wanted Helen to walk away from him, which is not really what you should be thinking about the hero and heroine! I know he wanted to get to know her, the real her but his way of doing this was very heavy handed and it angered me. And Helen was far too forgiving of it, and of him. However like Helen’s sister, I really think that Helen took the whole implacable mask thing a bit too far and was in danger of becoming someone who never allowed themselves to feel a thing. I see what they wanted to do and I think her sister’s method was much quicker and much more effective than Gabriel’s. I really liked Helen’s sister and the bits and pieces we got of her story – in fact, I wish there was a book about her.


Book #70 of 2013


This is the 31st book read and reviewed for #AWW2103


One response to “A Venetian Affair – Dana Mitchell

  1. […] romance imprint. I posted my review of A Venetian Affair last week, which you can check out here and after reading the book I was given the opportunity to have Dana on the blog to answer a few […]

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