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About the Author

Fiona Paul resides in the Midwest but travels a lot since she can't breathe if she spends too much time away from the ocean. In addition to being a writer, she's also worked as a line cook, retail manager, veterinary assistant, medical recruiter, English teacher, and registered nurse. When she's not working, you can usually find her kayaking, reading, or helping turtles cross the road. Her future goals include diving with great white sharks and writing more novels, not necessarily in that order. VENOM is her first novel


This first book in the Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy introduces Cass, a wealthy 15-year-old living in Renaissance-era Venice, who chafes at the constraints of her society. After a friend dies, Cass steals away to her tomb, where she discovers the gruesome body of a murdered courtesan and runs into a handsome artist named Falco. Cass's subsequent actions revolve around Falco as she helps him search for the killer, occasionally posing as a courtesan and putting her life at risk. The Venetian setting is well chosen for its beauty and mystery, and Paul writes some wonderful, lush descriptions in her debut novel. The murder mystery, however, is little more than a device to kindle the relationship between Cass and Falco, forcing her to chose between him and her betrothed, Luca, a university student she hasn't seen in years. The romantic moments and sentiments tend toward cliche ("She pressed her lips against him, her soul against him, and she felt truly warm for the first time"), making for a steamy but fairly predictable romance. Ages 14-up. Agent: Stephen Barbara, Foundry Literary + Media. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

'Wonderfully sinister and thrillingly romantic, Venom has it all - secret trysts in graveyards, Venetian canals, murdered courtesans, and masquerades! Fiona Paul created a lush, compelling mystery I couldn't put down.' - Jessica Spotswood, author of Born Wicked. 'Deftly balancing beauty and death, Venom renders the canals of Renaissance Venice frightening and irresistible in a sensual tale where no one can be trusted and passions kill.' - Andrea Cremer, author of the Nightshade trilogy.

Gr 9 Up-As a young noblewoman in Renaissance Venice, Cassandra feels trapped in her confined role, but everything changes when she finds the body of a murdered courtesan in a crypt when she goes to bid a recently deceased friend farewell. An exposition-heavy start gives way to an addictive mystery as Cass sets out to discover the whereabouts of her friend's body and the truth behind the courtesan's death. Debut author Paul constructs a tantalizing web of intrigue, deception, and danger as Cass delves into the darkness behind the city's sumptuous facade, going undercover in a brothel and stumbling onto a storehouse of cadavers. As the stakes grow higher, Cass doesn't know who to trust: the rakish young artist helping her solve the mystery, or her gentlemanly fiance, both of whom seem suspiciously connected to a series of murders plaguing the city. Romantics will thrill at an alluring love triangle with two equally appealing choices. Characters are well developed; in particular, Cass exhibits a remarkable amount of growth. Initially self-absorbed, she makes mature decisions by the story's conclusion. The conflict in this first volume in a trilogy is satisfyingly resolved, with a few plot threads deliberately left dangling. Each chapter begins with an excerpt from the fictional Book of the Eternal Rose, but that volume never comes into play within the narrative, and only the barest hints are given as to what the Eternal Rose might be. Readers will surely be eager for the sequel to find out.-Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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