Death in the Floating City by Tasha Alexander is the seventh installment of the Lady Emily series, which I’ve mentioned numerous times on the blog as a favorite of mine. I’ve been anticipating the release for months, but I was still absolutely floored by how seriously awesome it is. THIS SERIES, you guys. So good.
As evident by the title, the book is set in Venice. An old childhood nemesis of Emily’s calls upon her and husband Colin to help solve the murder of her father-in-law. What follows is a fabulously twisty path into a centuries-old feud between warring families, complete with its own star-crossed love story. (Yes, feel free to think Romeo & Juliet. Except better.)
The power, intrigue and romance of both 15th and 19th century Venice are woven into every page – and are the core of what makes Death in the Floating City the best book of the series. Seriously, there is no way to read this novel and not want to immediately check under the couch cushions for lost quarters in order to start a “Trip to Venice” change jar. I’ve actually been there, and I felt its presence just as much while reading this book as when I was standing in front of St. Mark’s Basilica.
The first flashback into the late 1400s is just pages into the novel. I must admit, despite my fierce faith in Tasha Alexander, that I groaned. Flashbacks aren’t usually my thing – I always feel impatient to get through them to get back to the “real” story. I figured that would be doubly true since I’m so attached to the main characters, Emily and Colin. NOPE. Consider me a convert, because they are fabulous. Full of angst and romance and desperation and tragedy and ALL THE GOOD THINGS that star-crossed love stories are supposed to have (including the ugly cry).
If you aren’t interested in starting the series from the beginning, Death in the Floating City can certainly be read as a stand-alone. I would love if you did start with the first book though, I will beg if necessary! Emily is so fierce – determined to be independent (in a learning ancient Greek and Latin, drinking port after dinner, storming city officials to demand the right to vote kind of way). Colin is possibly the most swoon-worthy male specimen committed to print. I’m more than a little in love with him. Why on Earth wouldn’t you want to spend an entire series getting to know these people? (WHAT DO YOU MEAN, THEY AREN’T REAL?)
To Sum It Up:
- The beautiful city of Venice obviously inspired Tasha Alexander tremendously, because the setting explodes off the pages and takes what was already a fabulous series to a whole new level.
- Feuding families! A doomed Renaissance love story! A lovely cast of side characters that vary from the scholarly to the scandalous to the unbelievably treacherous. An ending that literally made my jaw drop from shock. I CAN BARELY CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT OVER THE AWESOME THAT IS THIS BOOK.
- The plot and setting might both be beyond stellar, but Colin and Emily definitely still manage to shine. Two of the best characters I’ve come across, for sure.