BLOOD OF DREAMS - Susan Parisi

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Blood of Dreams
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Book Synopsis

Venice, 1762.  As Carnevale bursts across the city, revellers take to the streets in masks and lavish costumes to lose themselves in pleasure.  Yet while Venetians celebrate, a nightmare is about to unfold.
Laudomia Codussi, a beautiful young woman tormented by terrifying visions, takes a lover and is drawn into his dangerous obsession with opium.  When a series of gruesome murders is revealed, Laudomia embarks on an urgent quest to unmask the killer.  Until she can separate reality from fantasy, no one is safe - least of all herself.  But in a city transformed by illusion, who can say what is real and what is not?
Book Review

Starting off with the elaborate building of Laudomia's life as the youngest sister of two very self-important merchants in 1700's Venice - BLOOD OF DREAMS is part historical novel, part passionate romance, part Gothic tale of death and the occult and part mystery.  Laudomia is destined to be married off, she lives her life seemingly tightly controlled by her brothers and their mindless and rather shallow wives.  But she also has a more secret existence.  Starting off with roaming of the streets of Venice with only an old servant for company, at a party held by her own family, Laudomia finds herself deeply attracted to the glorious, but risky Estavio.  But whilst they pursue their passionate, and secret love affair; the madness of Carnevale acts as cover for a vicious killer, driven by a different sort of madness - to steal the dreams of others.
BLOOD OF DREAMS leans heavily on the great, Gothic and elaborate in the style of the story telling, the characters themselves (everyone is just ever so slightly over the top), the atmosphere of brooding and decadence, and in the events and happenings everywhere in the book.  Mixed in with romance is lust; with murder and intrigue - occult; with obsession - drugs and addiction.  The style of the book is very luscious, almost over the top in the descriptions of the characters, their costumes, the world they inhabit.  Venice itself is dark and brooding and dangerous, Carnavale is the excuse that lots of people have to step outside the boundaries of accepted behaviour.  
The point of BLOOD OF DREAMS is probably not the mystery, or the romance, or the occult, or any one particular element.  It is one of those novels of a style that you either love or hate, but if you're a fan of this sort of book then BLOOD OF DREAMS should be a must read.  

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