ugh...chick lit disguised as historical fiction. i must confess, i could not finish this book. in fact, i couldn't get past the second chapter, which skips several years with no explanation. (ie the character is several years older and there's no development during that time). i think i might've enjoyed this book more when i was younger; its descriptions of eighteenth century venice were well done, and might've taught me something years ago, when i would've not have minded the insipid plot. the characters did not ring true, and were just too perfect, the type who always say and do the right thing at the right time...the author "told" me more than "showed" me!