Author : Megan Chance
Published August 1st, 2014 by Lake Union Publishing
420 pages ; Kindle Edition
Inamorata is the story of an American artist named Joseph Hannigan and his twin sister Sophie as they attempt to escape a dark past in New York City and start fresh in magical nineteenth century Venice.
Joseph is immensely talented and with Sophie’s help they have one goal, to see Joseph reach the levels of fame only the best of the best can attain. But things in Venice unfold much differently than planned and while they seem to be making all the right connections, they simply cannot foresee the depths of danger they find themselves mixed up in.
The story is told through the eyes of three main characters, one of which is NOT the talented artist himself, Joseph Hannigan.
As the story unfolds, each chapter is titled simply with the character who’s eyes we are seeing the story through, starting with Nicholas Dane. Nicholas Dane is well known and well connected in Venice. Once a talented poet, he finds himself lacking words and inspiration after an encounter with a woman that has artists of all sorts tripping over themselves in an effort to express their love for her.
She is the ultimate muse, though most she spends time with seem to come to a dark end. She is also the second character in our trio that tells this story. A mysterious woman named Odilé Leon.
Odilé has a knack for finding the best of the best when it comes to artists of all types, though what happens once she finds them isn’t always in their best interests. She’s an interesting villain because through so much of the book there is a real question as to if she’s truly a villain, or if she’s actually a victim of poor decisions spanning yet another dark past.
Lastly we have Joseph Hannagan’s twin sister, Sophie. She rounds out the trio of storytellers and while she doesn’t consider herself an artist herself, she is her brothers biggest muse.
Of course Joseph, Sophie, Odilé, and Nicholas are on a collision course through the magical streets and mystical canals of Venice. And while the book description hints at elements of something supernatural, it doesn’t prepare you for what comes next.
While it’s not always a good thing when a book description doesn’t accurately paint a picture of what sort of story you are in for, in this case it works strongly in this books favor. At least as far as my personal tastes in stories goes.
I try not to talk about myself too much in my reviews, but this book warrants a brief detour.
Inamorata was another Kindle book I grabbed at some point because it looked interesting enough to be worth the price of free. It’s sat there, buried and forgotten until now, and I’ll be honest… I didn’t expect to really enjoy this book and after the first few chapters I ALMOST gave up and marked it as my first DNF of the year.
I’m so glad I stuck with it though. But, I feel it’s only right to explain WHY I almost put it down and marked it DNF.
Megan Chance has a beautiful writing style that truly made Venice come to life, be it via the more beautiful aspects such as sunrises dancing over the canals or via the darker, gritty corners where dead bodies float in that same water or grace the back alleys with their decay.
As beautiful as the writing is, it also moves along at a nice pace that serves to pull you in ever deeper to the story as it unfolds. Just enough mystery, just enough teasing, pushing you to read on.
However, the relationship she writes between the twins, Sophie and Joseph Hannigan, is borderline obscene. They have an un-naturally close bond. A bond that hints at them being lovers as well as siblings. And it was VERY uncomfortable to deal with initially. Uncomfortable enough that it ALMOST made me give up on this book from VERY early on.
While that unsettling aspect of the story never REALLY goes away, what you’ll come to find as the story unfolds, is that there is something more happening there and it isn’t actually about anything incestual.
That coupled with the fact that romantic, historical fiction is just not generally a genre I enjoy… well, expectations were not high for this book.
As I said, I’m so glad I stuck with this one though as, by the end, I found that I really enjoyed the story.
What starts as a pretty straight forward romantic historical fiction story makes some terrific twists and turns into the worlds of the supernatural, fantasy, and darkness, and the ending is a perfect blend of good vs evil with a bit of nuance and compassion for all involved as there are sacrifices made that change everything.
To sum it all up, Inamorata delivers an enjoyably dark story that delves into the supernatural within the vehicle of a more traditional romantic, historical fiction novel. It serves up mystery and danger and explores the darkness inside all of us as Chance tackles the big question about the true costs of attaining fame.
Yes, the brother/sister dynamic is a bit off-putting, however by the end of the story we’re offered an explanation that goes beyond the surface level and makes sense in the realm of the story. In short, their “bond” has a purpose and it comes from a shared experience that forged it into place.
I’ve said enough, to say more would start to delve into spoiler territory and I don’t want to do that here so with that…
Inamorata by Megan Chance gets a 3.5 out of 5 stars. (Yes I know, half stars aren’t allowed on Goodreads though, so it’s a 3 star read over there.)
If not for the, at times overly descriptive, unsettling bond between Joseph and Sophie Hannigan, this would have been a solid 4 star read. But that “bond” is just hard to handle at times.
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