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Friday, May 8, 2009

Renaissance Woman by Anne Clayre Mason

Renaissance Woman by Anne Clayre Mason
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Fantasy
Length: Full (217 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

Mysterious dreams of a life in Renaissance Italy draw Louisiana antique shop owner Renee Martin to Venice at the start of the city’s famous Carnevale. There, she literally meets the man of her dreams, Patrick Jordan, a handsome art gallery owner from Houston.

After she purchases a topaz pendant from a local shop, her life begins to parallel with startling similarities that of Renata Briana, a young sixteenth-century Venetian woman the original owner of the topaz.

Unscrupulous people who are after the valuable topaz chase Renee and Patrick through narrow alleys and twisting canals creating a seemingly endless nightmare. Amid the chaos, their love blooms. However, Renee’s suspicions about a woman in Patrick’s life and her reluctance to get involved with another man after being jilted threatens their relationship.

Will this end their love? Or will the binding thread that stretches over five hundred years tie them together forever?

Renaissance Woman, while taking place in the 21st century, has a significant amount of happenings during 16th century Venice that propels the plot along. With a hint of reincarnation so unfinished business can be brought to fruition, the story takes the reader to Venice with its decaying buildings, odorous canals, and its alluring mystic during carnival time.

Mysterious dreams, that disturbed Renee Martin earlier, become visions that disrupt her daytime activities when she arrives in Venice. The visions take on a life of their own after she buys a topaz pendant. A 16th century intrigue, when mores were quite different than they are in the 21st century, comes alive in her visions and Renata seems to be the counterpart to Renee of modern time. As life-threatening events occur, Renee finds herself in the company of Patrick Jordan, a fellow American who is an artist and gallery owner.

The two of them seem to have set evil forces loose when he bought an old unsigned painting and she bought the topaz pendant. Through the twisting canals, in decrypted ruins, and even in antique shops and modern hotels the evil forces seek them untiringly.

Both Renee and Patrick have visions of a life they seemed to have lived in the 16th century. Also one of the antagonists has visions from the same period. The format of so many characters having visions, modern happenings, and happenings of the 16th century, all mixed together is off-putting at times. However, the plot of two reluctant people falling in love against formidable odds makes Rennaissance Woman a true page-turning love story.