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review 2017-10-03 02:53
The Girl from Venice
The Girl from Venice - Martin Cruz Smith

You might read the description of this book and think, oh, geez, yet another book about World War II. What is it about this particular war, in a long history of ugly wars, that drives people to keep exploring it from every possible angle? I've read about this war from every conceivable front and so many unique perspectives, but when I read a book like this I am stunned at an author's ability to bring something new to the conversation.

 

I was almost surprised to see this book described as a love story — but of course it is; it's just that calling it that seems to belittle it somehow, or diminish the horrors of the war. Instead, the occupied city is brought dramatically to life with breathtaking moments of tension, mitigated a bit with some light-hearted humor and, (ahem), romance, from the fisherman and the girl he "caught", late one night in the murky waters of the Venice lagoon.

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review 2016-10-16 21:59
The Girl from Venice - Martin Cruz Smith

This story was slow at times, but I really liked it. Cenzo may have been just a simple fisherman, but he was smarter than most people thought. Which he showed throughout the book over and over again. I really liked his character a lot. I especially liked what he told his dead brother's wife, boy was she a pill.

I really wasn't ready for this story to end. While I'm sure Cenzo and Guila's lives weren't as exciting after the war, they certainly were during the war. This book is full of action and with the surprises Cenzo has up his sleeve, it is just great, entertaining reading.

Thanks Simon & Schuster and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. What a great story!!

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review 2016-10-03 07:50
The Girl From Venice...
The Girl from Venice - Martin Cruz Smith

"Venice, 1945. The war may be waning, but the city known as La Serenissima is still occupied and the people of Italy fear the power of the Third Reich. One night, under a canopy of stars, a fisherman named Cenzo comes across a young woman’s body floating in the lagoon and soon discovers that she is still alive and in trouble.

Born to a wealthy Jewish family, Giulia is on the run from the SS. Cenzo chooses to protect Giulia rather than hand her over to the Nazis. This act of kindness leads them into the world of Partisans, random executions, the arts of forgery and high explosives, Mussolini’s broken promises, the black market and gold, and, everywhere, the enigmatic maze of the Venice Lagoon."

 

 

When I opted to read The Girl From Venice I was hoping for an engaging war story rich in the Venetian atmosphere but instead of feeling completely immersed in the story and time period, I felt more like an outsider looking in. If you've ever been with a group of people that are talking about something that happened when you weren't there, so you don't quite get what the fuss is about, then you'll understand how I felt about the author's writing. It seemed like we were only given scattered parts of the whole story and the political dynamics among the major players- Mussolini, Fascists, Partisans, Italy, Germany, America etc., weren't fleshed out well enough for me to fully engage in it. 

 

The characters were also very flat. Normally if I read a really good historical war story, I feel emotionally involved in the characters and sympathize with their circumstances but in this story I didn't feel anything at all for any of the characters. There just wasn't enough character development and the stage wasn't set adequately enough for me to get invested in either the characters or the story.

 

If you already have a deep understanding of Italy's role in the war then you may appreciate the story more then I did but if you don't, then you'll probably come away from it feeling like you're missing crucial parts of this historical period.

 

*I received this ARC from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

 

 

 Professional Reader Reviews Published 2016 NetGalley Challenge

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review 2016-09-18 05:23
The Girl from Venice, by Martin Cruz Smith
The Girl from Venice - Martin Cruz Smith

Cenzo Vianello has been sitting out the war, fishing his family’s waters in the lagoons off of Venice and avoiding Germans, Italian fascists, partisans, and the war on the mainland. He served in Mussolini’s Abyssinian War and that was enough for him. He might have managed to get through the entire Second World War without getting involved if he hadn’t found Giulia in the lagoon one night. After that night, Cenzo abruptly finds himself right in the middle of everything. Though Martin Cruz Smith called this novel The Girl from Venice, Giulia is only a catalyst for Cenzo to become the hero he refused to be...

 

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from Edelweiss for review consideration.

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review 2015-09-03 02:50
Red Square, by Martin Cruz Smith
Red Square - Martin Cruz Smith

At one point in Red Square, by Martin Cruz Smith, one of Arkady Renko’s temporary partners turns to the battered detective and asks, “Renko, do you ever feel like the plague?” (248*). At this point, Renko has been attacked a couple of times. His partner in Moscow has been killed. A couple of witnesses had been killed after talking to him. And, oh yeah, the Soviet Union is going to collapse any day. Renko spends most of this book in Munich and Berlin, so there’s a real chance that his country won’t be there when he returns...

 

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type.

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