Fiction Book Reviews

Romance | From Venice with Love | Rosanna Ley

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I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the Quercus tour for From Venice with Love by Rosanna Ley.

Book cover for From Venice with Love by Rosanna Ley

From Venice with Love by Rosanna Ley is published by Quercus and is available to purchase in digital, hardcover, paperback and audiobook formats.

With her marriage in danger of falling apart, Joanna returns home to the beautiful but dilapidated Mulberry Farm Cottage in rural Dorset, where her sister Harriet is struggling to keep the Farm afloat and cope with their eccentric mother.

When Joanna discovers a bundle of love letters in the attic, written by a watercolourist named Emmy, she is intrigued and sets out to discover Emmy’s true story. Emmy’s letters take Joanna to the picturesque alleyways and bridges of Lisbon, Prague, and the most romantic place of all: Venice – where a whole new magical world seems to unfold in front of her.

Meanwhile, back at Mulberry Farm Cottage, a mysterious prowler adds to Harriet’s problems and interrupts her search for a perfect partner. Will she ever find true love? Where will Emmy’s mesmerising pathway lead? And more importantly, will Joanna and Harriet be able to rescue the cottage and finally be able to re-discover their sisterly bond?


I thought that the format of Joanna and Harriet narrating their own chapters worked really well in this story.  For one thing, it highlights how perceptions can be so different (which lead to misunderstandings!).  There is another narration that adds more mystery and intrigue – even though I hoped I knew what was coming – how exactly did this tie in?  What was the link?

Joanna’s travels as she undertakes to write a tourist guide with a difference has the underlying mystery of Emmy and where she belongs in the family history.  I loved this aspect of trying to trace her and wondered who would have the key that would bring it all together.  I had no idea!  The experiences Joanna has in Venice, Lisbon and Prague are sprinkled with magic … There are some things in life that can’t be defined or explained and this theme of the intangible plays out beautifully in this story. 

Harriet is carrying the burden of a promise made which has skewed her perception, not only of herself but the life she is living.  I’ve enjoyed watching her blossom and finding her place in the world.  I’ve felt very protective of her! 

Both sisters’ situations lead to introspection and we become a part of those musings and realisations.

The settings are amazing.  I really felt myself there.  It was great to be striding along those Dorset hills, seeing old architecture mixed with the new, sitting outside near the mulberry trees or walking across the bridges.  At a time when travel is restricted it was great to be able to experience other places vicariously.

Not only is there the mystery of Emmy but also the intrigue about the prowler.  What did he want?  Why was he spying on them?  The answer is a world away from what I thought.  It explains so much.

From Venice with Love is a story about the search for self, no matter what age you are.  Sometimes you need to lose yourself to find your way back to that centre of calm and balance.  It’s about the importance of family and the bonds that hold even when the secrets are laid bare.  It’s about repairing and renewal and beginning again.  And love in all its shapes and sizes. 🙂

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Rosanna Ley works as a creative tutor and has written many articles and stories for national magazines. Her writing holidays and retreats take place in stunning locations in Spain and Italy. When she is not travelling, Rosanna lives in West Dorset by the sea. Twitter: @RosannaLey

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I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 9+ years. My love of reading, crocheting, being out in nature and positive psychology are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school.

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