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The Stargazer by Michele Jaffe
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Heavier on the romance than I anticipated, and while I knew this would be very different from her young adult novels, I was surprised at the difference in the general writing style.

While I definitely enjoyed the two main characters, Bianca and Ian, the actual plot (what little there was) was very lacking. A complex mystery with many points that don't seem to quite add up. It requires a lot of thinking to sort out all the little details that are actually quite important, because the book never quite sums it all up for you.

Like I said, I did enjoy the characters, but they both had some stupidity issues. Ian is probably the most stubborn character ever, determined to believe in Bianca's guilt even when all reason points to her innocence. And Bianca, as the typical romance heroine, is constantly questioning her appeal to Ian, because his past lovers have been all beautiful and sensual and crap. These character traits might make the romance story interesting, they more just make the characters seem like humongous idiots.

I don't particularly like romance novels because they all seem to have the same basic plot and characters. Nevertheless, I still enjoy a good one, even if I know the plotline by heart. But sometimes it just doesn't work. The Stargazer is an enjoyable read, but it doesn't leave you with much to think about when you finish. ( )
  BrynDahlquis | Dec 1, 2011 |
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"My lord, I scarcely expected to see you here."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Bianca Salva is the brilliant and beautiful daughter of a renowned physician. Ian Foscari is a handsome aristocrat notorious for his romantic conquests. Worlds apart in the circles of society, they have been brought together by an extraordinary intrigue: each has been mysteriously summoned to the home of a murdered courtesan. And each has reason to suspect the other of the deadly crime.
For each, proving their innocence will depend on the other -- and Ian concocts a seamless ruse to ensure that Bianca can't leave his sight. Together, they step carefully around secrets of murder and betrayal. But out of their masquerade grows a heated battle of wits. A tenuous trust. And an undeniable passion....
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0671027395, Hardcover)

Michele Jaffe's first novel, The Stargazer, may have very little to do with astronomy, but its mixture of murder mystery, historical romance, and steamy passion certainly has universal appeal. Our heroine, Bianca Salva, a doctor of the poor and unfortunate, first meets her love interest, Ian Foscari, as she holds a bloody knife over the body of a lovely, if dead, courtesan. Equally suspect and suspicious, they agree to a sham betrothal--Ian knows Bianca is guilty, and gives her one week to offer some explanation. If she fails, he can denounce her, she will be executed, and he will be no worse off. Bianca feels certain she can track down the real killer within the week, and finds Ian's home a convenient place to dissect the body and base her investigation.

Here's where the steamy part comes in to play. Ian, who had been deeply burned by his ex-flame Morgana da Gigio, can't help but feel attracted to his fake fiancée's beauty, but he refuses to acknowledge the pull she exerts on his heart. Bianca is eager to try out the knowledge she has gleaned from her prostitute friends, and Morgana, the beautiful ex, is using her sexual powers to manipulate everyone within reach of her perfume.

As Bianca closes in on the killer, Ian struggles with the battle between his head and his heart. Though their compatibility in bed is undeniable, the two's fragile bond is strained by the increasing dangers--explosions, more murders, seductions, executions, seven giants, and a dwarf flush out the mystery.

While a few historical inaccuracies surface, the overall flow and quick pace, not to mention Jaffe's charming characters and a few choice, steamy sections that should make you blush, make for a fine debut from a fresh new voice . --Nancy R.E. O'Brien

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:18 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A romance in Renaissance Venice between Count Ian Foscari and Bianca Salvo, a doctor's daughter. They stumble on a murder, hide the body, and while he turns detective to find the killer, she uses the opportunity to dissect the victim for a book she is writing on anatomy.… (more)

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