• Title: Masquerade
  • Author: Kylie Fornasier
  • Category: Young Adult
  • Publisher: Penguin Australia 2014
  • Pages: 304 Pages
  • My Rating: 4 stars
  • Book courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley

    Summary: It’s the Carnevale of 1750 and Venice’s ballrooms, theatres, palazzos and squares are filled with delicious gossip, devilish fun and dangerous games. In this glittering masked world, everyone has a secret. Set in an age of decadence made famous by Casanova, Masquerade uncovers the secrets of seven teens, from the highest aristocrat to the lowest servant – their dreams, desires, loves, loyalties … and betrayals. All the world’s a stage. Let the show begin.

My Review: I was really excited to read this book – the premise had me hooked straight away, and after reading the beautiful opening line I couldn’t wait to read it! It reminded me of my first glimpses of Venice on a family trip five years ago.

‘In a city shrouded in secrets, it was only fitting that Orelia’s first view of Venice was shrouded in fog.’

I loved the strong independent women portrayed in Masquerade and the secretive and elaborate society of 18th century Venice. There is something almost magical about Venice and its history, which Kylie’s extensive research lends itself to. The beautiful descriptions of opulent Venice, the gowns and masks and secrets, intrigues and gossip was delicious to read (yes delicious!). I wanted to wear those gowns, design my own feathered sequined mask and conceal myself within the streets and waterways of Venice to see what secrets I could find. Kylie Fornasier has filled the pages of Masquerade with images that came to life – and having visited Venice and experienced its allure – I found she has captured it, and the historical details wonderfully well.

I was intrigued from the first page with Orelia – a country girl, orphaned when her mother dies suddenly, she arrives in Venice in search of her only family, her Uncle – a wealthy aristocrat who insists she keep her true identity hidden because of the secrets surrounding her mothers past. Orelia arrives on the first day of Carnivale and is quickly drawn into the excitement of balls, costumes and masks, but yearns to find out why her mother fled Venice years before.

From here we are introduced to the points of view of Orelia’s cousins – Angelique, who is desperate to ensnare and marry Bastian, the Doges son, and Veronica who despises marriage and reveals some of Venice’s secrets within her artworks to suit her own needs. Anna is the maid, who dreams of singing opera but hides a painful secret, Bastian the Doges son is a lover of all women and handsome rogue who gambles for fun, but longs for a destiny different to the one laid out for him. Claudia is the daughter of disgraced aristocrat who is pushed by her meddling mother to marry Bastian and secure their families name into the Golden Book, but loves another.

Each character has their own secrets and desires, as does the whole of Venice it seems! Each character grows throughout the novel, there is pain and pleasures for some, and hardship and tragedy for others, but through this they learn about themselves and grow stronger for it – except for one, who the twisting plots and intrigues of Venice are too much.

I loved the multiple points of view in this book. Kylie Fornasier has written the various protagonists beautifully and seamlessly. I really enjoyed each chapter from the different viewpoints and wasn’t frustrated as I often am when a novel switches from a character I’m enjoying – to one I’m not so interested in, and I find myself skipping ahead. This is not so in Masquerade, each chapter was like a Vignette, little snapshots of each characters life and each story weaved together and intertwined to create a thoroughly enjoyable, suspenseful read.

I hope to see more from the world of Masquerade! Please let there be a Book 2!

Buy this book: Bookworld, Booktopia, Readings or download from iBooks or Amazon.

Author Bio:As a teacher librarian, Kylie Fornasier is in touch with what kids like to read, as well as being passionate about helping them enjoy that reading experience as much as she can. Kylie has won a number of writing awards, and already has a published chapter book and a soon-to-be published picture book with other major publishers. She is a strong believer in practicing what she preaches when it comes to her writing and so runs a writers’ group with the NSW Writer’s Centre and another in Penrith. Kylie lives in western Sydney.

For more information see Kylie’s website HERE or Penguin Australia

 Read all of my Book Reviews HERE

If you like Young Adult fiction you may like these as well:

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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