• rosetree_bookreviewer

The Lost Diary of Venice by Margaux DeRoux

A book about art history, love, secretes and war


In present day Connecticut, book store owner and book restorer, Rose Newlin is approached by William Lomazzo about restoring a book from 1571. The book turns out to be a palimpsest - a secret document in which the author writes text, then scrapes it away, then covers it with a new text written crosswise against the old text.

In Venice in 1571, artist Giovanni Lomazzo is losing his eyesight. He gets commissioned by a high ranking military official to paint one of his favorite courtesans, a stunning and talented woman named Chiara. As Giovanni's fear of losing his sight increases, he begins to record his daily life.

As the story unfolds, two forbidden love stories will be explored amid a backdrop of art history and war.

My thoughts/feelings: I absolutely adore books that show how connected the past and present are. Even though technology and beliefs may differ centuries later, the personal stories of people are often very similar. Margaux Deroux does a beautiful job of showcasing this in her book The Lost Diary of Venice.

As an avid reader and full time book reviewer, I also love when characters are completely immersed in the book community. Rose's character owns a book store and has an obsession with restoring old texts. I was immediately in love with her story line. The scandal and suspense of the courtesan world combined with the skill and talent of the art world in Venice also kept me completely entranced in this book.

I also enjoyed the themes of female empowerment with Chiara being able to read and being a female composer. There's also a scene where Chiara and Gio listen to Maddalena Casulana read her compositions - the first published by a woman (I didn't check if this part is fact or fiction, so when I say first, that is from the story, not from historical research).

I would love to see this book turned into a movie. The imagery would be amazing on the big screen.

Favorite Quotes:

"You create art, I create conversation."

"If my secret's safe with you, yours is with me."

"When the student is ready, the master will appear."

"We all love a good love story."


Thank you to NetGalley, Ballantine Books, and Margaux DeRoux for the advanced copy of The Lost Diary of Venice in exchange for my honest review.

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