The Virgins of Venice transports readers to a time period where no place is safe from secrets and scandals.


The Description

Publication Date: December 13, 2022

In sixteenth-century Venice, one young noblewoman dares to resist the choices made for her

Venice in 1509 is on the brink of war. The displeasure of Pope Julius II is a continuing threat to the republic, as is the barely contained fighting in the countryside. Amid this turmoil, noblewoman Justina Soranzo, just sixteen, hopes to make a rare love marriage with her sweetheart, Luca Cicogna. Her hopes are dashed when her father decides her younger sister, Rosa, will marry in a strategic alliance and Justina will be sent to the San Zaccaria convent, in the tradition of aristocratic daughters. Lord Soranzo is not acting only to protect his family. It’s well known that he is in debt to both his trading partners and the most infamous courtesan in the city, La Diamante, and the pressure is closing in.

After arriving at the convent, Justina takes solace in her aunt Livia, one of the nuns, and in the growing knowledge that all is not strictly devout at San Zaccaria. Justina is shocked to discover how the women of the convent find their own freedom in what seems to her like a prison. But secrets and scandals breach the convent walls, and Justina learns there may be even worse fates for her than the veil, if La Diamante makes good on her threats.

Desperate to protect herself and the ones she loves, Justina turns to Luca for help. She finds she must trust her own heart to make the impossible decisions that may save or ruin them all.

The Review

During the 16th century, men dictated the fate of women, first as a father and then as a husband. For women of nobility, their feelings about these decisions were irrelevant.

Author Gina Buonaguro introduces readers to the Soranzo sisters in The Virgins of Venice. Justina, 16, and Rosa, 13, find themselves sentenced to unexpected fates by their father.

Told from Justina’s point of view, the story highlights the impact of social and religious guidelines during this timeframe. While Justina had envisioned a marriage with a young nobleman, she was sent to the convent. Young Rosa, as was the custom, was married to a man old enough to be her father.

Rich with historical detail, Venice comes to life during a time of great political unrest and increased scrutiny regarding the behavior of nuns. The characters provide a backdrop to illustrate different types of relationships.

Through it all, Justina puts her thoughts on paper in an effort to voice the desire for freedom. Ultimately, she must make a gut-wrenching choice.

The Virgins of Venice transports readers to a time period where no place is safe from secrets and scandals.Buy Links

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About The AuthorGINA BUONAGURO is the co-author of The Wolves of St. PetersCiao Bella and The Sidewalk Artist, as well as several romance titles under the name Meadow Taylor. The Virgins of Venice is her first solo novel. She has a BA in English from Villanova University in Pennsylvania and earned an MA in English from the University of British Columbia while on a Fulbright Scholarship. Born in New Jersey, Gina Buonaguro lives in Toronto.



Amy Wilson
Amy Wilson
My name is Amy W., and I am a book addict. I will never forget the day I came home from junior high school to find my mom waiting for me with one of the Harlequin novels from my stash. As she was gearing up for the "you shouldn't be reading this" lecture, I told her the characters get married in the end. I'm just glad she didn't find the Bertrice Small book hidden in my closet. I have diverse reading tastes, evident by the wide array of genres on my Kindle. As I made the transition to an e-reader, I found myself worrying that something could happen to it. As a result, I am now the proud owner of four Kindles -- all different kinds, but plenty of back-ups! "Fifty Shades of Grey" gets high marks on my favorites list -- not for character development or dialogue (definitely not!), but because it blazed new ground for those of us who believe provocative fiction is more than just an explicit cover. Sylvia Day, Lexie Blake, and Kristin Hannah are some of my favorite authors. Speaking of diverse tastes, I also enjoy Dean Koontz, Iris Johansen, and J.A. Konrath. I’m always ready to discover new-to-me authors, especially when I toss in a palate cleanser that is much different than what I would normally read. Give me something with a well-defined storyline, add some suspense (or spice), and I am a happy reader. Give me a happily ever after, and I am downright giddy.


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The Virgins of Venice transports readers to a time period where no place is safe from secrets and scandals.5-STAR REVIEW: THE VIRGINS OF VENICE by Gina Buonaguro