Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Saffron Crocus by Alison McMahan

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Obtained from: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Read: May 16, 2015

Venice, 1643. Fifteen-year-old Isabella longs to sing in Monteverdi’s Choir, but only boys (and castrati) can do that. Her singing teacher, Margherita, introduces her to a new wonder: opera! Then Isabella finds Margherita murdered. And now people keep trying to kill Margherita’s handsome rogue of a son, Rafaele. Was Margherita killed so someone could steal her saffron business? Or was it a disgruntled lover, as Margherita—unbeknownst to Isabella—was one of Venice’s wealthiest courtesans? Or will Isabella and Rafaele find the answer deep in Margherita's past, buried in the Jewish Ghetto? Isabella has to solve the mystery of the Saffron Crocus fast, before Rafaele hangs for a murder he didn’t commit, though she fears the truth will drive her and the man she loves irrevocably apart.

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I was of two minds going into Alison McMahan's The Saffron Crocus. On one hand, I have a hit and miss relationship with young adult fiction and was worried the book wouldn't work for me. On the other, I was intrigued by the premise and curious to see if the author could make such a story work. 

Looking back, I can easily say I lucked out with the book and found it quite satisfying. McMahan's is well-rounded and memorable, but the mystery at the heart of the story makes the piece. The amount of historic detail also stuck a chord with me and I was fascinated at the level of authentic detail the author was able to squeeze into the narrative. 

Beautifully imagined and thoroughly engaging, The Saffron Crocus was well worth the time I spent with it. A wonderful story for both young adult and mature audiences.  

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It was Piero. Face down, one arm stretched out before him, as if in supplication. A puddle of blood under him. Dead.
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1 comment:

Audra said...

I love the title, cover, and premise -- so glad you enjoyed this one. I'm adding it to my TBR!