in the UK
A fiction debut that shimmers with sensuality and evokes a magical time and place, Michele Jaffe's "The Stargazer" is one of the most talked-about novels of the year. A warm and witty love story laced with mesmerizing intrigue, an unforgettable adventure set against the dazzling and utterly romantic landscape of Renaissance Venice, this wonderful novel marks the arrival of a splendid new storytelling talent. Bianca Salva, the brilliant and beautiful daughter of a renowned doctor, defies the conventions of the day by practicing medicine among the poor in her city. When she arrives at the home of a young courtesan, she is shocked to find a tragic scene: the lady has been murdered, stabbed with a dagger bearing the coat of arms of Ian Foscari, a handsome aristocrat renowned throughout Britain and Europe for his courageous escapades and his romantic conquests. Clutching the shining dagger, Bianca looks up to see none other than Ian Foscari himself. In a heartbeat, the dashing Ian draws the obvious conclusion that he's caught the murderer redhanded. Bianca, meanwhile, mistrusts Ian and presumes he is guilty of the bloody killing. Determined not to let this dangerous albeit alluring woman out of his sight, Ian quickly spirits Bianca back to his palace, where he will announce to society that she is his fiancee -- a plan that conveniently satisfies his family's insistence that he find a wife. And while clever Bianca knows the scheme will allow them time to determine the real murderer, it is nearly unbearable to be held "prisoner" by this imperious, though starkly sensual, man. But the light of suspicion leaves them nowhere to hide. Now, what began as a necessary arrangement fortheir quest for the truth becomes its own kind of intriguing partnership -- a heated match of wits with an undeniable, irresistible passion at its core. Stepping carefully among secrets of murder and betrayal, and breathless whispers of desire, Bianca finds herself the linchpin in a conspiracy where love may be her only hope...or the greatest danger of all. With sureness and sensitivity, talented newcomer Michele Jaffe deftly captures a fascinating historical era...and the ageless desires of the human heart.
Simon & Schuster
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