August 08, 2014 by Valerie Laub
“It was as if she held innumerable secrets, and she held them like a temptation and a challenge — discover what I know, and I can show you the world. I could not imagine anyone walking away from her,” author Megan Chance wrote regarding Odile Leon, one of the main characters in her latest novel, “Inamorata,” released Aug. 1.
“Inamorata”is an enchanting tale of how people’s desires have the ability to take over their entire life. Chance uses the main characters — Sophie, Nicholas and Odile — to tell the story of Odile in 19th-century Venice, Italy, and creates an exciting page-turner for her readers.
Odile is a young girl who wants more than anything for her name to be remembered. Her story begins when she is offered the opportunity to fall in love with an artist and become his muse. However, in order to do so, she first has to find him. Odile quickly realizes that her enchanting and breathtaking beauty is only going to hurt the artists that she falls in love with. When one of Odile’s first lovers, Nicholas, does not live up to becoming a famous artist by using her as his muse, he sets out to stop her from ruining the lives of other artists in the city.
Nicholas meets twins, Sophie and Joseph Hannigan, who come to Venice in search of recognition and support for Joseph’s magnificent art. They quickly become friendly with one another, and the talent and beauty of the twins captivates Nicholas, but Odile finds her way to them as well.
The most interesting aspect of this novel is that the genre cannot be pinpointed to one category. While the novel could primarily be categorized as historical fiction, it is much more than that. Chance successfully creates a dark and gloomy atmosphere in Venice, providing clear and accurate descriptions of how the city was in that time period. However, the novel is also filled with romance, horror, fantasy and dreamlike events.
If you decide to pick up the novel, two things will happen. First, you are going to want to put it down because the narration of the beginning chapters does not tell you the whole story, and it is unclear as to what is going on. Second, you are going to want to keep reading to find out the whole story, an urge that Chance instills in her readers by weaving together bits and pieces from the past and present.
Personally, I have never been a fan of historical fiction novels because they are dry and tend to reiterate facts rather than blending them into the story, but Chance strikes a fascinating balance between fantasy and reality.
While this novel has an attention-grabbing premise, it might not be for every reader out there. There are some very graphic descriptions of events that can be hard to swallow. If I were to rank this novel, I would give it four out of five stars. The story was engaging and filled with immense detail that kept me wanting more, but at times Chance’s language was too modern for the time period in which the story is set. If you’re looking for a novel filled with suspense and allure, then the magic of “Inamorata” is the perfect summer read.