Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Saffron Crocus by Alison McMahan

Winner of the 2014 Rosemary Award for Best Historical for Young Adults.

Venice, 1643. Isabella, fifteen, 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. 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 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.


 Publication Date: December 13, 2014
Black Opal Books
eBook; 306p
Genre: Young Adult/Historical Mystery/Romance
 
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ebook provided as part of tour
****

What a fun and interesting mystery.  I used to read a lot of young adult fiction and this book is just a reminder of why I enjoyed them so much, add in the historical element and I was taken back to Venice, 1643. 

Isabella is only 15 years old but I loved her spunk, her desires and her strong nature.  It wasn't hard to get to know her and feel how passionate she is about her singing.  Rafaele took me a little longer to warm to, but then given his background he had some huddles to overcome. 

Reading the author's note it was interesting to discover that most of the characters are real historical figures and when combined with the vivid details of life in Venice made me enjoy the book more.  Some of the customs of the day, no female singers in choirs, burial in canals, persecutors of Jews, showed the authors knowledge of the time period.  

With a pace that flowed smoothly along this book had all the ingredients for a good mystery/suspense story, it kept me intrigued right to the end. Everything clicked into place with a satisfying ending that will appeal to not just young adults but all ages.

 

 

Excerpt

Who knew a singing career would be this much trouble?

“Rafaele!” She flew into the garret. “Piero, it was so wonderful, wait until I tell you!”
The stool next to the bed was knocked over. The tray with the genepy bottle was on the floor, one of the cups broken. The fat candle that had been burning next to Rafaele’s bed had been flung to the other side of the room.. Canvases were strewn all over the floor, some of them slashed, and many of Master Strozzi’s jars of paint elements were broken.

Did Piero and Rafaele have a fight? She quickly suppressed the thought. Who would get into a fight with a man who was already injured?
Something else must have happened.
She walked across the garret. “Piero? Rafaele, are you here?”

Rafaele was not in the bed. The sheets and blankets she had piled on top of him were strewn everywhere. Blood-stained sheets spilled over the edge of the pallet. There was a pile of clothes on the floor.
She walked around to get a closer look.

Not clothes. It was Piero. Face down, one arm stretched out before him, as if in supplication.
A puddle of blood under him.
Dead.

 

Praise for The Saffron Crocus

“I adored this beautifully written, passionate book. The Saffron Crocus is a glittering, thrilling opera of a novel that plucked my heartstrings and kept me reading at fever pitch. Brava, Alison McMahan! Encore!” -Nancy Holder, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Wicked Saga

 

Buy the eBook

Black Opal Books
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Alison McMahan chased footage for her documentaries through jungles in Honduras and Cambodia, favelas in Brazil and racetracks in the U.S. She brings the same sense of adventure to her award-winning books of historical mystery and romantic adventure for teens and adults. Her latest publication is The Saffron Crocus, a historical mystery for young. Murder, Mystery & Music in 17th Century Venice.

She loves hearing from readers!

 

 

 

Author Links

Webpage for The Saffron Crocus
AlisonMcMahanAuthor.com
AlisonMcMahan.com
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The Saffron Crocus Blog Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, April 13
Book Blast at Genre Queen
Thursday, April 16
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Friday, April 17
Interview at Mythical Books
Monday, April 20
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, April 21
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Wednesday, April 22
Guest Post at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Tuesday, April 28
Book Blast at A Literary Vacation
Wednesday, April 29
Guest Post & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Tuesday, May 5
Review at Book Nerd
Wednesday, May 6
Review at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, May 7
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Friday, May 8
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Saturday, May 9
Book Blast at Romantic Historical Lovers
Tuesday, May 12
Review at The True Book Addict
Wednesday, May 13
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection
Thursday, May 14
Review at Book Babe
Guest Post at What Is That Book About
Monday, May 25
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Wednesday, May 27
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, May 28
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Monday, June 1
Review at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, June 2
Guest Post at The Maiden’s Court
Friday, June 5
Spotlight & Giveaway at Jorie Loves a Story

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