Image of The Rossetti Letter


Image of The Rossetti Letter

Phillips' debut novel of suspense explores one woman's quest for the truth as she attempts to unearth a 17th-century courtesan's role in the 1618 Spanish Conspiracy. The author's richly detailed plot moves between present-day and 17th-century Venice, setting the stage for a complex web of intrigue enhanced by captivating characters.

American Claire Donovan travels to Venice to complete her dissertation on Alessandra Rossetti, a 17th-century courtesan who allegedly exposed the 1618 Spanish Conspiracy, in which officials of Spain plotted with some Venetians to pillage Venice before bringing it under Spanish rule. Claire meets fellow historian Andrew Kent and soon discovers that they are both researching the same events.

As they join forces, Claire and Andrew try to find out if Alessandra merely exposed the conspiracy or was a co-conspirator. As the plot alternates between the 21st and 17th centuries, the life and loves of Alessandra are revealed, and the truth about her role in the conspiracy finally comes to light. (Pocket, Mar., 352 pp., $24.00)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick