Sixteen-year-old Silvano da Montacuto has wealth, good looks, a new hawk–and an infatuation with a merchant’s wife. When a man is murdered in his town, Silvano’s bloody dagger is found, and he is accused of the crime. For his own protection, he is sent to a Franciscan House, where he poses as a novice, or a young monk. There, he lays eyes on Chiara, a lovely novice at the nearby Abbey of the Poor Claires. Both Chiara and Silvano are put to work mixing paint pigments for a nearby basilica. But murder seems to have followed Silvano, and soon several other dead bodies turn up. Who is committing the crimes? Will a young man accused of multiple murders be able to clear himself? And what about the girl he adores? Fans of Mary Hoffman’s critically acclaimed Stravaganza series won’t be disappointed in the romance, colorful web of intrigue, and rich, marvelous setting–a Name of the Rose for teens!
When I was about ten or eleven, I discovered Mary Hoffman’s Stravaganza series and I fell in love with the series. It was awesome and I couldn’t get enough of it. Ever since then, I’ve kept an eye out for her other books. When I picked this up from the library, I was so excited to read it and I definitely enjoyed this one. It might not be my favourite book by Hoffman, but I did like it a lot.
The main reason that I enjoyed it so much was the fact that it was a murder mystery, which is a genre I’ve always loved. The whole book kept me guessing about who the actual murderer was and I was quite surprised when it was revealed at the end. There were definitely some great twists in this book which added a lot to the story.
The actual story in the book was very interesting but it could have focused more on the murder mystery side, instead of what was going on in the characters’ personal lives. Although I enjoyed reading about them, I wanted to know more about the suspects and I wish I’d had more of a chance to figure out who the murderer was. In addition, the book tended to swap between character point of views a lot and it really annoyed me. For example, it would focus on Silvano for about a page before moving to Chiara for a page and then it would switch to the artists.
Although the scene changes did annoy me, I did like the characters. There were plenty of them to get to know and they were all a lot of fun. They did feel a bit flat sometimes, but Chiara and Silvano were definitely interesting. I especially liked Silvano, and I felt so sorry for him as he tried to cope with all the craziness that was suddenly going on in his life. Chiara was also a lot of fun, and I liked that her inquisitive nature led her to try and figure out exactly what was going on.
There were some really pretty descriptions in this book too which really made the settings come to life. This book was a lot of fun to read, and it quickly took me into the world of medieval Italy.