Sunday, June 23, 2024

Review: A Daughter of Fair Verona by Christina Dodd

A Daughter of Fair Verona by Christina Dodd
Series: Daughter of Montague, Book 1
Publisher: Kensington (A John Scognamiglio Book)
Genre: Historical Mystery/Romantic Comedy 
A Daughter of Fair Verona cover
ISBN: 9781496750167
Release Date: June 25, 2024
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible
Christina Dodd Reading Order

Once upon a time a young couple met and fell in love. You probably know that story, and how it ended (hint: badly). Only here’s the thing: That’s not how it ended at all.

Romeo and Juliet are alive and well and the parents of seven kids. I’m the oldest, with the emphasis on ‘old’—a certified spinster at twenty, and happy to stay that way. It’s not easy to keep your taste for romance with parents like mine. Picture it—constant monologues, passionate declarations, fighting, making up, making out…it’s exhausting.

Each time they’ve presented me with a betrothal, I’ve set out to find the groom-to-be a more suitable bride. After all, someone sensible needs to stay home and manage this household. But their latest match, Duke Stephano, isn’t so easy to palm off on anyone else. The debaucher has had three previous wives—all of whom met unfortunate ends. Conscience forbids me from consigning another woman to that fate. As it turns out, I don’t have to…

At our betrothal ball—where, quite by accident, I meet a beautiful young man who makes me wonder if perhaps there is something to love at first sight—I stumble upon Duke Stephano with a dagger in his chest. But who killed him? His late wives’ families, his relatives, his mistress, his servants—half of Verona had motive. And when everyone around the Duke begins dying, disappearing, or descending into madness, I know I must uncover the killer…before death lies on me like an untimely frost.

What if Romeo and Juliet had escaped the tragic fate Shakespeare wrote for them and instead lived on and were now the parents of seven children? Christina Dodd takes that idea and spins it into a charming tale starring Rosie, the famed couple’s eldest daughter. A Daughter of Fair Verona is a historical mystery that’s modern, irreverent, and sprightly in tone.

With parents like Romeo and Juliet, Rosie has grown up with passion, drama, monologues, poetry…and it’s made her the sensible one. She’s avoided marriage by turning each of her suitors onto a more suitable bride and it’s worked out well for her so far. Then comes a betrothal she can’t escape – one to a horrible duke rumored to have murdered his last three wives. Except at her betrothal ball the odious duke is found dead. Only the swift intervention of the podestà of Venice keeps her from being a suspect but the danger is only just beginning. Mysterious deaths seem to be following the case and Rosie wants to discover who is behind it before danger befalls her family. A Daughter of Fair Verona was a bit slow to start but once the mystery took hold I was hooked. Dodd’s writing was fast-paced and yes, fun, despite the murder and poison abounding in Rosie’s fair Verona. I liked watching Rosie put the pieces of the puzzle together and the result was a satisfying mystery.

While Rosie pretends to disdain poetry and passion, she secretly yearns for it, which is where the romance comes in. Or rather, the start of it with a love triangle. There’s no resolution to who will win Rosie’s heart – the dashing choice or the more enigmatic (and to me, far more interesting) one – as Dodd ends things on a cliffhanger there. But I’ll be interested to see how things play out in the next Daughter of Montague book.

A Daughter of Fair Verona is a fun start to a new series. The Montagues are a bold, fun, loving family and their friends and allies are intriguing. I was satisfied with how this story ended but I am looking forward to exploring more of Rosie’s world.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.