- Paperback: 339 pages
- Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (September 22, 2015)
Set in 1884, The Visitant paints an unforgettable portrait of a decaying city and the secrets that lurk in its dark, crumbling corners. Elena Spira has arrived there to take up the duties of nurse to a young epileptic man who has descended to the depths both physically and psychologically. Samuel Farber wants none of Elena’s help as he wallows in a laudanum-triggered haze of hallucinations. Samuel speaks of visits from a spirit, seemingly wild claims that Elena first rejects as drug-fueled. But, the truth is far more sinister. When Samuel’s best friend and host, Nero Basilio, arrives, Elena finds herself drawn to this charming man as he shows her the hidden delights of Venice. But there are dark forces at play—forces that Elena cannot begin to comprehend. Casa Basilio possesses a tragic history, and a ghost whose presence may be driving Samuel to madness.
The Visitant finds Megan Chance working at the peak of her storytelling powers.
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Elena Spira is sent to a decaying palazzo in Venice to take care of an ailing but rich epilepsy patient, Samuel Faber. This banishment is Elena’s punishment and possible redemption after Elena makes a mistake with a patient at her father’s asylum. If she is able to rehabilitate Samuel in time for his wedding, Elena’s favor will be restored and her father will receive his own asylum from Samuel’s father. When Elena arrives, she is not exactly welcomed by the staff, Madame Basilio or her patient. Elena tries her best with Samuel, but it seems as if another force has a hold on him besides epilepsy. As Elena learns more about the fate of the house from Nero Basilio, she begins to believe that a ghost might be responsible for Samuel’s torment.
I absolutely love Megan Chance’s blend of historical fiction, the supernatural and mystery. From the very beginning when Elena sets foot into the gloomy Ca’ Basilio the scene is set to be ominous and treacherous, but in the otherwise beautiful city of Venice. The multiple mysteries layered together dragged me in farther, what is Elena running from? Is there really a spirit in Ca’Basilio? What are Samuel and Nero and Madame Basilio hiding from? Each of the characters are masterfully drawn, each with their own tragedy that just made me like them even more. The supernatural aspect was artfully woven in, with hints here and there and a huge surprise as to what the spirit wanted out of all of the madness that it had created. When it was all over with, I felt that it was too soon to leave these characters and I really wanted to know more of their journey, but that is truly my only complaint.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Megan Chance is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author of historical fiction, including Inamorata, Bone River, and City of Ash. Her novels have been chosen for the Borders Original Voices and Book Sense programs. A former television news photographer and graduate of Western Washington University, Chance lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters.
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