Saturday, 8 October 2011

Bacon and Eggs and Venice

I have just served my last portion of bacon and eggs for the season; my partner has just baked her last scones. We run a B&B on the West Coast of Canada six months of the year, March through September. This year we’ve served more than 700 breakfasts. That’s a lot of eggs, as well as a lot of bed making and loads of laundry. But it was all worth it. Now we reap the benefits. We get to throw clothes into our carry-on suitcases and head for the airport.

This year we’re again starting in Venice, the scene of the denouement of The Memory of Roses. I will get to walk and traverse the canals in vaporetti and gondolas, the path my heroine, Brit, took after her shocking discoveries about her father’s past as she rushes back to the arms of her lover, Andreas.
It is no accident that I chose Venice for this important scene in my book. It is a city so breathtakingly beautiful, so dramatic in each and every vista that it calls out for mystery and romance. It is a setting just waiting for a story, as countless famous authors in the past have realized.
The Memory of Roses is set on the Greek island of Corfu, but in the following scene, Andreas and Brit have just arrived in Venice.

“I think you’ll like this place,” Andreas explained. “I always stay here when I come to Venice.”
They climbed a long flight of stairs to the pensione and were shown to a small, comfortably furnished room on the front.
Brit went to the tall windows, looked out and drew in her breath sharply.
Andreas came up behind her and encircled her with his arms. “I think this is the most beautiful view in Venice,” he said.
She leaned against him. Together they gazed across the Grand Canal, to the magnificent colonnaded marble church and monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore on its own small island in the Lagoon. Below them the waters teamed with vaporetti, private motor launches and boats filled with produce heading for the market, water taxis, and, slipping silently among them, beautiful black gondolas decorated in gold and red, some hundreds of years old, navigated by striped shirted gondoliers wearing the same traditional straw hats they had worn for generations.
Andreas said, “This is the reason I prefer this little guest house to any of the larger hotels in Venice. I know of none of them with such a view of Venice.  Just wait until you see it at sunset.”
“Can we go for a walk?” Brit asked. “I want to see the Piazza San Marco. I’ve wanted to see it all my life, but somehow, I never wanted to come here alone. If any city was meant for lovers, I think Venice is.”

When her father dies, Brit McQuaid inherits a villa on the beautiful island of Corfu, a villa she knew nothing about.  He also left a cryptic note asking that she deliver a package to a woman on Corfu with whom he was once in love, while married to Brit’s mother.

This launches a journey for Brit, taking her from San Francisco to Greece and Italy.  Along the way she meets a sizzling Greek archaeologist who not only helps her unravel a powerful secret from the past, but shows her the path to her own future.  After this adventure, Brit’s life will be changed forever.

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Blair McDowell