Hot Best Seller

The Dark Heart of Florence

Availability: Ready to download

Critically acclaimed author Tasha Alexander transports readers to the legendary city of Florence, where Lady Emily and Colin solve a murder with clues leading back to the time of the Medici. In 1903, tensions between Britain and Germany are starting to loom over Europe, something that has not gone unnoticed by Lady Emily and her husband, Colin Hargreaves. An agent of the Cr Critically acclaimed author Tasha Alexander transports readers to the legendary city of Florence, where Lady Emily and Colin solve a murder with clues leading back to the time of the Medici. In 1903, tensions between Britain and Germany are starting to loom over Europe, something that has not gone unnoticed by Lady Emily and her husband, Colin Hargreaves. An agent of the Crown, Colin carries the weight of the Empire, but his focus is drawn to Italy by a series of burglaries at his daughter’s palazzo in Florence—burglaries that have caught the attention of his superiors. He and Emily travel to Tuscany, where they are greeted by a shocking death. Undaunted, they investigate, discovering that the house hides ominous secrets dating back to the days of the Medici—secrets unexpectedly pertinent in the troubled days of the early twentieth century, an uneasy time full of intrigue, duplicity, and warring ideologies. With the assistance of Darius Benton-Stone, Colin’s trusted colleague and fellow agent, they race to untangle the cryptic clues leading them through the Renaissance city. But an unimagined danger follows closely behind, and much more than a family home is at stake…


Compare

Critically acclaimed author Tasha Alexander transports readers to the legendary city of Florence, where Lady Emily and Colin solve a murder with clues leading back to the time of the Medici. In 1903, tensions between Britain and Germany are starting to loom over Europe, something that has not gone unnoticed by Lady Emily and her husband, Colin Hargreaves. An agent of the Cr Critically acclaimed author Tasha Alexander transports readers to the legendary city of Florence, where Lady Emily and Colin solve a murder with clues leading back to the time of the Medici. In 1903, tensions between Britain and Germany are starting to loom over Europe, something that has not gone unnoticed by Lady Emily and her husband, Colin Hargreaves. An agent of the Crown, Colin carries the weight of the Empire, but his focus is drawn to Italy by a series of burglaries at his daughter’s palazzo in Florence—burglaries that have caught the attention of his superiors. He and Emily travel to Tuscany, where they are greeted by a shocking death. Undaunted, they investigate, discovering that the house hides ominous secrets dating back to the days of the Medici—secrets unexpectedly pertinent in the troubled days of the early twentieth century, an uneasy time full of intrigue, duplicity, and warring ideologies. With the assistance of Darius Benton-Stone, Colin’s trusted colleague and fellow agent, they race to untangle the cryptic clues leading them through the Renaissance city. But an unimagined danger follows closely behind, and much more than a family home is at stake…

30 review for The Dark Heart of Florence

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    This was a Goodreads giveaway win so many thanks to them and to Minotaur Books for the ARC of this book. This is a gorgeous cover, even nicer in person. When I was notified that I'd won I wondered what had possessed me to enter a giveaway for the 15th book in a series. In the meantime I got book 2 from the library to get a feel for the characters and it seems that each book can stand on its own so I didn't feel like I was floundering at all. This book takes place in 1903 and, since Book 2, Lady E This was a Goodreads giveaway win so many thanks to them and to Minotaur Books for the ARC of this book. This is a gorgeous cover, even nicer in person. When I was notified that I'd won I wondered what had possessed me to enter a giveaway for the 15th book in a series. In the meantime I got book 2 from the library to get a feel for the characters and it seems that each book can stand on its own so I didn't feel like I was floundering at all. This book takes place in 1903 and, since Book 2, Lady Emily has married her long-time beau Colin Hargreaves (an agent of the Crown) and they, along with Emily's champagne-drinking friend Cecile, are currently staying at Colin's daughter's palazzo in Florence. I guess the discovery of said daughter is a whole other book! Shortly after their arrival a body falls from the rooftop of the villa and the game is afoot, as Sherlock would say. Emily and Cecile's investigation becomes entwined with Colin's assignment and leads to more dead bodies and to the discovery that Colin's daughter's house hides many secrets. Once again I'm impressed with the research that obviously went into this book. The story flips back and forth between 1903 and the 1400s and I enjoyed both timelines. Although it's not a genre I'm all that fond of, I recommend the book, especially if you're a fan of lady sleuths in Victorian times and later. 3.5 Stars! Expected Publication: October 19, 2021

  2. 4 out of 5

    Barb in Maryland

    I'm not quite ready to give up on this author, but her recent story-telling decisions are making it difficult for me to sink into her books. I loved the first books so much... Sigh... I ended up skimming this one, as, once again, I was not invested in the alternate story, except as it directly affected the Lady Emily/Colin story. I had the same problem with her last book, In the Shadow of Vesuvius, and several other of her more recent books. Her decision to alternate chapters between the two stor I'm not quite ready to give up on this author, but her recent story-telling decisions are making it difficult for me to sink into her books. I loved the first books so much... Sigh... I ended up skimming this one, as, once again, I was not invested in the alternate story, except as it directly affected the Lady Emily/Colin story. I had the same problem with her last book, In the Shadow of Vesuvius, and several other of her more recent books. Her decision to alternate chapters between the two storylines just sucks all of the tension from the 'modern' mystery featuring our two main characters. I certainly have no right to tell the author how to tell her stories. All I can say is that her books no longer work for me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    The Library Lady

    In recent books Alexander' has played a little game of switching from a story in the past to what's going on in Emily's present. It hasn't worked well. I've read authors where it does, but not here Emily's character now seems to have been phoned in,.Celeste has become incredibly annoying--she needs to drink less champagne and stop calling Emily "Kallista," and Colin is a boring cypher. There just wasn't enough here to hold my undivided attention. I think I am through with this series and probabl In recent books Alexander' has played a little game of switching from a story in the past to what's going on in Emily's present. It hasn't worked well. I've read authors where it does, but not here Emily's character now seems to have been phoned in,.Celeste has become incredibly annoying--she needs to drink less champagne and stop calling Emily "Kallista," and Colin is a boring cypher. There just wasn't enough here to hold my undivided attention. I think I am through with this series and probably was already done with them several books back.

  4. 5 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    Lady Emily shows the way again! Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves head to Florence to investigate robberies at his daughter’s palazzo in Florence. Just after they arrive a man falls to his death from the roof. It’s 1903 and tensions are rising between Germany and England, Colin as an agent of the Crown has government affairs to distill particularly given the death. He’s assisted by his associate Darius Benton-Stone. Emily can’t be involved in affairs of state. (Have to love the relationship between Lady Emily shows the way again! Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves head to Florence to investigate robberies at his daughter’s palazzo in Florence. Just after they arrive a man falls to his death from the roof. It’s 1903 and tensions are rising between Germany and England, Colin as an agent of the Crown has government affairs to distill particularly given the death. He’s assisted by his associate Darius Benton-Stone. Emily can’t be involved in affairs of state. (Have to love the relationship between Colin and Emily!) Emily is decidedly put out, however her friend Cécile (who’s amazing!!) joins her in rather interesting methods of investigating the matter. What they run into is the widely held belief that there’s treasure hidden in the palazzo and that all treasure seekers will die. (Hence the obviousness of the death that’s just happened). Rather than deterring these two very clever women it spurs them on to not only get to the bottom of the murder but too solve the puzzle of the lost treasure. Running alongside is the story of Florence and the residents of the palazzo in the latter days of the Medici. This was even more fascinating! I loved the way these stories dovetailed as the search for the dealers of death takes flight. For me the interweaving of these stories worked fabulously and took the Lady Emily mysteries to a new high. A St. Martin's Press ARC via NetGalley (Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kate Baxter

    This latest addition to author Tasha Alexander's Lady Emily Mystery" series sweeps the reader off to the Piazzas and Palazzos of Renaissance and early 20th century Florence, Italy. Lady Emily accompanies her husband Colin who under the guise of a Florentine vacation, arrives in Florence on business, in service to the British Crown and Empire. Colin can never be fully forthcoming about his covert work but that never keeps Emily from sorting out a good mystery or two. Our happy couple settled into This latest addition to author Tasha Alexander's Lady Emily Mystery" series sweeps the reader off to the Piazzas and Palazzos of Renaissance and early 20th century Florence, Italy. Lady Emily accompanies her husband Colin who under the guise of a Florentine vacation, arrives in Florence on business, in service to the British Crown and Empire. Colin can never be fully forthcoming about his covert work but that never keeps Emily from sorting out a good mystery or two. Our happy couple settled into Palazzo Vieri, inherited by Colin's daughter, Kat, for the duration of their stay. It's a grand home of medieval origin, replete with open courtyard and many well-held secrets. As they were settling in, a body lands in their courtyard and the mystery is then afoot. Juxtaposed against the 1903 story is that of Mina, a well-educated devout young woman of 15th century Florence who harbors secrets of her own. I thoroughly enjoyed this story with all its Florentine details allowing me to revisit the city these many years later. Ms. Alexander executed a tremendous amount of historical research which plays beautifully into the two storylines. The writing is excellent, highly atmospheric and well paced. Even though I had a strong idea who the perpetrator was, it never spoiled the delivery of the story. If you enjoy historical fiction mysteries, then I commend this story to you for your consideration.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Rogers

    Series: Lady Emily Ashton Mysteries #15 Publication Date: 3/9/21 Number of Pages: 304 Tensions are mounting between Germany and England in the buildup to the first World War. Each wants to collect the secrets the other side is holding and the rest of Europe is their hunting ground. After a series of burglaries at his daughter Kat’s palazzo in Florence, Colin Hargreaves is sent by the Crown to investigate those and other mysterious events happening there. Colin is advised to bring his wife, Lady Emi Series: Lady Emily Ashton Mysteries #15 Publication Date: 3/9/21 Number of Pages: 304 Tensions are mounting between Germany and England in the buildup to the first World War. Each wants to collect the secrets the other side is holding and the rest of Europe is their hunting ground. After a series of burglaries at his daughter Kat’s palazzo in Florence, Colin Hargreaves is sent by the Crown to investigate those and other mysterious events happening there. Colin is advised to bring his wife, Lady Emily, along to make it appear it is simply a family sightseeing vacation. Little do they know what a tangled web of deceit and betrayal they are about to embark upon. They hadn’t even had time for their first cup of tea in Florence before the first body made its bloody appearance. As agents of the Crown, Colin and his fellow agent, Darius Benton-Stone, couldn’t share any details of their investigation with the very curious Lady Emily. No problem, since Lady Emily has brought along a friend, Parisian Cecile du Lac, they will just conduct their own investigation. Of course, there is an intriguing possibility of hidden treasure that Emily and Cecile will look into as well. Between investigating murders, hidden treasure, and sightseeing Emily and Cecile are a very busy pair! As the bodies mount and the separate investigations become more and more entwined, it becomes apparent that the treasure and the murders are connected in some way. Who has the knowledge to carry out such a dastardly plot? Well, you’ll just have to read the tale to see for yourself. In the last few books of this series, the author has included an additional story from ancient history. That story ties into and/or explains the happenings in the current story. In this one, the story takes place in 1400s Florence. It chronicles the life of Mena Portenari from the time she is sixteen under the de’ Medici rule and then into terror evoking rule of friar Savonarola. It is a sad tale of victimization and heroism, but it does explain parts of the current case. While the ancient stories are nice, it has become a bit of a trope for this author. It does get a little tiresome jumping from the current mystery to the ancient mystery in each chapter, even though both stories are well done. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I hope you will as well. I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alena Xuan

    This series is just overdone now. Honestly, with the introduction of Kat my interest in the characters has really plummeted and this book was just incredibly boring. Maybe it’s time for Tasha to start a series on Jeremy, the true hero of the series.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

    London, 1903. “The deceiver is at the mercy of the one he deceives.” Giovanni Boccaccio The Decameron. Tasha Alexander’s The Dark Heart of Florence (Lady Emily #15) definitely caught me by surprise, but I learned a great deal about Florence and the Renaissance. I told my students that I wanted to learn something new, just one fact, idea, whatever, a day, and this book taught me much more than one! When in Florence, the characters of Lady Emily, her husband, Colin, who works for the Crown, and La London, 1903. “The deceiver is at the mercy of the one he deceives.” Giovanni Boccaccio The Decameron. Tasha Alexander’s The Dark Heart of Florence (Lady Emily #15) definitely caught me by surprise, but I learned a great deal about Florence and the Renaissance. I told my students that I wanted to learn something new, just one fact, idea, whatever, a day, and this book taught me much more than one! When in Florence, the characters of Lady Emily, her husband, Colin, who works for the Crown, and Lady Emily’s French friend, Cécile, who always sends champagne ahead as that is all she enjoys drinking, to met with a colleague of Collin’s, Darius, but they are dumbfounded as they arrive at the destination a person unknown to them is thrown from the roof to his death. They are staying in a medieval palazzo which may have “hidden treasure dating back to the age of Medici and the violent reign of a fanatic monk, Savonarola”. The author alternates between 1903 and the late 1400s beginning with 1480 providing the reader with the beginning of the Renaissance with its new ideas, artists such as Michaelangelo and Botticelli, and writers. Lucretius was one who wrote On the Nature of things, but there was the ‘fanatic’ monk, Savonarola also who was very austere and against any luxury including books. He was quite violent about ridding Florence of items he considered luxuries which included jewelry. If the people of Florence did not produce whatever he wanted, they were tortured and suffered horribly. I never associated the Renaissance with violence until I read a book, Tigress of Forlì, which also illustrated the violence during the Renaissance. I commend the author on her research as seen in the bibliography of this book. She chose the years 1903 for Lady Emily’s character and the others because hostile feelings were apparent between a Germany and Britain. The author does a superb job of sowing the reader that ‘history does indeed repeat itself’ if the worldwide population does not pay strict attention to the details. The mystery within the book is just as convoluted. Pay attention, reader! The writing is intelligent and unequaled. 4.75 stars!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    I have read all of Tasha Alexander’s books and I’m sorry to say this was the worst one. At first, I had a hard time getting interested in the story, I had to drag myself through the first part of the book. You will be able to guess who the villain is very early on in the story, the foreshadowing that the author used was very obvious. Lady Emily and her husband Colin’s relationship in this book was boring compared to previous books, they usually have great adventures together and throughout this I have read all of Tasha Alexander’s books and I’m sorry to say this was the worst one. At first, I had a hard time getting interested in the story, I had to drag myself through the first part of the book. You will be able to guess who the villain is very early on in the story, the foreshadowing that the author used was very obvious. Lady Emily and her husband Colin’s relationship in this book was boring compared to previous books, they usually have great adventures together and throughout this story until the end everything was separate. In Tasha Alexander’s other books she builds on the characters making you want to cheer on Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves, but in this book the characters were more flat then usual. There were too many people with secrets, and Colin not letting his wife in on his knowledge while she shared hers seemed ridiculous. By now, the head of the Agent’s of the Crown (Colin’s superior) should know that it’s Emily’s keen awareness, intelligence and extensive education that helps her find the answers to solve the murders. The fact that the Author kept Emily out of the official secrets was definitely a let down, especially since they often refer to Kat’s mother, The Countess as a former agent for Austria (it’s a bit annoying that she was a spy, but not someone as talented as Emily???). I did enjoy learning more about the history of Florence and I liked Mina’s story from the 1400’s. I loved the first books from this series and I’m hopeful Tasha Alexander may make the next book more exciting. 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    A skimmer, did like the Florence setting but everything else was blah. Don't think I'll read anymore of this series, last two have not been great. A skimmer, did like the Florence setting but everything else was blah. Don't think I'll read anymore of this series, last two have not been great.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Desiree

    Lady Emily mysteries are always a good time and this one was no exception. Following her signature style, Tasha Alexander’s Emily gets herself involved in things she really shouldn’t, because she just can’t stand not doing it. This one involves a historical Italian home, a who-dunnit murder mystery (of course), renaissance-era history, and the beautiful city of Florence. Lively, fun, well-researched, but approachable - A great read for a relaxing day with some lighthearted fun watching as the plot Lady Emily mysteries are always a good time and this one was no exception. Following her signature style, Tasha Alexander’s Emily gets herself involved in things she really shouldn’t, because she just can’t stand not doing it. This one involves a historical Italian home, a who-dunnit murder mystery (of course), renaissance-era history, and the beautiful city of Florence. Lively, fun, well-researched, but approachable - A great read for a relaxing day with some lighthearted fun watching as the plot unwinds. A big thank you to Tasha Alexander, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for providing an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for this review. Looking for a copy of The Dark Heart of Florence? Please consider buying from Bookshop.org – the online bookstore that gives 75% of the book’s profit back to independent bookshops. Find this title at https://bookshop.org/lists/best-ficti.... #DarkHeartofFlorence #ALadyEmilyMystery #TashaAlexander #StMartinsPress #NetGalley #Mystery #HistoricalFiction #BookShop

  12. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Lady Emily, and Col Hargreaves spy/ murder mystery takes you to Florence. This book divides Colin with another agent, so he does not work with his love, and wife Emily. She does not mind since she has her long time friend, who is willing to go hunting into the details of how a man dies on the tiles of Colin’s daughters house. The same writing type of each chapter, being switched in time, or characters was tedious. Plus I knew the villain, before half way through. Her books need to go back to her Lady Emily, and Col Hargreaves spy/ murder mystery takes you to Florence. This book divides Colin with another agent, so he does not work with his love, and wife Emily. She does not mind since she has her long time friend, who is willing to go hunting into the details of how a man dies on the tiles of Colin’s daughters house. The same writing type of each chapter, being switched in time, or characters was tedious. Plus I knew the villain, before half way through. Her books need to go back to her tried, and true way of writing. The lady Emily books were always great, these last few not so much. 3 stars.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

    The story is split between two different perspectives--one from Lady Emily's view in the 1900s, and the other through Mina in the 1400s. I gravitated heavily toward Mina and her story over Lady Emily's escapades. I also preferred the style of language used during Mina's half, I found it flow better while Lady Emily's half sounded too much like the "old" English style of writing similar to Emily Bronte etc... The story is split between two different perspectives--one from Lady Emily's view in the 1900s, and the other through Mina in the 1400s. I gravitated heavily toward Mina and her story over Lady Emily's escapades. I also preferred the style of language used during Mina's half, I found it flow better while Lady Emily's half sounded too much like the "old" English style of writing similar to Emily Bronte etc...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia Abrams

    Very disappointing read. Unfortunately Tasha Alexander is so enamored with the history of Florence that this plot is bogged down in historical trivia and pedantic in too many places. The author again employs the device of flash backs, in this case to the 1490’s, to provide a motivation for the murders. None of the new characters are fully developed and the stock figures from previous novels feel wooden.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Historical novels are both my escape into another world and my way of filling the voids in my knowledge of history.. The pleasure I found in this novel was the journey into Renaissance Italy and the period’s respect for art and learning. The challenges faced by independent-minded women were highlighted in these sections of the book, but also mirrored in the protagonist’s life at the turn of the 20 th Century. The interwoven stories were complex and posed an intriguing intellectual puzzle that was Historical novels are both my escape into another world and my way of filling the voids in my knowledge of history.. The pleasure I found in this novel was the journey into Renaissance Italy and the period’s respect for art and learning. The challenges faced by independent-minded women were highlighted in these sections of the book, but also mirrored in the protagonist’s life at the turn of the 20 th Century. The interwoven stories were complex and posed an intriguing intellectual puzzle that was adroitly resolved by our heroine, Lady Emily, and her friend. The challenges I faced in this novel all related to my suspension of disbelief: I was unable to accept Lady Emily’s success as a sleuth. She boldly stepped into shops and homes and posed very pressing questions to the occupants. . . . The fact that they responded to her inappropriate inquiries was an issue for this reader. The author included well-researched social and political history in the novel, which added significantly to its interest for me. But, the 20th century characters never came to life for me; they just felt like vehicles to move the plot forward.. I felt more affinity to the Renaissance characters. . . They had more believable passion for their pursuits. NetGalley provided me a complimentary galley in return for a candid review of this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rena McGrath

    A fascinating novel, much more than a mystery story. Using the backdrop of the beautiful city of Florence Ms. Alexander takes us on a journey through large segments of the city's turbulent saga during the Renaissance and the brief but deadly reign of Friar Savanarola and his bands of thugs in their quest to destroy all of the ancient literature, Renaissance art depicting classical mythology and the Florentines' fight to preserve them for posterity. While Emily, Colin and Darius are sent to Flore A fascinating novel, much more than a mystery story. Using the backdrop of the beautiful city of Florence Ms. Alexander takes us on a journey through large segments of the city's turbulent saga during the Renaissance and the brief but deadly reign of Friar Savanarola and his bands of thugs in their quest to destroy all of the ancient literature, Renaissance art depicting classical mythology and the Florentines' fight to preserve them for posterity. While Emily, Colin and Darius are sent to Florence on a "vacation" but in actuality to work for the Crown as well as solve a number of brutal seemingly at first unconnected murders, Emily and her friend Cecile du Lac are conducting their own parallel investigation into the murders as well as the legend of a hidden treasure in the palazzo in which they are staying.. I won't divulge the culprit as this would be a spoiler for future readers. But let me just say this is a wonderful novel which I thoroughly enjoyed. I received an advanced copy for my unbiased opinion and give thanks to Net Galley, St. Martin's Press and in particular Tasha Alexander.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marisa

    At first, it seemed like Colin and Emily were going to be once again at odds with each other over this investigation but thankfully that wasn’t the case. I feel like the pacing of the series has changed in the last few books but this felt like the old Coin and Emily were back. As an agent of The Crown, Colin obviously has secrets and parts of his work he can’t tell anyone, even Emily. She is understandably frustrated that in this instance their is a lot that Colin could tell her but won’t. Ultim At first, it seemed like Colin and Emily were going to be once again at odds with each other over this investigation but thankfully that wasn’t the case. I feel like the pacing of the series has changed in the last few books but this felt like the old Coin and Emily were back. As an agent of The Crown, Colin obviously has secrets and parts of his work he can’t tell anyone, even Emily. She is understandably frustrated that in this instance their is a lot that Colin could tell her but won’t. Ultimately though they come together, true to form and it was a compelling story. I also enjoyed the story of Mina set in the 1400s. My biggest critique is, it was way too easy to figure out who committed the murders. Colin basically eliminates every one of the suspects until your left with only one possibility. The best parts of the story are the too brief interactions between Emily, Colin, and the boys.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Rodríguez

    An enigmatic book. This story happens over two timelines. In 1903, the tensions between Germany and Great Britain began to intensify. Colin is a British Crown agent. He and his wife Emily travel to Tuscany. As soon as they arrive, they witness a terrible event. A stranger jumps from the roof of a building. Colin and his agent have missions they must do. Emily, feeling excluded, decides to investigate the event of the alleged suicide. The story encompasses many elements. I like that the author ha An enigmatic book. This story happens over two timelines. In 1903, the tensions between Germany and Great Britain began to intensify. Colin is a British Crown agent. He and his wife Emily travel to Tuscany. As soon as they arrive, they witness a terrible event. A stranger jumps from the roof of a building. Colin and his agent have missions they must do. Emily, feeling excluded, decides to investigate the event of the alleged suicide. The story encompasses many elements. I like that the author has included excerpts in Italian and Latin. I felt that the setting of the novel was incredible. Florence is undoubtedly a city full of mysteries that cause me a lot of curiosity. This book showed some of those mysteries, which made me enjoy the story. I thank NetGalley, St Martin's Press, and Minotaur Books for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    An amazing mystery. My heart was deeply engaged for the historical story (Mina) and I was immersed in the world of early 20th C Florence. Emily's mystery was fantastic and I love how she did not give up her investigation. I loved the details, I could imagine the buildings, streets, and merchants. Very engaging, and knowing history you know where this path will lead in Europe. An amazing mystery. My heart was deeply engaged for the historical story (Mina) and I was immersed in the world of early 20th C Florence. Emily's mystery was fantastic and I love how she did not give up her investigation. I loved the details, I could imagine the buildings, streets, and merchants. Very engaging, and knowing history you know where this path will lead in Europe.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Very enjoyable! 4.5 stars

  21. 5 out of 5

    theliterateleprechaun

    Tasha Alexander’s 15th volume in the Lady Emily Mystery series, ‘The Dark Heart of Florence’, is a historical mystery masterpiece! Alexander has created two intriguing stories, one in the 1480s and the other in the early 1900s, which, when woven together, culminate in the most surprising manner. Grab a bottle of prosecco because you’ll soon realize you are in for the long haul; you’ll “find yourself innamorato with Firenze” and lose all track of time. How lovely to be able to eagerly sip and rea Tasha Alexander’s 15th volume in the Lady Emily Mystery series, ‘The Dark Heart of Florence’, is a historical mystery masterpiece! Alexander has created two intriguing stories, one in the 1480s and the other in the early 1900s, which, when woven together, culminate in the most surprising manner. Grab a bottle of prosecco because you’ll soon realize you are in for the long haul; you’ll “find yourself innamorato with Firenze” and lose all track of time. How lovely to be able to eagerly sip and read through all 320 pages. Buona lettura! Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves are in Florence under false pretenses; on the surface, this couple appear to be on holidays, but as a trusted agent of the Crown, Colin is investigating a series of burglaries at his daughter’s palazzo. In usual Lady Emily style, she finds every opportunity to do some sleuthing on her own and discovers some hidden treasures from the time of the Medici and the violent reign of Savonarola. Mina Portinari’s story begins when she is a beautiful 16-year-old who has been given a rare education by her grandparents. They see to it that she learns Latin and Greek, socializes with the Medicis, reads books by authors such as Dante and Petrarch, and dines with the likes of Botticelli. Unfortunately, she garners the attention of someone who causes her heartache, and this forbidden love has far-reaching ramifications. Although a heartbreaking story, Mina will not be forgotten in her attempts to preserve history for generations of booklovers in the future. This is my first Tasha Alexander novel and I’m hooked. I absolutely love learning as I read and she has managed to combine my love of history with the culture of one of my favourite cities, Florence, into a superbly written masterpiece. I loved adding to my knowledge of Savonarola and learning about the Arrabbiati, the Bands of Hope, and the Piagnoni. It was exciting for me learning about the customs and culture of renaissance Italy. Not only did Alexander’s dual timelines dovetail seamlessly, her evenly paced plot showcased her well-researched Florentine history. Her characters were lovable, flawed and historically believable and readers get to see them blossom and grow as the plot progresses. I fell in love with Mina’s character when she uttered the words “For me, though, books spoke to my soul. I needed them more than food or water.” I loved her cryptic clues for booklovers, the adventure, the sleuthing, and the secrets; they all were woven together to create a story that bibliophiles and historical fiction readers only dream about! You’ll need to mark this eagerly anticipated release date of March 9, 2021, on your calendar. Thank you to Tasha Alexander, St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books and NetGalley for this fantastic advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bethany Swafford

    Colin Hargreaves' attention is on his daughter's palazzo in Florence, where there has been a series of burglaries but he also has a duty to the Crown that he must carry out. Lady Emily is less than pleased with her husband's reticence, especially when they reach the city and are immediately met with murder. With secrets surrounding them, Lad Emily follows clues in search of a treasure dating back to the Medici. After so many years of marriage, I would have expected Emily and Colin would have foun Colin Hargreaves' attention is on his daughter's palazzo in Florence, where there has been a series of burglaries but he also has a duty to the Crown that he must carry out. Lady Emily is less than pleased with her husband's reticence, especially when they reach the city and are immediately met with murder. With secrets surrounding them, Lad Emily follows clues in search of a treasure dating back to the Medici. After so many years of marriage, I would have expected Emily and Colin would have found some way to balance his career and their married life. "You have your secrets, so I will have mine" seems like a dangerous mindset to have in a marriage. I could understand Emily's frustration that her husband wouldn't tell her the truth about what he needed to do in Florence, but it also frustrated me as a reader to see her take it as reason to do as she pleased to learn the truth. Th details of the mystery were interesting. The book's strength lies in the details of the setting and history. The storyline of past was only interesting in the last half when reign of Friar Savanarola began. Well written and certainly well researched, this is one I would recommend to fans of the series. While it can be read as a stand alone, it does take the reader some time to catch up. I received a free copy from NetGalley and all opinions expressed are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carol lowkey.bookish

    I enjoyed the historical aspect of this book. I now want to visit Florence and see all of the locations mentioned in the book. I was especially drawn to the treasure hunt aspect of the story, where they discover that the palazzo may contain a hidden treasure dating back to the days of the Medici and the violent reign of the fanatic monk, Savonarola. Oh, and before I forget...there was a murder mystery to solve. I was just more invested in the historical/treasure hunt aspect of the story. I had my I enjoyed the historical aspect of this book. I now want to visit Florence and see all of the locations mentioned in the book. I was especially drawn to the treasure hunt aspect of the story, where they discover that the palazzo may contain a hidden treasure dating back to the days of the Medici and the violent reign of the fanatic monk, Savonarola. Oh, and before I forget...there was a murder mystery to solve. I was just more invested in the historical/treasure hunt aspect of the story. I had my suspicions about the murderer, but didn’t figure it out until it was revealed to me in the end. This is the second book I have read in the Lady Emily series and I feel comfortable with the characters and the format of the books. I liked that the author continued using the dual-timeline format in alternating chapters taking place in 1480 and the early 1900’s. I loved the well-researched historical parts of this book and I gave it 4/5 stars. I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alisha

    As usual in this series, two alternating storylines create a nicely paced mystery as the reader tries to deduce how and when the two stories from different centuries will intertwine. However, the story from the Renaissance age felt a bit same-old, same-old next to similar plotlines from the author's other books. Lady Emily is always ahead of her time, but it's gotten more plausible as she's gotten older with more experience under her belt. This book was a fast, easy read, although all the spy/"se As usual in this series, two alternating storylines create a nicely paced mystery as the reader tries to deduce how and when the two stories from different centuries will intertwine. However, the story from the Renaissance age felt a bit same-old, same-old next to similar plotlines from the author's other books. Lady Emily is always ahead of her time, but it's gotten more plausible as she's gotten older with more experience under her belt. This book was a fast, easy read, although all the spy/"service to the Crown" content never felt fully fleshed out. Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for this digital review copy.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    I still don’t like the dual story thing she’s been doing. Please just write a regular Lady Emily! 🙏🏽

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Tasha Alexander writes one of the most reliably entertaining series in mystery fiction – every book has a complex plot, often a dual timeline, a bit of romance, plus the reader gets to go on some armchair travel and learn a bit of history to boot. In this latest Lady Emily outing, her dishy husband, Colin, takes her to Florence, along with her friend Cecile, for cover, as he works on something so secret for the Crown that he can’t even tell Emily. It’s 1903 and they’re staying at Colin’s newly di Tasha Alexander writes one of the most reliably entertaining series in mystery fiction – every book has a complex plot, often a dual timeline, a bit of romance, plus the reader gets to go on some armchair travel and learn a bit of history to boot. In this latest Lady Emily outing, her dishy husband, Colin, takes her to Florence, along with her friend Cecile, for cover, as he works on something so secret for the Crown that he can’t even tell Emily. It’s 1903 and they’re staying at Colin’s newly discovered daughter, Kat’s, home in Florence, and merely reading the descriptions of Florence will make you long not just for armchair travel but for the real thing. Emily and Cecile are folded into Colin’s work by a circumstance beyond his control – when they arrive at the villa, one of the workers plunges to his death from the top of the villa and is discovered by one of the maids. Emily and Cecile think they can do better winkling out what really happened to him, and of course, they are correct. Colin and his fellow spy, for want of a better word, are off investigating for much of the narrative, leaving the focus, in this novel, on Emily and Cecile. As they investigate in their own way – talking to shopkeepers, neighbors, and the fiancée of the dead man, they do begin to unearth some clues. There’s also, they are sure, a treasure hidden somewhere in the villa, and one of the clues is the ancient graffiti left on the walls. Emily makes a meticulous catalogue of their locations and begins to translate the Latin phrases she finds. I love the combination of scholarship and investigation in these books. They are always excellent mysteries, but Alexander’s special twist is Emily’s love of the Classical world, which she draws into her narratives whenever possible. In this book, her interest is sparked by the spectacular Italian renaissance artists who populated Florence in the 15th century, and Savonarola, the man who came along in the late 15th century and tried to burn it all down. (This is where the expression “Bonfire of the Vanities” comes from). To illustrate the rich culture of Florence in that time period, Alexander also treats the reader to the story of Mina Portinari, whose narrative begins when she is 16, in 1480. We see her through a doomed romance, heartbreak, and a comfortable marriage, with only her passion for learning and scholarship remaining a constant. Mina’s grandfather introduces her to her love of ideas and as a girl she spends time with Botticelli and Lorenzo di Medici. As the story progresses and the ravages of Savonarola’s destructive thugs cut closer and closer to home, Mina is both engulfed in events and takes steps to change the outcome. Mina’s steps in the past find an echo in Emily’s investigations in 1903. As always, Alexander draws her two threads together in a thoughtful and memorable way, leaving the reader, as always, eager for the next adventure.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marco

    When I first saw "The Dark Heart of Florence" by Tasha Alexander, I'll admit I thought this was going to be a romance book, but this book is a lush murder mystery/historical fiction novel that surprised me in a good way. Told in two different timelines, 1480 and 1903, both are consumed in matters of intrigue. In 1480, a young woman is sent away after a scandal involving the local priest. In 1903, an investigation into a cursed house turns up more than one murdered person as the local legend is tha When I first saw "The Dark Heart of Florence" by Tasha Alexander, I'll admit I thought this was going to be a romance book, but this book is a lush murder mystery/historical fiction novel that surprised me in a good way. Told in two different timelines, 1480 and 1903, both are consumed in matters of intrigue. In 1480, a young woman is sent away after a scandal involving the local priest. In 1903, an investigation into a cursed house turns up more than one murdered person as the local legend is that anyone looking for the treasure in the house that was thought to be hidden centuries ago will meet their untimely end. At the center of it all is Lady Emily. This book is apparently part of a series of books featuring this character. She is quick-witted, a keen investigator, and whip smart. Along with her husband, his associate, and a close friend, she leads her own investigation into what is happening at the "haunted" house. Both storylines are full of the history of Florence and its country Italy. Everything written seems as if you're there. The book is fast-paced and a treat for both #historicalfiction fans and #mystery fans alike. I really found myself engaged in this novel and couldn't wait to find out who was doing what in both timelines and also finding a change of pace from novels with aloof investigators as the relationship with Lady Emily and her husband was both sincere and loving and her relationship with her friend that was both supportive and interesting. Definitely a book to read if you like mysteries, historical fiction, or well-written views of a time of art and love long forgotten.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Norah Gibbons

    I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley. All opinions are my own. The Dark Heart of Florence by Tasha Alexander is the 15th book in her Lady Emily Aston Mysteries. I don’t think you have to read all of the previous books in order to enjoy reading this one but I do recommend the series as it is excellent. In this story Lady Emily and her husband travel to Florence in 1903 after a series of break-ins at his daughters house. When they are there they learn that there are rumours of I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley. All opinions are my own. The Dark Heart of Florence by Tasha Alexander is the 15th book in her Lady Emily Aston Mysteries. I don’t think you have to read all of the previous books in order to enjoy reading this one but I do recommend the series as it is excellent. In this story Lady Emily and her husband travel to Florence in 1903 after a series of break-ins at his daughters house. When they are there they learn that there are rumours of both a treasure in the house and a curse. The story moves between 1903 and Florence starting in 1497 the time during which the rumours began. I enjoyed reading this book very much, the author creates compelling characters in both time periods and there is enough mystery, intrigue and suspense to keep one saying just one more chapter until the book is finished. Publishing Date: March 9, 2021 #TheDarkHeart of Florence #TashaAlexander #LadyEmilyAstonMysteries #StMartinsPress #MinotaurBooks #NetGalley #HistoricalMysteryNovel #bookstagram #bookstagramer

  29. 5 out of 5

    Krishna Shah

    I read this ARC through Netgallery. Thank you very much for giving me an advance copy to read and review. The book takes place in Florence and concerns a mystery of hidden treasure with some British spying. I truly love the relationship between Colin and Lady Emily. They are a good marriage of minds and even with the events that happened in the previous book the marriage is strong. The mystery is entertaining. But I loved the way that you got to learn about Florence not just in Lady Emily’s time I read this ARC through Netgallery. Thank you very much for giving me an advance copy to read and review. The book takes place in Florence and concerns a mystery of hidden treasure with some British spying. I truly love the relationship between Colin and Lady Emily. They are a good marriage of minds and even with the events that happened in the previous book the marriage is strong. The mystery is entertaining. But I loved the way that you got to learn about Florence not just in Lady Emily’s time but in 1400s. The writing brought the city in front of my eyes. So why didn’t I give it 5 stars. I like the way she weaves the stories from the past to the “present” but it seems there was more past than what Emily was doing. I like the going back and forth but the past is quite depressing most of the times. You know the person described is going to have an ending that you will not like. I would have liked to see more of Emily and Cecile doing their sleuthing. Plus what is wrong with seeing a little bit more of what Colin does? I know the story is told from Emily’s perspective but sometimes I really want to know what he does when he goes off somewhere. How is it that he doesn’t figure things out as quickly as Emily if he has all this experience?? Having said all that, I did enjoy reading this book. I love Emily or Kallista. Her sharp mind and the way she pieces things together are fun to read. There are always multiple things going on that somehow the author figures out a way to tie them together. So give it a read for sure.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sharyn

    I love this series and have been reading it since the beginning. I have been to many of the cities where her books take place and can visualize them as I read. Florence is such a beautiful city and reading what it was like in 1903 is fascinating. But what I really enjoyed was the narrative about Florence starting in 1480 with Lorenzo de' Medicine and on to Savanarola. I loved the way Alexander brought both eras to light and the denouement in the Duomo was so appropriate. I love seeing what life I love this series and have been reading it since the beginning. I have been to many of the cities where her books take place and can visualize them as I read. Florence is such a beautiful city and reading what it was like in 1903 is fascinating. But what I really enjoyed was the narrative about Florence starting in 1480 with Lorenzo de' Medicine and on to Savanarola. I loved the way Alexander brought both eras to light and the denouement in the Duomo was so appropriate. I love seeing what life was like for the rich, Colin and Lady Emily travel about, leaving their sons at home in England, solving crimes all over Europe. I highly recommend the series, and dare I say it, this could almost be read as a stand alone.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.