The Dark Heart of Florence by Tasha Alexander

The Dark Heart of Florence (Lady Emily #15)
Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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