Returning to Venice after years abroad
and at sea, Dante Valaresso’s goal is to restore his
family’s palazzo. All that stands in the way of his plans
is the dour widow Serena Alberenghi who lives on the
palazzo’s upper floors.
Serena has lived a life of complete
respectability. Yet one night she decides to take a chance
and be reckless for one night. Venturing out at night
during Carnival, Serena is swept off her feet by a masked
stranger who mistakes her for a prostitute.
Dante is intrigued by the mysterious
masked beauty and their erotic encounter leaves him wanting
more. Though the lovely “Bella” insists she only wanted to
experience one night of passion, Dante tempts her with the
promise of pleasure too irresistible to pass up. “Bella”
agrees, but only if their identities remain secret from one
As the lovers begin to fall for one
another, the battle over the palazzo picks up. When their
identities are revealed, can their love survive?
Dante’s Inferno starts
with a deliciously wicked encounter between Dante and
Serena. Inhibitions are shed during a wild Carnival night
in a wonderfully captivating way. Evie Byrne definitely
caught my attention with the first few pages.
Unfortunately, my excitement over the story quickly waned.
The problem I had with Dante’s Inferno was
that I could not bring myself to like the characters. It
isn’t that the Serena and Dante are “bad,” but rather that
they lacked the depth of emotion to make me connect with
them. Each at one point or another came off as shallow,
slightly selfish, and needlessly obstinate without that
extra layer that would allow me to see beyond such
behavior. As such, I was not drawn into the story to root
for Dante and Serena’s happiness, as I did not particularly
care about the outcome of their romance.
This was Ms. Byrne’s debut novel, and despite not enjoying
this particular book, I am interested in reading future
works of hers. Ms. Byrne’s writing style is fluid and
appealing, and she knows how to make love scenes sizzle.
Sadly, when it comes to Dante’s Inferno, the
hero and heroine’s unlikable natures prevented me from ever
becoming engaged in the tale.