Anita has been such a support to authors and the book community over the last few years and it’s an absolute pleasure to be celebrating the release of her debut novel The Venice Secret.
About the book
One hidden painting. Two women born centuries apart. A secret uncovered.
In 2019, Rachel is stuck in a rut when she discovers what appears to be a Canaletto painting in her grandmother’s loft along with a note addressed to Philippa in 1782. With help from Jake at the local art gallery, Rachel endeavours to find out if the painting is an original and uncovers a secret from the past.
In 1780, governess at Chipford Hall, Philippa is offered the role of mistress by Earl Rupert. She escapes to Venice as companion to bluestocking, Lady Cordelia who reveals a secret that changes both their lives. They do their best to keep the secret from Lady Cordelia’s social circle, but their nemesis is determined to reveal all and ruin them.
So what did I think?
I couldn’t put this book down, equally loving both timelines in this dual-time story that started with a painting found in Rachel’s grandmother’s loft and her quest to discover its origins and its link to her family.
Finding myself narrating the story from 1780 in a frightfully proper tone that befit the period of time, I found that it was easy to swap from present to past as the voices were so very different and the immediacy of the timeline perfectly executed. I could easily picture myself in that time period, the scenes playing out like a TV period drama.
This is a stunning, page-turning, beautifully-written debut, with an intriguing plot, interestingly flawed characters and evocative descriptions of every location included.
I wish Anita huge success in her writing career, which if this book is anything to go by will be long and successful. I can’t wait to read what she writes next.
I would highly recommend this novel.
About the author
Anita Chapman enjoyed writing stories from a young age, and won a local writing competition when she was nine years old. Encouraged by this, she typed up a series of stories about a mouse on her mum’s typewriter and sent them to Ladybird. She received a polite rejection letter, her first.
Many of Anita’s summers growing up were spent with her family driving to Italy, and she went on to study French and Italian at university. As part of her degree, Anita lived in Siena for several months where she studied and au paired, and she spent a lot of time travelling around Italy in her twenties.
Anita likes to read journals and diaries from the past, and one of her favourite pastimes is visiting art galleries and country houses. Her first published novel, The Venice Secret is inspired by her mother taking her to see the Canalettos at The National Gallery in London as a child.
Since 2015, Anita has worked as a social media manager, training authors on social media, and helping to promote their books. She’s run several courses in London and York, and has worked as a tutor at Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College.
Website and social media links:
Twitter: @neetschapman https://twitter.com/neetschapman
Facebook Page: Anita Chapman Author https://www.facebook.com/neetschapman
Instagram: @neetschapman https://www.instagram.com/neetschapman
TikTok: @neetschapman https://www.tiktok.com/@neetschapman