Goodreads ratings
3.95 / 5

"Belladonna" Summary

By Fiona Paul

historical fiction | 346 pages | Published in 2013

In Renaissance Italy, love, lust, intrigue and secret societies converge to stunning results!In the second in the stunning Secrets of the Eternal Rose series, Cassandra Caravello is trying to forget Falco, the wild artist who ran off with her heart, as she grows closer to her strong, steady fiancé, Luca. But Luca seems to have his own secrets. When he’s arrested by soldiers in the middle of the night, Cass’s life is once again thrown into chaos. She must save Luca, and that means finding the Book of the Eternal Rose—the only evidence that will prove he’s innocent.So begins her journey to Florence, a city haunted by whispers of vampirism, secret soirees and clandestine meetings of the Order of the Eternal Rose. And home to Falco, who is working for the Order’s eerily stunning leader, the Belladonna herself.Can Cass trust her heart to lead her to the truth this time?Nothing is as it seems in this seductive thriller, where the truth may be the deadliest poison of all.


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A young artist in Renaissance Venice finds herself entangled in a dangerous web of murder and intrigue.


In this book summary, we will delve into the captivating world of "Belladonna" by Fiona Paul. This historical fiction novel takes us on a thrilling journey through 16th-century Venice, where secrets, romance, and danger intertwine. With its richly detailed setting and complex characters, "Belladonna" offers readers a mesmerizing tale of love, betrayal, and self-discovery.

Brief Synopsis

Set in 16th-century Venice, "Belladonna" follows the story of Cassandra Caravello, a young noblewoman who finds herself entangled in a web of mystery and intrigue. When Cassandra's best friend, the courtesan Leda, is found murdered, she becomes determined to uncover the truth behind the gruesome crime. As she delves deeper into the investigation, Cassandra finds herself drawn to Falco, a charming artist with a dark past.

As Cassandra uncovers Leda's secrets, she starts to unravel a conspiracy that involves powerful families, forbidden love, and dangerous secrets. With her life hanging in the balance, Cassandra must navigate the treacherous waters of Venice's society to solve the murder and protect those she loves.

Main Characters

Here are the main characters in "Belladonna" and a brief description of each:

Cassandra CaravelloThe protagonist of the story and a young noblewoman in 16th-century Venice. She is determined and intelligent, with a passion for art.
FalcoA talented artist with a mysterious past. He becomes romantically involved with Cassandra and helps her in her quest for the truth.
LedaCassandra's best friend and a courtesan. Her murder sets the events of the story in motion.
LucaCassandra's betrothed, a wealthy and influential young man who becomes a suspect in Leda's murder.
MaffeoCassandra's cousin and a member of a powerful Venetian family. He is ambitious and cunning.

Summary of Different Story Points

Chapters 1-5: The Discovery

The story begins with Cassandra attending a masquerade ball where she witnesses a murder. The victim turns out to be her best friend, Leda. Determined to find the killer, Cassandra starts her investigation, which leads her to Falco, a talented artist with a mysterious past. Together, they begin to unravel the secrets surrounding Leda's murder.

Chapters 6-10: Uncovering Secrets

Cassandra and Falco dig deeper into Leda's life and discover that she was involved in a dangerous affair with a member of a powerful Venetian family. As they delve into the complex web of secrets, Cassandra starts to question her own family's involvement and the motives of those around her.

Chapters 11-15: Betrayal and Danger

Cassandra's investigation takes a dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot to overthrow the Venetian government. She realizes that the murder of her friend is connected to a much larger conspiracy, and she must race against time to save herself and those she cares about.

Chapters 16-20: The Final Showdown

In the final chapters, Cassandra confronts the true mastermind behind the murder and the conspiracy. She must use all her wit and courage to outsmart her enemies and protect the ones she loves. As secrets are revealed and loyalties tested, Cassandra must make difficult choices that will shape her destiny.

Main Events

  • Cassandra witnesses the murder of her best friend, Leda, at a masquerade ball.
  • Cassandra teams up with Falco, an artist with a mysterious past, to uncover the truth behind Leda's murder.
  • Cassandra discovers that Leda was involved in a dangerous affair with a member of a powerful Venetian family.
  • Cassandra uncovers a larger conspiracy to overthrow the Venetian government.
  • Cassandra confronts the mastermind behind the murder and the conspiracy, putting her life and the lives of her loved ones at risk.

Themes and Insights

  1. Betrayal and Deception: The novel explores the theme of betrayal, as characters hide their true intentions and manipulate others for personal gain.
  2. Power and Corruption: "Belladonna" highlights the corrupting influence of power and the lengths people will go to maintain their status and control.
  3. Love and Sacrifice: The story delves into the complexities of love and the sacrifices characters make to protect those they care about.
  4. Identity and Self-Discovery: Cassandra's journey leads her to question her own identity and values, ultimately leading to self-discovery and growth.

Reader's Takeaway

Readers of "Belladonna" will be transported to the enchanting streets of 16th-century Venice, where they will be captivated by a suspenseful tale filled with romance, mystery, and danger. Fiona Paul's vivid descriptions and well-developed characters make this historical fiction novel a thrilling and engaging read. The themes of betrayal, power, and self-discovery resonate throughout the story, leaving readers with a deeper understanding of human nature and the complexities of relationships.


"Belladonna" by Fiona Paul is a captivating historical fiction novel set in 16th-century Venice. With its intriguing plot, well-drawn characters, and richly detailed setting, the book offers readers an enticing mix of mystery, romance, and danger. As the story unfolds, readers will find themselves immersed in a world of secrets, conspiracies, and forbidden love. Whether you are a fan of historical fiction or simply enjoy a thrilling tale, "Belladonna" is sure to leave you spellbound.

Belladonna FAQ

  1. What is 'Belladonna' about?

    'Belladonna' is a historical fiction novel set in 16th century Venice. It follows the story of Cass, a young girl who becomes entangled in a web of murder and mystery when she discovers a dead body in the city's famous canals.

  2. Who is the author of 'Belladonna'?

    The author of 'Belladonna' is Fiona Paul.

  3. Is 'Belladonna' part of a series?

    Yes, 'Belladonna' is the second book in the Secrets of the Eternal Rose series. The series consists of three books.

  4. Do I need to read the first book in the series before reading 'Belladonna'?

    While it is recommended to read the first book, 'Venom,' before diving into 'Belladonna,' each book can be read as a standalone as they have separate storylines.

  5. What genre does 'Belladonna' belong to?

    'Belladonna' belongs to the genres of historical fiction, mystery, and romance.

  6. Is 'Belladonna' suitable for young adult readers?

    Yes, 'Belladonna' is targeted towards young adult readers and is appropriate for ages 14 and up.

  7. Are there any trigger warnings for 'Belladonna'?

    The book contains some violence and scenes of murder, which may be triggering for some readers. Additionally, it explores themes of betrayal and deception.

  8. How long is 'Belladonna'?

    'Belladonna' has approximately 400 pages.

  9. Where can I purchase 'Belladonna'?

    You can purchase 'Belladonna' from various online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Book Depository. It is also available in selected bookstores.

  10. Is there a movie adaptation of 'Belladonna'?

    No, there is currently no movie adaptation of 'Belladonna.'