Stravaganza: City of Secrets

Stravaganza: City of Secrets

4.1 10
by Mary Hoffman

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The latest installment in the critically acclaimed Stravaganza series begins with Matt, the new Stravagante. Despite having a beautiful and very smart girlfriend, Matt is insecure because he is dyslexic. He discovers that he is capable of traveling between two worlds when a leather-bound book transports him from his home in England to Talia, the parallel-world version


The latest installment in the critically acclaimed Stravaganza series begins with Matt, the new Stravagante. Despite having a beautiful and very smart girlfriend, Matt is insecure because he is dyslexic. He discovers that he is capable of traveling between two worlds when a leather-bound book transports him from his home in England to Talia, the parallel-world version of Italy, where he meets a fellow-Stravagante named Luciano-who is hiding from the powerful di Chimici family. Luciano has just killed the head of that family in a duel, and is in grave danger. Banding together, Matt and Luciano must resist the di Chimici family, who are on the verge of making a terrifying breakthrough
into our world.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

In this addition to the popular series, 17-year-old Nick discovers that he has the power to travel between his home in contemporary London and 16th-century Talia, a country in which some magic and sorcery is possible. In his own time, Nick struggles with dyslexia and is insecure about his relationship with popular, beautiful Ayesha. In Talia, he reads effortlessly and is apprenticed to a printmaker in the city-state of Padavia, where he befriends Luciano, a teenager from his own time and the protagonist in the first book in the series, Stravaganza: City of Masks (Bloomsbury, 2002). Together, the two young men and Luciano's betrothed must find a way to stop a plot by the powerful de Chimici family to take over Talia. Secrets stands on its own, though teen fantasy and history buffs will likely clamor for the first three books in this wonderful series. The author's richly detailed, fully imagined world of Talia comes alive for her characters who "stravagate" there, and for readers as well. The action moves seamlessly from present to past as Nick struggles to maintain a balance between the two worlds while becoming stronger and more secure in both.-Leah J. Sparks, formerly at Bowie Public Library, MD

Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Stravaganza , #4
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

MARY HOFFMAN is the author of the first three Stravaganza books, as well as The Falconer's Knot, Troubadour, and the international bestseller, Amazing Grace. Mary has often traveled to research the settings for her many books set in Italy. She has three grown children, and lives with her husband in England.
Mary Hoffman is an acclaimed children's writer and critic. She is the author of the bestselling picture book Amazing Grace. Her Stravaganza sequence for Bloomsbury is so popular it has 80 current stories on Her previous books for Bloomsbury also include: The Falconer's Knot (shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Award and winner of the French Prix Polar Jeunesse 2009), Troubadour (nominated for the 2010 Carnegie Medal) and most recently David, a rich and epic tale based upon the creation of Michaelangelo's renowned statue of David. Mary lives with her husband in West Oxfordshire. To follow Mary's thoughts on books and writing, go to

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City of Secrets (Stravaganza Series #4) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mdesmondobrien More than 1 year ago
Ugh. After picking up five exciting books from the library, this was the one I got around to first, because City of Flowers (its immediate predecessor) ended so suspensefully. If City of Flowers was something of a disappointment compared to City of Masks and City of Stars (which remain some of my favorite books of all time, especially Masks!), then City of Secrets was a mega-disappointment. I could spend thousands of words criticizing this book: The writing didn't flow, characters weren't developed very well, Hoffman didn't spend any time exploring the city of Padavia (a.k.a. this world's Padua) get the picture. The no-exploration thing probably got my goat the most, because having never been to Italy, these books are kind of like a free, exciting plane ticket. But this one spent way too much time on Matt's insecurities (Ayesha, anyone? Yuck!) Another problem I had with it was my long-abiding love of Lucien Mulholland. I adore Lucien Mulholland. Or Luciano, or whatever the heck you call him. Ditto for Arianna. So even in City of Stars I was a little disappointed that she started introducing new characters with Georgia and Alice, and in City of Flowers, even more so with Sky and Falco. They took time away from the characters I really enjoyed hearing about, even though all four had grown on me by the end of their respective novels. With the intro of Matt and Ayesha, though, it just started getting ridiculous and watered-down. Pretty much very page Luciano and Arianna weren't on was ridiculously boring. Last complaint? Luciano and Arianna, WOULD YOU TWO JUST GET MARRIED, ALREADY? Sheesh. I was really crossing my fingers in this one for a big, fancy, old-school Bellezzan party with lots of Duchessa excess, but unfortunately, it just wasn't so. I will continue to cross my fingers and pray that I'll get my wish in a sequel, but if Mary Hoffman introduces yet another Stravagante with annoying problems I DON'T CARE ABOUT, I will scream. Watch me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was the fourth great book in a great series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the first three books a few years ago and fell in love with them. The first book specifically kept me reading, and I found all the characters interesting and unique. But City of Secrets has a very slow form of writing. There's not much action in the beginning, and when there is action, I don't feel it as intensely as the other books or any other book I have read. The book didn't have the feeling of keeping me reading. I felt like the writing wasn't at it's best, though it could have been. The plot was great, it was just the writing and format that sort of made it less interesting. It was a good book, but not as great as the rest of them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
CITY OF SECRETS is the fourth installment in Mary Hoffman's STRAVAGANZA series.

Matt is a normal English seventeen-year-old, until a book he got for his birthday takes him on the journey of his life -- to another world. Talia is similar to Italy, but is a few hundred years in the past from the 21st century.

On his journey, Matt meets Luciano, an old Stravagante who now permanently lives in Talia after having died in London. With Luciano, his foster father Docter Dethridge, a few other Stravagante, and many friends, Matt embarks on a journey of a lifetime. He finds himself being kidnapped, freeing convicts, and trying to pass his driver's exam!

Ms. Hoffman writes an enchanting tale that takes the reader to another world. The fast-paced novel is truly enticing and recommended to all ages. While the non-English reader might be confused by some of the references, there aren't too many that will defer the reader from the main task -- trying to find out what happens next.

This is an excellent addition to the series, with the ending leaving room for even more books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ever since I first read City of Masks, I just knew this was a series I had to see through to the end. City of Secrets has the action, has the romance, and has the humor. Although it was a stunning and terrific book, I just felt it lacked the need to make me keep reading and to not stop, which the other books (especially City of Flowers) tempted me to do. But it was good nonetheless.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love the series! I'm so excited about this next book. Who can't wait for Luciano's wedding?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I cant wait for this book. I read the first 3 and they were awesome. This one will just be better than the last.