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Walker's debut of love, loss, renewal, art and history is set in a sensually realized Venice and follows the physical and emotional wanderings of an unfulfilled wife. While on tour with her famous musician husband, Nel Everett abruptly leaves him after a fight. She ends up solo in Venice, and after a roundabout introduction involving a runaway dog Nel rescues, Nel falls in with Signora Lucrezia da Isola, a countess living in a centuries-old palazzo. The palazzo was once a convent, and the recent discovery of a fresco hidden beneath a plaster wall has brought to the palazzo a coterie of competitive art experts bent on determining who painted the fresco. Nel, meanwhile, is intrigued by a small painting in her room. A trunk discovered in the attic provides evidence that leads Nel and an art conservationist to differing conclusions about who is responsible for the artworks. As the mystery unravels, Nel begins to reassess her marriage and regain some independence. Walker's prose can come across like she's straining to write capital-L literature, but that likely won't scare off the book groups. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.