Friday, July 5, 2013

Blog Tour: Belladonna (The Secrets of the Eternal Rose #2) by Fiona Paul

Hey guys! Today's my stop for the Belladonna Aussie Blog Tour *dances* Belladonna is the sequel to Fiona Paul's 2012 debut, Venom. This is also my first ever actual blog tour so I'm really happy it's for a book that follows up something I really enjoyed (:

Yesterday you would have seen the awesome guest post Fiona wrote on Speculating on SpecFic. And today? You guys get a little teaser (a total non-spoilery excerpt don't worry) scene from Belladonna woohoo!

"Cassandra Caravello is trying to forget Falco, the wild artist who ran off with her heart, as she grows closer to her strong, steady fianc√©, 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 is innocent.
So begins her journey to Florence, a city haunted by whispers of corruption, secret soirees and clandestine meetings of the Order of the Eternal Rose. And home to Falco, who′s 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."

Now for the excerpt, leggo!

Cass stood in the grass, inhaling deeply. She was grateful for the occasional wisp of wind that blew through the damp curls at the nape of her neck. The pounding in her head was fading away.

She was surprisingly unafraid, all alone, wrapped in the starry darkness. The trees, the flowers, even the elaborately manicured hedges cast soft shadows in the light of her flickering lantern. Cass realized she hadn’t had the nightmare about [Venom spoiler] since leaving Venice. She didn’t know if it was the change of scenery or the reappearance of Falco that had driven away those terrible nightly visions. Either way, she was grateful.

Something rustled in a grove of trees that ran along the northern edge of the property. Cass turned toward the noise, nearly dropping her lantern as a deer materialized from the inky blackness. It ambled to the edge of the lawn and bent down to nibble at the base of a freshly clipped hedge. Cass stifled a laugh. Belladonna seemed so protective of her plants. Eating them was probably not permitted.

“I won’t tell,” Cass said out loud. She had never seen a deer before, and she was spellbound, mesmerized by the graceful creature.

The deer raised its head and looked at her. Just for a moment. Then it turned, shaking its white tail as it loped back toward the wooded area.

“Wait!” Cass cried out. She took a small step forward. She wanted to admire the deer some more, to rest a hand on its flanks.

There! The deer paused at the edge of the trees, watching her from one deep brown eye. As she drew near, it turned and fled into the patch of darkness. Cass raised her lantern and stepped into the trees, careful to stick to the small path that had been cut amidst them.

Feathery branches brushed against her dress. The blackness fell around her like a curtain. Her lantern sliced away only the tiniest sliver of night, but Cass sensed that the deer was gone. She turned around to head back to the party.

And then she saw the eyes.

Yellow ones. Shining like copper pieces in the dark. Not one pair. Three. They were moving. Circling between her and the safety of Villa Briani.


"I picked this (slightly edited for the tour) scene because to me it does a good job of illustrating Cass’s character. For the first third of Belladonna, she’s been afraid to go anywhere on her own, which she hates because she always prided herself on being so independent. Now she’s in Florence and she’s gradually overcoming the trauma she suffered weeks ago at the end of Venom.

Initially my Paper Lantern editors objected to this scene on the grounds of “why would she go wandering off after a deer?” I tried to change it for them so that she saw a sparkling thing in the dark and thought it was a ring of the Order, and that was what drew her farther into the woods. But then my Penguin editor was like “Why would she see something shiny and just assume it was a ring of the Order?”
See what happens when you try to please everyone? J Sometimes you just have to trust your characters. I wrote Cass as an impulsive girl with a soft spot for animals. I was working in Arizona once when I looked out the front window and saw a bobcat padding across the driveway. Dude, we don’t have bobcats in the Midwest where I live, just like Renaissance Venice didn’t have deer running around. That bobcat was like a unicorn to me. I followed it back into some woods and would have kept going if it hadn’t ditched me. So even though some readers will probably think it’s weird that Cass got all enchanted by a deer, it fits her character. Unfortunately for her, being impulsive and following animals into dark and creepy places can sometimes get you into trouble, as she is about to find out."


Belladonna is released on July 1st by HarperCollins AU

About Fiona

Fiona Paul is a writer and registered nurse from St. Louis, MO. 

(I prefer the short and sweet bio since there's a lot of other stuff to read in these posts that's more relevant than my love of coffee or desire to shark dive).

Find her at the following places:

Don't forget to check out Tsana's Reads & Reviews TOMORROW (July 6th) for the next stop of the tour (((:


  1. Happy first blog tour :) Thanks for being part of mine and for being a great twitter-friend!

  2. I'm always drawn into books that have pretty dresses on the cover! Why was I born in a time when fancy dresses are worn only like 3 times in a person's life.