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4.6 out of 5 stars
The Bernini Quest
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
Ann Port has outdone Dan Brown in telling her story of Vatican intrigue. The mystery has plenty of facets to satisfy sophisticated readers, and the action scenes are adrenaline pumping. But where Port excels is with her most engaging way of presenting centuries-old historical information as well as describing behind-the-scenes details of modern broadcasting. To reveal how she best outshines Brown would involve a spoiler, so you'll just have to read the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Unfortunately I did not enjoy The Bernini Quest as much as the other reviewers. I bought the book since the author is a local and the plot as summarized on Amazon appeared to be very interesting. I was also influenced to purchase by the positive reviews posted. However, I was disappointed by the writing which is mechanical and awkward, especially in the dialogue between the main characters. I felt I was reading a Nancy Drew or Trixi Beldon mystery at times. Plot development is lacking as is character development. The ending is too long as if the author wasn't sure how to end the story. The token sex scene between Michael and Emma comes across as just that. I came away with the impression that the author forced the scene into the ending so as not to disappoint readers. This is where a good editor can help and it doesn't appear that Ms Port's editor was on the job. The redeeming parts of the book are the descriptions of Bernini's and Borromini's works of art, the city of Rome, and the food. Ms Port's descriptions enable the reader to see and taste as if actually in Rome. It is too bad her writing talent didn't extend to the actual story she was trying to tell. So if the reader wants to experience Rome, this novel will deliver. With regret, I cannot recommend The Bernini Quest if the reader is looking for an adult, well written mystery/thriller.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Like the 2 star reviewer I was influenced by the positive reviews to try this book. I have been to Rome, have become a huge fan of Bernini, and I have my flights booked for my second trip. Including a second visit to the Galleria Borghese. All reasons why I want to learn even more about Bernini and was curious about this book. Save your money people and stick to non-fiction if your reasons for being interested in this book are the same as mine. The author's grasp of history seems fairly sound but it is not worth wading through the poorly written fictional sections. A few glaring comments/errors right at the beginning just set my teeth on edge. The first - international flights routinely arriving 1/2 hour early! Really, on what planet? Another - if you draw a triangle between the Excelsior, the Spanish Steps, and the Borghese gardens, the hotel is not at the top of the triangle, at least not if your map has north at the top like every other map in the world. And how on earth can you NOT be a fan of Baroque style but still admire Bernini? Bernini was instrumental in creating the Baroque style of sculpture and architecture. Bernini is Baroque! I don't understand the reasons for these discrepancies, the author could have been accurate and it would have fit the plot just fine. And why would the main character 'half expect' the hotel receptionist to be snooty because of the grandeur of the hotel? Everyone I met in Rome was unfailingly polite and extremely courteous. Yes, I know this is fiction but it's bad fiction and I barely finished the Kindle sample.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
I will never see Rome through the same eyes again. Ms. Port has piqued my interest in art history, something no college professor or other writer has ever managed to do for me. And, of course, I'm now a true Bernini fan. So the interweaving of the past with the present pulse of the Catholic Church is not only of significance, but presented through Port's skillful artistry, is of genuine interest no matter the reader's spiritual or religious tradition. It's a well-plotted mystery with all the requisite elements, including its twists, turns, and switchbacks. This is again a keeper!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
When I first received the Bernini Quest, I decided to read just a few pages of the book to get a feel for it and then save the rest to read after the busy Holiday season. The next thing I knew, it was 1 am, and I was promising myself I would read "only a few more pages" before reluctantly turning off the light. This fascinating page-turner so captivated me that I would spend the daytime thinking about the characters and the nights reading way past midnight. I am not very interested in art, Rome, or the activities of the Vatican, but the mystery, intrigue, adventure, and hint of romance in the Bernini Quest hooked me. Author Ann Port excels in doing what few authors can do--she gives you an education without your even realizing it. I learned so much about art, Bernini, and the language, sights, and food of Rome, and I had fun doing it. Her characters were well developed and were in my thoughts well after the book was over. Port has replaced Mary Higgins Clark as my favorite mystery writer and I hope I do not have to wait too long for her next book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
Mystery, adventure, history and romance all intertwined into one book, makes the Bernini Quest one of the best books I've ever read! The book is so well written, I felt myself transported back to the places in Rome where I had been on vacation 2 years ago. The Bernini Quest is an exciting, heart pounding historical fiction and was very hard to put down! At work I kept wondering what was going to happen to the characters in the book. To me, those are 2 signs of a good book- not being able to put it down and thinking about it when not reading. To say I enjoyed reading this book is an understatement! I just saw Ann Port has another book and I'm looking forward to reading- IZNIK ENIGMA!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
You have no idea how many times I went to Google for Bernini throughout the book and was filled with such joy; it was as though I was transformed in Emma's space while looking at the sculptures, especially Apollo and Dafne, St. Teresa's Ecstasy and Bernini's self portrait on Google was eye-opening to see how young he was when he started his journey of becoming one of the world's greatest artists in history. I have had as a young woman, many art history lessons but nothing like you have told in The Bernini Quest.
After just finishing, I am still in Rome.......
Thank you Ann for bringing me your special gift of a superb read. Mysteries are my all time favorite never mind the detailed history lesson which I will forever cherish and hope to travel to Italy some day. It's All In The Title will remain as the first and most serene discoveries of the many books I know are to come. I really think you should send this one to Hollywood.......seriously.
I recommend this book to anyone looking to be transported to Italy and be wrapped up in a mystery. You won't be able to put this book down!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read this book with the computer open as my companion, a wise decision as I was able to look at Bernini's works as Ann Port deftly weaves them into the narrative. SO much fun to follow the book's characters to familiar places in Rome, but importantly to look and learn more about Bernini's works of sculpture and architecture which I teach. I have read many novels that mention or claim to understand the work of great artists but until now have been disappointed by what these authors considered important to describe or by what they omitted. Port brings you into the world of Bernini, the politics, and the complex web of power and genius that fueled the arts as legacy for wealthy families, the church, and for the artist himself. I have never seen it written that Bernini chafed at any of these challenging commissions; his ability to combine sensuous, breath-taking marbles is as much about Rome to us today as is the mouth-watering food described in this page- turning book. Pull up a chair, your ipad and read, look, learn, and bask in the pleasures of Rome.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
In this fast paced modern day adventure a woman TV journalist's assignment takes her to Rome to report on an important art exhibit. In a few days she becomes aware of a sinister plot to disrupt the hierachy of the Vatican.

In the midst of this conspiracy the reader is treated to a tour of Rome to view the sculptures and work of Bernini. From the author's comprehensive descriptive passages, it was simple to visualize the genius of Bernini and understand the beauty of his sculptures and his contribution to the treasures of Rome.

With a great deal of nail biting intrigue, the mystery is eventually solved with a dash of humor and romance.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
I loved Ann Port's first book, and quite frankly, I suspected the second one, coming so soon after the first, would not elicit the raves I now have to offer. I had planned to take The Bernini Quest on a vacation, but I thought I would read a few pages before leaving. Well, I could not put my book down and finished it before I left. The story was filled with adventure and intrigue, and I learned so much. Ann's descriptions of Bernini's work were extraordinary, and I found myself headed back to college art history books with a renewed interest. What a delightful way to get an education! I shall look forward to Ann Port's next book.
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