Elena Spira, after a scandal, has been banished to Venice to nurse Samuel Farber, who has been injured. She arrives in Venice in 1884 to find the palazzo is derelict, covered in mold, mildew, soot, windowed boarded and on the inside total disrepair, ruin everywhere. I could see the ruin and feel Ms Spira’s despair from the author, Megan Chance, descriptions. Megan Chance did a wonderful job setting the scene for the meeting between Samuel Farber and Elena. Samuel used laudanum liberally for the pain of his injuries. Elena immediately takes the situation in hand.