Dear Ms. Rice:
Yours is a name that is oft mentioned in the same breath as ebook authors. Tara Marie, with whom I seem to correlate closely, calls you the Linda Howard of hot romances. I was thrilled to get a nomination for one of your books. Perhaps I went into the story with too high of expectations or perhaps I wasn’t in the mood. There were several things that I enjoyed in the story. I love Italy and I appreciate the great details that you brought to your setting. Your hero seemed very European to me instead of an American dressed up as an Italian.
If I could place my dissatisfaction on any one thing, I would have to point the finger toward the heroine. Hope Winston is in Italy teaching English and running a school to educate young Italian professionals to help out a friend of hers. Some of the students in her class are policemen. Others are businessmen or aspiring businessmen. The comedic aspect in this book stems from the attempts of the students to engage Hope in a romantic way.
Franco Rivera is a captain of the police force. Franco, in the great tradition of romance characters, is not only phenomenal at his job, but also well educated and from an old, wealthy family. His mother, a matriarch is all good and kind and wonderful, is delighted at Franco’s choice of love is an unfashionable American who may or may not be Catholic. It’s never really mentioned.
As good and kind and wonderful that Hope is, she also has a tendency to act too stupid to live. For example, she explains to Franco that there are strange things going on at her house. When he goes with her to check things out, she suspects something is wrong at the house. Franco tells her to stay outside, but she blithely walks in right behind him. After she sees her house is burgled and she scents that there is someone at the rear of the house, she chases after him instead of alerting Franco. More than once she tries to apprehend the villians herself, possibly endangering herself and others around her. None of these actions made any sense to me.
Admittedly, Hope has a good reason to not trust the police but to think that she can protect herself was a bit foolish. At least use the money to buy yourself some security if you don’t want to rely on the police. The mystery was also not very much of a mystery. So while the internal conflict between Hope and Franco was good (her justified aversion to police), Franco delicious and the sex hot, the actions of Hope for much of the book combined with the weak mystery have me rating this book a B-.