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REVIEW: Veretti’s Dark Vengeance by Lucy Gordon

Veretti's Dark Vengeance by Lucy GordonDear Ms. Gordon

When the story first started, I thought for sure this was going to be the standard HP with the hero jumping to conclusions about what a slut the heroine was when, in truth, she is this shrinking violet innocent despite her knock out body.

Instead, I’m treated with a strong battle of the sexes where, more often than not, the heroine holds the upper hand and the hero ruefully acknowledging that he is putty in her hands. Helena doesn’t mince words with Salvatore:

"I could always apologise,' Salvatore said carefully.

"For everything?'

"Everything I can remember. If I forget anything I dare say you'll remind me.'

"I can forgive everything except that last remark-‘"the kind of woman she is". What kind of woman am I, Salvatore?'

"Please-‘do we have to go into that?'

"I think we do. Surely you're not asking me to spare your blushes. Or is it mine you're trying to spare? "A smart miss on the make-‘married him for his money." Why don't you just call me a prostitute and have done with it?'

She had the pleasure of seeing that her frankness made him uneasy.

"Let's say instead a very clever lady,' he said.

"No, let's say prostitute because that's what you meant. Have the courage of your convictions. If you're going to call me names, do it to my face.'

"You're right, signora, I don't like being bullied-‘'

"No, you prefer doing the bullying.'

Helena marries Antonio, a man much older than her, and when he dies, she inherits a Murano glass making firm. Antonio’s younger cousin, Salvatore Veretti, owns a rival Murano glass making firm and intends to buy Helena’s firm by crushing her. Instead, Salvatore finds himself intrigued, bemused, and entangled in Helena. Helena is the renowned model, Helen of Troy, who made a fortune with her figure and face and dropped out of modeling two years ago. Helena wanted to try her hand at being a business woman.

The Venetian setting was integrated into the story. Venice is portrayed as a small community whose gossip line is more efficient than the local bridge club.

Antonio had told her about the Venice grapevine.

"Whisper a secret at one end of the Grand Canal and it'll reach the other end before you do,' he'd said.

One thing I found disconcerting was how quickly Helena, the heroine, was able to arrange big modeling jobs to save her company. I know modeling is a tough market and Helena is kind of old (32) for modeling in the story. But HPs are built on creating fantasy and I guess that it played only a minor part.

The middle section is the best as the two try to one up each other while it is bookended by infodumping set up in the front and big misunderstanding at the end. Overall, though, a decent and quick HP read with a fun heroine. C+

Best regards,


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This is a trade paperback published by NAL but pre-Agency pricing.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Jill Q
    May 21, 2010 @ 15:13:41

    I love Lucy Gordon’s books set in Italy. I lived in Italy for 5 years and her Italy and Italians seem a little bit more “real” than many others. (while still more fantasy than reality of course). I think it is b/c she gets little details right.

  2. Joanne
    May 21, 2010 @ 16:40:50

    Royal and Ruthless – doesn’t that sound like an alternative rock group?

    I love a story set in Venice. I love a story where the dialogue is grown-up and I think Heidi Klum is in her mid thirties and could ask for any sum of money she wanted so – I’m sold.

    Thanks Jane.

  3. Ros
    May 22, 2010 @ 01:19:52

    @Joanne: And Naomi Campbell is 40 but I don’t see her being passed over in favour of younger models any time soon.

    I like the sound of this book, except I am nervous about the royal byline – I’m not sure why, but my imagination doesn’t cope well with made-up princes and kings from made-up countries. And if they’re in Venice, I’m struggling to see where the made-up land could be.

  4. Jane
    May 22, 2010 @ 09:49:57

    I can’t think of the reason why this has royalty in it. Maybe Salvatore is a prince in Venice? In any event, I think it okays a very minor role.

  5. Ros
    May 22, 2010 @ 11:10:07

    @Jane: Cool, thanks.

  6. Carol Storm
    May 24, 2010 @ 07:00:08

    Wow, Jane! You did a great job showing how this title is a cut above typical Presents fare — that dialogue excerpt really got me on the heroine’s side in a hurry. I will definitely be looking for this title.

    One thing made me chuckle, though. The whole “dark” vengeance concept. As opposed to “light” vengeance?

    Like the heroine says, why not be direct? “His Sexy Vengeance,” what a title!

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