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book cover Limecello’s review of The Santorini Bride by Anne McAllister
Contemporary romance published by Harlequin Presents on 1 Feb 2007

The Santorini Bride is an older book, but definitely worth reading. I think it’s one of the best Harlequin Presents books I’ve read, and I can’t really think of cliches it truly falls into. Anne McAllister is a great author, and this story is very unique. While it has a number of the comfortable and expected occurrences from a Harlequin Presents story, there are a number of differences, and it’s very believable.

Martha Antonides is a great character. She’s spunky, fun, smart, and your typical Presents heroine, but not. She’s not very experienced, but for a good reason – she doesn’t want to live the same mistakes she’s seen her sister make. She then falls for a playboy tycoon sailor [yes truly – and they do exist!]… but when things go south, she picks herself up and moves on.

Theo Savas is an idiot, but a delightful one. He’s a jerk, but doesn’t mean to be. He’s rather charming, old school, and courteous. He’s also emotionally stunted, because what Presents hero isn’t? But he happens to come to his senses much earlier than most HP heroes do. Unlucky for him, he’s found a lady with a spine, and has to go chasing after her. Theo’s determination, and interaction with Martha is really sweet, and helps develop his character a lot.

The Santorini Bride starts out as a number of Harlequin Presents do, but continues on where a number of them would have ended. That’s what makes it so satisfying. This is almost a story of “what happens after the ‘happily ever after’.” The character don’t fall in love the first time they have sex. Or the second. Or the first week. In fact, they hurt each other deeply. (Or, Martha is hurt.)

I loved that Theo was an idiot, but much more invested than he thought. While he’s denying the connection to himself, the fact that he reacts so strongly to “Bloody Julian” is quite entertaining, and rather sweet.

The fact that the Santorini Bride takes place in three vastly different settings I think gives it a depth and allows the reader to see aspects of Martha and Theo’s character that wouldn’t otherwise have been as apparent. The idyllic vacation on Santorini where they were playing a part… the happy wedding both have to attend because of relatives… and then in the middle of nowhere Montana, where Theo finally tracks Martha down.

I thought there was some poetic justice that Martha chooses a land locked state to get over Theo, and that he uses art to finally get to Martha. (She’s a muralist.) I also love Ted the dog, and I love how Theo interacts with him, the ending, the students… I’ve already re-read this story a number of times and know it’ll be one of my comfort reads in the future. [And totally unrelated, but Ms. McAllister gets a giant shiny gold star for having excerpts of her books available!]

LimecelloGrade: A-

Billionaire Theo Savas didn’t need marriage. He’d been there, done that and he wasn’t doing it again. Not that it stopped nearly every single woman on the planet trying. Theo wanted space, maybe even a bit of celibacy. So he was furious when he’d just got himself settled in an isolated house on a Greek island-and came downstairs to discover Martha Antonides letting herself in! But forced together, passion overcame them. Eventually, of course, Theo went back to his bachelor lifestyle-and Martha discovered she was pregnant. She knew she couldn’t turn to Theo-he was strictly a no-strings man.

Read an excerpt here.