REVIEW: A Legacy of Secrets by Carol MarinelliTuesday, April 23, 2013 0:00
Santo Corretti has a shady Sicilian family who is into a lot of unspecified bad stuff. He’s a film producer and Ella, his personal assistant, wants to be a director. But she’s a very good personal assistant, until the day she resigns. Ella has her secrets, too. She has an abusive father who regularly hits on her mother. After the day he finally turns on his daughter and puts her in the hospital, Ella leaves home. Although she’s saved enough for her mother to come, too, her mother refuses. She loves her husband.
I’m really glad that Ella doesn’t take anything lying down. She saved, and when it becomes obvious that her mother isn’t leaving him, Ella leaves. The description of her getting her job with Santo is just believable enough for it to work. While Ella’s Italian isn’t as good as she thinks, she gets by, and Santo enjoys her working for him. He also has the hots for her, but enough respect not to hit on an employee.
The interactions between Santo and Ella are amusing. While Santo is the typical alpha male, he doesn’t step over the line into jerky or abusive. He is overbearing, sure, but he will listen to others before going his own way anyway. Santo doesn’t realise that Ella has the hots for him, because she won’t let her shields down. She’s seen the women in his life come and go and she doesn’t want to be another notch on his bedpost. And he doesn’t mess with his staff.
But after one more blonde, Ella resigns. She’s had enough. And the gloves are off.
Ella and Santo’s banter is fun and the situation just about believable. On the set of Santo’s latest movie, he’s having problems with finding the right director, so, eventually, after Ella makes a suggestion, he lets her have a go. That is totally not what happens, so much that I had difficulty reading on, but I let it ride. The fact that Ella has a passion for film and has spent years studying it isn’t enough. By then Ella and Santo are lovers, but he disassociates himself from her on set. I enjoyed the way they become lovers. He invites her, and she takes him up on it. After all, she’s working out her notice and she knows if she doesn’t take the step, she’ll spend the rest of her life wondering.
The story flows well, and I had a good time reading it, even though I never quite bought into the story line. But I’ve read far more outlandish stories recently, and I know very little about the film-making process, so Marinelli can get away with a lot with me on that score. Santo is a fun man with dark, family secrets that he tries to keep at a distance, but when he discovers Ella’s secrets, he behaves just the way I hoped he would, and so I could finish the book believing that he is really ready to give up his bed-hopping and make a happy future with Ella, who never lets him get away with anything.
It confuses me that Santo has a brother called Alessandro, since they’re both essentially the same name. I kept re-reading those parts to get the gist of the story.
Business & Pleasure: What the Corretti playboy wants…
Personal assistant Ella is never without her “Santo Bag”—not the latest designer “must have,” but emergency supplies to handle whatever the devilish Santo Corretti throws at her. But no pair of sunglasses will cover the darkness in her boss’s eyes this morning.
Scandal is circling. Santo’s family is in tatters. His brother is languishing in a jail cell and his latest film’s on the rocks. All Santo wants is a little TLC. Except, Ella’s heart is not part of the playboy fix-it kit.
But what Santo Corretti wants he gets!
Read an excerpt.