I really enjoyed this book.
The blurb to this is one of the most misleading I’ve read for a while, as is the title. Plus it’s a spoiler, since the pregnancy doesn’t happen until late in the book. This isn’t about the consequences of an unexpected pregnancy, it’s about moving on with your life after a trauma. Perhaps Harlequin thought that would be a downer. It was so not.
This is the story of two people in mourning finding each other. It’s not usually a storyline I enjoy, but the subject is given the respect it deserves and it is handled very well and sensitively. Without being a downer. It’s a story of a turning point, a new beginning for both characters, who are, by the way, very sympathetic.
Matthew, or Matt, is in mourning for his wife Amber who died suddenly eighteen months before the story begins. He knows he has to move on, but he can’t. He’s stuck in mourning mode, and that makes him angry. He’s bought a house in Venice and that’s where he meets Evangeline. So there’s another plus. I love Venice, and either the author has visited and drunk it in, or she’s done a bucketload of research because she took me there from the start.
Evangeline is a fictionalized Adele, written with sensitivity and understanding. Adele built a career on writing songs about a bad break up and then had to have a throat operation when she developed polyps. So, the author gets to play “what if?” in this case, what if the operation went wrong and her voice was ruined? Adele was lucky, but not everyone with this condition is. It’s a delicate procedure. Evangeline is mourning the loss of her voice. So two people in mourning. Neither is self-pitying, both are getting on with their lives in the way they know best, but they are both stuck–they need to move on. If this book had been written as a love story, or general fiction, then I could see this couple giving each other what they needed and moving on with their lives, but not neccessarily together. It would still have been a happy ending, because they had what they needed. But this is a Harlequin Desire, so we know that’s not what’s going to happen.
They hook up at a party and Evangeline moves in with Matt the next day. Neither see this as a permanent arrangement, or even want it. In attitude and behaviour, they are wonderfully mature, and they have their faults. They hurt each other, and they don’t mean to. Their dilemmas are explained well and sympathetically, so I was rooting for both of them. Cantrell does what category romance is meant to do – she takes two characters, puts them through a process and they come out different at the other end. The story is exclusively about them and their feelings. Everything else in the story is subservient to that, and once I’d started this one, I didn’t stop until I was done.
I like that the healing is gradual for both of them and I love that the story concentrated on that part. It is about their recovery and gradual falling in love. nothing forces them into decisions until the pregnancy later on in the book. In some ways this is the most unsatisfactory part, but in a category-length book, something has to give. However, I did like the way they cope with the problem, especially Evangeline’s reaction.
The details of the characters’ backgrounds are convincing without being overwhelming and the story is set in Venice. True, it’s the tourist Venice, but there’s little else of it left these days.
This is a great example of category romance done right. I highly recommend this one. And it gets an A because I so had that happy sigh moment at the end.
One magical night in Venice brings two lost souls together…until a positive pregnancy test changes everything.
What was meant to be a one-night affair has turned into much more for Texas businessman Matthew Wheeler. Something about Evangeline, the mysterious woman he met at a masquerade ball, propels him from his self-imposed exile. He’s finally able to forget his tragic past and lose himself in this incredible woman.
But letting go has a price.
Evangeline’s pregnancy announcement brings reality to their Venetian villa. Are they ready to take their secret affair public? Or will their romance end with the morning light?
Read an excerpt.