Wednesday, 9 November 2011
365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #214
The Italian Next Door - Anna Cleary
Mills & Boon RIVA
Harlequin UK, 2011
From the back cover:
"The perfect holiday: sun, sand, sea and...
Pia Renfern's holiday planning is easy - relaxation and recuperation are the only things on her to-do list! And she can't imagine they'll be too difficult in the beautiful, exclusive Italian village of Positano...
But before she's even out of the airport Pia's heart is racing, her skin tingling and her mind filled with wild, uninhibited images of a holiday fling! The culprit? Valentino Silvestri - glorious Italian demi-god and Pia's new next-door neighbour...With him on her doorstep each day, how is a girl ever meant to wind down?"
I love the name and cover of this book, and as it's a RIVA I thought I would like this one, and I did.
The heroine Pia arrives in Italy hoping for a relaxing holiday after recovering from a very traumatic experience. She meets the hero Valentino, her neighbour, and is immediately put on edge by his very obvious flirtations. Valentino is intrigued by the nervous Pia, and hopes to indulge in some R&R with her. He is worn out and a little disillusioned from his high pressure career with Interpol, and very guarded when it comes to women after the disaster of his marriage. Although Pia is still feeling very nervous after her ordeal, she seems to trust Valentino and enjoys the time they spend together, and the passion between them brings them closer and closer. But with Valentino's trust issues and Pia's still nervous nature and refusal to open up their relationship hits a wall. And, when the same thing that led to his first marriage ending intrudes on him and Pia, Valentino thinks that there is no future for them.
As expected from a book in the RIVA line, this story has a real fresh and flirty feel, with plenty of chemistry between the hero and heroine. It is so refreshing to have a hero who isn't some millionaire financier/banker/corporate/businessman type; Valentino being an investigator with Interpol is a great idea. But this could have been made a lot more of. Pia also has a very interesting background; a one confident woman, whom has struggled to come to terms with a traumatic experience, but again I feel this wasn't made the most out of.
The relationship develops between the hero and heroine is quite a simple one, I love the holiday romance element and it is very pleasant to red. But I just feel that this is a book that has a lot of missed opportunities that could have made this spectacular. And, the ending is so rushed and random that it left me a little confused, but I did enjoy reading the book, so it's not all bad!