Friday, 1 June 2012

A Hot Night or two in Sicily

Sarah Morgan is one of my favourites of the new wave of romance authors.  First published with HM&B in 2001 she does Medical romances but I like it most when she gets all angsty in Presents.

A friend of mine referred me to this little gem of information on the Ferrara name.  It is also a place.

Once a Ferrara Wife     *****

Once a Ferrara Wife...Well I should probably give myself breathing space before I write a review on Once a Ferrara Wife. Yes. it was that good. I'm still smiling stupidly at the thought of it. I've had this book sitting here for weeks after reading the first few pages and getting dragged away to other things. I've always loved Sarah Morgan's stories so I decided today was the day. Even if it killed me. It nearly did. A sinus attack forced me to put the book down halfway through so you can imagine my angst. A vapour inhaler and three hours sleep and I was able to stagger back to my Kindle and continue the journey.

And what a great journey it is. I love a good reunion story and this was perfect in every way. Christiano is the ultimate macho Sicilian male full of overweening arrogance and an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, to family, and most of all to business. The only person who apparently missed out was his wife. On the one day of her life she needed him most, he let her down.

After the emotional desert of her childhood, Laurel had enough of disappointment, of rejection, of hoping, only to be betrayed. Christiano demanded trust and when he failed her two years ago, there were to be no second chances. Laurel left, her emotions, and her marriage, in tatters.

So what was Laurel doing at his sisters wedding, acting as her Matron of Honour, locking eyes with Christiano while Dani and her new husband exchanged vows? She was only there for Dani, her best friend in college. After the wedding she would return to London to await the finalising of the divorce.

Only it wasn't to be so easy. Christiano had always read her heart and when he saw what was in her eyes he determined not to let her go.

This is where the real fun starts. Watching Christiano do what has to be done to win back the love of his life is an emotional rollercoaster. Both of them have to step out of their comfort zone to achieve some kind of reconciliation. Christiano does this in a spectacular way that explains why a crowd of women in an airport are prepared to go into bat for him.

For Laurel the journey is even more painful and as revelation upon revelation comes out, we understand exactly why their marriage has come to this place, and the tremendous amount of work needed to get it back on track.

Right from the start Sarah Morgan invests us in the protagonists. We want to see the happy ending, even though we know the way back will be fraught with difficulty. Sarah doesn't make us wait until the very end for the positives. As in so many relationships it is one step forward, two steps back. Some scenes were incredibly moving and the ending left me both choked up and smiling. A real achievement.

The Forbidden Ferrara     *****

Don't ask me how it happened. It was supposed to be just a little peek before bedtime. I read the excerpt on the authors site and it finished at a point of maximum impact. I just wanted to know what came next. What came next was 1am and it was all over bar the clean up.
The Forbidden Ferrara
Fia is a resiliant woman who responded to her loveless childhood by building herself a little family around her restaurant to provide a loving environment for her son. Having watched the Ferrara family from a distance as a child, due to a feud between the two families, her one wish was to be part of that extended happy family. They do say, be careful what you wish for.

Santino Ferrara is a cute little puppy dog who follows Fia around with his soft Spaniel's eyes. Nah! Just kidding. Santino stalks into the story smouldering with a heat just a smidgeon lower than 280 degrees C. If Christiano was hot then Santino is off the charts. If we met a third Ferrara with the heat rising exponentially he would have to take the entire responsibility for Global Warming.

Both the heroine and hero are still recovering from the conflagration of their time together one tragic night three years ago. When Santino walks into Fia's kitchen, there is a lot more simmering than what's on the stove. The revelation that Fia has more than memories of that night knocks Santino for a loop and brings out the Sicilian Family man to a macho extreme.

So shocked and concerned is he about his son that he fails to consider Fia at all in his plans except as mother to his son and bedmate. Though bedmate isn't entirely the right term when these two get together. Things got so hot I had to step back and take a breath. (If you don't believe me, check my Twitter feed) 

But I couldn't stay away for long. I had to know what happened next. Cos this is where the story became really interesting. I don't know what it is about these Ferrara males and their penchant for emotionally unavailable females but they sure do know how to up the ante when it's needed.

By the time I was cleaning up the salt water from my keyboard I was one very satisfied camper. A lovely ending to a well written book. 
Just my cup of hot chocolate.

Lucrezia de’ Medici, by Bronzino,  Married to the fifth Duke of Ferrara

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