Sunday 4 December 2016

Review ~ A Veil of Vines by Tillie Cole

Book Description:

To most people, princes, princesses, counts and dukes are found only in the pages of the most famous of fairytales. Crowns, priceless jewels and gilded thrones belong only in childhood dreams.
But for some, these frivolous fancies are truth. 
For some, they are real life. 
On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, people have always treated me as someone special. All because of my ancestral name and legacy. All because of a connection I share to our home country’s most important family of all.
I am Caresa Acardi, the Duchessa di Parma. A blue blood of Italy. I was born to marry well. And now the marriage date is set. 
I am to marry into House Savona. The family that would have been the royals had Italy not abolished the monarchy in 1946. But to the aristocrats of my home, the abolition means nothing at all.
The Savonas still hold power where it counts most.
In our tight-knit world of money, status and masked balls, they are everything and more. 
And I am soon to become one of them.
I am soon to become Prince Zeno Savona’s wife…
… or at least I was, until I met Achille. 
And everything changed.

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Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 4.5 stars

“Wealth is no protection from loneliness. It is very easy to be surrounded by many people yet feel like you are caught alone in the rain.”

I have to admit that I was hesitant to read this one, some of my trusted book friends were not bowled over by this book and I didn’t want to taint my six for six record with a Tillie Cole read. But, we all read differently and while for some this one was cheesy, for me, this just ticked every single hopeless romantic bone in my body. Yes, it was predictable, yes, at times it was over the top, but the little princess that is forever resident inside any female was just jumping around in happiness, with her hands over her heart as Tillie Cole delivered the ultimate fairy tale romance, a real Cinderella story where for once it was the prince that needed saving.

“…the unfortunates that in an alternate universe would be the happiest of hearts, but are forever broken and lost in this.”

One thing that Tillie Cole never fails to deliver is character connection, she embeds her characters into your heart and soul and A Veil of Vines was no different. The emotional connection that I had led to many a tear as stars fail to align and Plato’s split apart theory seems to have another two unwilling victims. Set in Italy in a well-known and sought after royal vineyard Tillie Cole transports you to the undulating hills, the rows of vines and into societal pomp and ceremony. Her atmospheric and visceral prose has you feeling the grapes, smelling the Italian fresh air and falling in love with one handsome, Italian winemaker.

Arranged marriages are a dying breed in this day and age, but in this quaint part of Italy it is very much in full flow as the Duchess di Parma and Prince Zeno put into motion the betrothal that was made by their parents when they were little children. With the King’s sudden death bringing the family’s wine business down drastic action is needed to qualm the fears of shareholders and buyers alike. Zeno is known as the “Playboy Prince” and none have confidence that this reckless and spontaneous Prince could ever emulate and fill the shoes of his predecessor.

“The monarchy is officially gone, yet look at us – a dethroned prince and an American-raised duchessa arranged to be married by our fathers. You can’t get more medieval than that.”

Caresa is the Duchess di Parma, born with Italian blue blood, raised in Italy until the diversification of the royal wine company led them to America. Now back on Italian soil to marry her prince, Caresa is not happy but willing to do whatever is necessary to secure the future of the company that her father has spent all his years tirelessly working on with the King. Wine, horses and family fill Caresa’s heart but little did she know that the biggest piece would be claimed by the winemaker that makes her favourite Merlot.

“Cinderella could keep the jewels, the carriage and the prince. I wanted the vineyard, the faded jeans and the golden touch of a beautiful winemaker.”

Achille Marchesi stole my heart, he was quiet, unassuming, hardworking, lived a simple life and lived for his vines, his wine, his Merlot. When his path crosses with Caresa’s for the first time he is forever changed, the dark becomes light, his heavy heart starts to beat once again, but most of all he finally meets his soul mate. His split apart. He knows it, she knows it, but the aristocracy don’t.

“I found you, my missing part, here amongst the vines, and nothing you say will ever change that fact.”

Forbidden romance, fairy tale romance, cute, heart fit to burst romance. Little angst, a lot of swooning a few emotional tears and I was one happy camper, make that seven for seven. I loved it, I adored it. For the little girl inside me, this was a perfect read.

“Passion fused with knowledge always births greatness.”

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