Lady Elizabella Aldrich receives notice of an inheritance in Padua, Italy. Arriving from England, she discovers another heir lays claim to the castle. An unreasonably handsome Italian rogue stands between her and the castle she’s inherited.
Leonardo Da Mitri never met the noble who included him in his will. But after one look at Lady Eliza he relishes the challenge of defeating the beauty to make the castle his own.
Astonished to learn they must wed and remain married for a year, it soon becomes apparent someone does not want the nuptials to take place. As Eliza fights her growing desire for Leo, he fights for his life. Will he walk away from his inheritance–and Eliza? Or is he willing to risk everything to stay married to the woman who has claimed his heart as hers… to keep?
Review: Lady Eliza has received a letter informing her she has inherited an Italian castle and lands from someone she’s never heard of. Journeying from England to her new home in Italy, she finds someone else has also been informed he’s inherited the same property, a commoner named Leonardo. The will stipulates that Eliza inherits the castle itself, and Leonardo has inherited the land. In order for them to fulfill the stipulations of the will and keep their inheritance, they must marry and stay married for a year and a day. While neither one wants to marry, Leonardo is fascinated by the headstrong, stubborn Eliza. Eliza, while fearing for her virtue, finds him devilishly attractive. What they don’t know is that someone does not want them to marry and succeed.
I liked the mystery surrounding the inheritance in a far-off Italian town, which is why I chose to read this book. Leonardo is a good hero – handsome, strong, confident, and he’s been forced to pull himself up by his bootstraps. While he’s been known to go after what he wants, he doesn’t force himself on anyone.
Eliza as a character has a lot of potential, but it took me awhile to like her. While I can understand she’s been thrown into a place and circumstances that are completely foreign to her (no pun intended), she comes across as haughty and shrewish. Her first night in the castle, her servants are set to guard her door so Leonardo does not force his way in and essentially rape her. In my opinion, the author could have stated her fears once, but instead Eliza dwells on this far too long and comes across as a coward. I want my heroines to be strong, capable, and willing to defend themselves when necessary. Seeing Leonardo through her eyes does not make him hero-worthy.
I would have liked a much deeper point of view from the characters. There were a few instances of “head-hopping” – jumping from one character to another. Few authors can pull this off successfully, and it takes the reader out of the story when not handled right.
One of the best characters was the broom-wielding servant Leticia. She comes to Eliza’s aid several times with her broom, fending off Leonardo, and then the evil villain.
The author did a nice job with the setting, and I could easily picture the castle that Eliza and Leonardo have inherited.