Genres: Contemporary Romance
Also by this author: Ravage, It Ain't Me Babe
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 then everything changed.
So, I was recently in the area of Italy that this story is set in. I was so excited to read it and dive back into that world! A Veil of Vines is a unique blend of upper crust aristocracy and real life blue collar life. Caresa is a likable character, which I didn’t fully expect. She is a duchessa, betrothed to a prince. However, there is no monarchy in Italy so the titles are pretty much only meaningful in their aristocratic circles. Honestly, this part of the story seemed a bit ridiculous to me. I would have enjoyed it more if it were at least real titles with real necessity for the arranged marriage. Perhaps if instead of focusing on the fake titles if Cole had focused on the modern need for the joining of the families (business) I would have been more willing to buy it. As written, it had an odd historical romance vibe, but in modern times. It threw me off a bit. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. The way Achille and his family were treated seemed so archaic and continued to give off the historical romance vibe.
Anyway, Caresa is now engaged to marry Zeno and she is sent to live in one of his estates. This estate happens to be the place where her favorite wine is created. Zeno promptly leaves her and heads to Florence (most likely to continue being a man-whore prince). Caresa meets the winemaker who is responsible for her favorite wine and begins to spend time with him. They are both lonely and have so much in common. Achille is very mature for his age, having grown up with his father and been working in the vineyard since he was a boy. He has no friends and now that his father has passed, he is running the winery all alone. He struggles with having Caresa around at first because she is of a higher social class and set to marry Zeno, who owns the land and is, for all intents and purposes, his boss.
I loved Caresa and Achille. But the plot moved super slow in my opinion. Both of them are really passionate about wine so there is a LOT of explanation about grapes and picking and making. While interesting, I felt like it really slowed the story down. However, once the story started to focus more on the characters of Zeno, Achille, and Caresa, it was easy to get sucked in. The depth of the characters Caresa and Achille is incredible. Honestly, I think these might be some of the most well written characters I have read in years. What I think was most interesting is I don’t hate Zeno. You think that he will be the villain of the story but he is not really. Not at all by the end.
Now, you all know I hate love triangles. I will honestly tell you, it isn’t really a love triangle story. I know it appears that way on its face, but that is not the direction the story takes at all!
- POV: dual 1st
- Tears: no
- Trope: royalty
- Triggers: none
- Series/Standalone: stand alone
- Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
- HEA: View Spoiler »
A Veil of Vines