This was book 14 of 2014. I received an ARC from the author, who connected via an online friend. It is published by Pan MacMillan, and was well-written. There were some weird formatting things with my version (misplaced hard returns, etc), but it was a pre-publication PDF, so I imagine that those did not show up in the final published version, which came out last Tuesday.
I did have a bit of trouble connecting with this book. It is romantic suspense, which is a genre I enjoy, and I did enjoy it, especially the last 40% or so. I felt like it took a bit of time to really get going.
The setting is fabulous. Italy is beautiful, and there was enough discussion of scenery and food to whet my appetite for a visit. One of the wonderful things about romantic suspense can be the setting chosen by the author and, in this case, the setting worked.
See! What's not to love!
The main issue that I had with the book is that I am just not sure I buy the romance. I liked Hugh Calthorpe, the romantic lead, quite a lot. Ornella, on the other hand, I wasn't so fond of her. Her over-the-top dramatic personality wore on me a bit. It was a whirlwind romance, and was intended to be, and I agree that intense events can often invest brief time periods with great significance (there's a reason that soldiers in a time of war will marry a woman that they met on a brief leave).
A word about the sex scenes. I get it that sex scenes are the thing, and I imagine that publishers everywhere are pushing their authors to include them. Some people write sex really well, some do it in a perfectly competent fashion, and sometimes it is absolutely cringeworthy. I imagine that in five or ten years, we will look back on this trend with some dismay. I am already there. I have read a lot of romance and explicit sex has stopped being titillating and become, frankly, boring. I pretty much skim over those scenes in any romance I read these days. I am much more interested in the emotional connection between the characters than in the mechanics of inserting tab A into slot B.
This author writes sex scenes that are adequate, but not inspired, and honestly, I thought the book would have been better with more allusive and less explicit explanations of the explosively awesome sex between the characters. The scenes aren't extremely explicit - it is not erotica - but reading them, I have the feeling that the author was uncomfortable writing them. I would have been fine with their absence, the suspense action could have carried this book.
Overall, an enjoyable read, especially the last half, once the action really got going and it got momentum. I would read a book by this author again.