Friday, 2 June 2017

Excerpt Blitz | Duke with Benefits by Manda Collins


Duke with Benefits
by Manda Collins
Genres: Historical, Romance
Series: Studies in Scandal - Book Two
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on June 27th, 2017

Summary from Goodreads: 
LADY + DUKE = TRUE LOVE?

Lady Daphne Forsyth is a brilliant mathematician with a burning passion for puzzles. When she learns that the library belonging to her benefactress houses the legendary Cameron Cipher―an encrypted message that, once solved, holds the key to great riches―Daphne is on the case. Unfortunately, her race to unlock the cipher’s code is continually thwarted by a deliciously handsome distraction she hadn’t counted on. . .and cannot resist.


Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, is curious as to why Daphne is spending so much time snooping around his aunt’s bookshelves. He’s even more intrigued by her bold yet calculating manner: She is unapologetic about her secret quest. . .and the fiery attraction that develops between them both. But how can they concentrate on solving a perplexing enigma once the prospect of true love enters the equation?
 


Duke with Benefits is the second in Manda Collins' Studies in Scandal series set in Regency England. 
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About The Author:

Manda Collins is the author of several books, including Ready Set Rogue and The Lords of Anarchy series. She spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. When she’s not writing, she’s helping other people use books, as an academic librarian.

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Excerpt


“There you are, my dear,” said the Earl of Forsyth with a beaming smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. 

Maitland saw at once that Daphne favored him. Her green eyes were the same shade as his, though there were lines of dissipation bracketing the earl’s. And though his expertly cropped blond hair was shot through with silver, what remained of its original color was the same shade as hers. But whereas Daphne’s gaze was focused off to the left of whomever she conversed with, like a bird hovering just over a branch, Forsyth’s speared one with cold calculation. As he did to Daphne now. 

“You are looking well, Daphne,” the earl continued, stepping forward to embrace his daughter, who looked as uncomfortable with the contact as Maitland had ever seen her. “The sea air agrees with you. As I knew it would.” 

“The sea is very beautiful,” Daphne replied woodenly. “Why are you here, Father?” 

“Is that any way to greet your Papa?” the earl chided, stepping back from her and wandering farther into the room, standing to stare out at the gardens below through the window. “I’ve traveled all the way from London to see you. And this lovely estate. I must admit that when I first learned of your inheritance, I thought it was all some sort of trick. But you would have your own way and leave the loving bosom of your family no matter what I said. Now that I’m here, though, and see it in person, I must admit that it’s a lovely spot. And your chaperone, Lady Serena, is quite beautiful, isn’t she? A widow, I take it?” 

His jaw clenched at the man’s mention of Serena, and Maitland thought perhaps it was time to announce himself. Daphne seemed not to realize he’d followed her in, and the earl was too busy waxing rhapsodic over the beauties of Beauchamp House. 

“I don’t believe we’ve met, Forsyth,” he said forcefully, stepping up to stand side by side with Daphne. He gave a slight bow, perhaps not quite as deep as was warranted, but not caring. “The Duke of Maitland. I am a friend of your daughter’s, you might say.” 

What he meant by that last, he could not say, but the man made every bit of protective instinct within him go on the alert. He was her father, but all the same Maitland knew that Daphne was no safer with him than she would have been with Sommersby if he still lived. 

At the sound of the duke’s voice, Lord Forsyth turned with almost comical haste from the window and stared. For the barest flicker, he looked angry. Well, if he were upset at the knowledge that his daughter was not without friends, then he would simply have to swallow it. Because Maitland was damned if he’d leave her alone with the fellow. 

“Duke,” Lord Forsyth said with a tilt of his head, “I am pleased to make your acquaintance. I was a friend of your father’s, and had little notion I’d be meeting you here. He was a good man, your father.” 

His father had been nothing of the sort, but Maitland was hardly going to discuss it with Forsyth. 

“I am here visiting my sister, Lady Serena,” Maitland said coolly, letting the other man know in tone rather than words that he had not appreciated the older man’s speculative words about her earlier. “And of course my cousin, Kerr. He only recently married another of the heiresses here, and resides here with her.” 

Forsyth’s eyes narrowed at the implication that Daphne was well protected should her father wish to cause trouble. At least that was the message Maitland was endeavoring to send. And by the looks of it, Forsyth read him loud and clear. 

“Capital, capital,” the earl said with false cheer. “A merry party you must all make here. I had no idea you were in such fine company here, Daphne. No notion at all.” 

“Because we have not spoken since I left,” Daphne said, looking from her father to Maitland then back again, as if wondering what went on between them. “And now, father, I really must ask you to leave. I have a great deal of work to do and . . .” 

“Don’t be absurd, Daphne,” her father said with a shake of his head. “I only just arrived. And there is something very important I must speak to you about.” He turned to Maitland with a raised brow. “I’m sure you’ll excuse us, Duke. I’m afraid what I need to tell my daughter is private family business.” 

Maitland was opening his mouth to tell the man he would leave Daphne alone with him when hell froze over, when Daphne did it for him. 

“Maitland stays,” she said, reaching out to grasp him by the arm. It was as much of a cry for help as he’d ever thought he’d see from her. Wordlessly, he slipped her arm into his, as if they were about to promenade round the room. He covered her hand with his, keenly aware of the thread of tension in her. 

Once more, the earl’s eyes narrowed, and he turned an assessing gaze on Maitland, perhaps realizing for the first time the threat coming at him from that direction. 

His jaw clenched, Forsyth said grimly, “Very well. If you wish your friend to witness our dirty linen, so be it.” As if needing to be in motion in order to speak, the earl began to pace the area between the window and the fireplace. “You know, Daphne, you left me without any obvious means of recouping what I lost from years of paying that tutor of yours, old man Sommersby.” 

“You agreed to pay him,” Daphne said tightly. “After I threatened to expose . . .” 

Hastily, Forsyth continued, “And I am currently in need of funds. As such, I must insist you return to London with me for the time being and meet a particular gentleman who has expressed interest in marrying you. Though his birth is not as high as yours, he’s quite wealthy and will make you a good husband, I trust. He’s assured me he has no concern about your odd ways, if you’re as beautiful as your portrait.” 

Before Maitland could burst out with the string of invectives the other man’s pronouncement inspired in him, Daphne said, “I cannot marry this person. I’ve never even met him. You promised me that I would not have to marry someone for money as long as I won enough at the tables. I did so. You promised me, father.” 

“I never actually promised, Daphne.” Forsyth said with a shake of his head. “If you chose to interpret it as such, that is not my fault. Now, go pack your things.” 

Daphne’s hand on Maitland’s arm gripped him tightly. And before he even knew what he was doing, he said, “I’m afraid that’s impossible, Forsyth. Daphne is staying here.” 

“I don’t know who you think you are, Maitland,” said the earl through clenched teeth, “but I am her father, and I am well within my rights to take her back to London. Now, kindly take your hands off of her and let her go pack.” 

“It might once have been your right, Forsyth,” Maitland said coldly, “but Lady Daphne is my betrothed now and as such, she will remain here. With me.” 




 Copyright © 2017 by Manda Collins and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.



Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Blog Tour | The Dangerous Billionaire by Jackie Ashenden


The Dangerous Billionaire 
by Jackie Ashenden 
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Series: The Tate Brothers - Book One
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on May 2nd, 2017

Summary from Goodreads: 
Navy SEAL Sullivan "Van" Tate has been called home to reluctantly inherit an empire and finds himself facing the most difficult mission of all: love.

Nothing about Sullivan "Van" Tate is what it seems. A Navy SEAL raised among the New York City elite, Van prefers heart-pounding action over a Wall Street corner office. But when his adoptive father dies and his business rivals move in to overtake his empire, Van must suit up to save the company and protect the one woman most forbidden to him…and the object of Van's most dangerous desires.

Chloe Tate is as ambitious as she is gorgeous. With a newfound independence, Chloe is no longer a prisoner on her father’s ranch. But everything changes when losing her father may also mean losing her life. Even with her survival on the line, Chloe can’t deny the burning attraction she feels the moment she locks eyes with Van, her rich, rough and ready, foster brother and the new head of her father’s company.

Tall, dark, and muscled, he's the one man who she has no business being with. But how can she resist a Navy Seal Warrior when he’ll do anything to protect her?
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About The Author:

Jackie Ashenden lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband, the inimitable Dr. Jax, and their two kids and two cats. When she's not torturing alpha males and their stroppy heroines, she can be found drinking chocolate martinis, reading anything she can lay her hands on, posting random crap on her blog, or being forced to go mountain biking with her husband.


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Excerpt


He didn’t look at her. Instead he shifted his weight onto one elbow and lifted his hand, cupping one breast in his palm. The breath hissed in her throat, the shocking heat of his touch reverberating through her like a scream echoing through a deserted house. He brushed his thumb over her aching nipple and she gasped, all the desperation she’d felt earlier rushing back.

He lowered his head, putting his mouth against the pulse at the base of her throat, the feel of his lips so hot she began to shiver almost uncontrollably. His tongue pressed lightly, his thumb brushing back and forth over her nipple, teasing her. She groaned, her spine bowing, pleasure like a live thing twisting inside her.

“Beautiful,” he whispered roughly against her skin, giving her the reassurance she needed without her even having to ask. “You’re just so fucking beautiful.”

He didn’t speak after that, too busy trailing kisses down over her skin, making goose bumps rise everywhere, the brush of his thumb maddening. Then he took his hand away as his mouth closed over the hard point of her nipple, hot and wet, an intense pressure building as he began to suck.

She groaned again, the pleasure bright and electric, her hands closing into fists beside her head. It felt so good she could hardly stand it. She whispered his name yet again, the sound raw as he teased her nipple with his tongue, then bit gently on it, making a sob catch in her throat.

He shifted his attention to her other breast, sucking that into his mouth as well as he slid one hand down the quivering plane of her stomach, to the fastening of her jeans. She lifted her hips urgently, unable to keep still, wanting to pull away from the maddening torture of his mouth and yet wanting him to suck harder, deeper at the same time.

“Hush.” His breath was hot against her sensitized nipple. “I told you to keep still. It’ll happen, don’t worry.”

She tried to do as she was told as he casually flicked open the button on her jeans and grabbed the tab of her zipper, tugging it down. Then his fingers were feathering light touches across her stomach, moving lower, sliding beneath the waistband of her panties. The breath sobbed in her throat as she felt those teasing fingers tangle in the soft, damp curls between her thighs, pulling lightly, sending tiny pinpricks of sensation racing over her skin.

She said something, she didn’t know what, maybe it was his name again or maybe it was a curse, and then she forgot it entirely as his fingers slid lower, stroking the soft, slick folds of her pussy.

Her hips bucked against his hand, her head going back on the pillow. He circled her clit with one finger, teasing her. Inching her closer toward the edge of the cliff but not pushing her off.

His mouth was so hot on her nipple, licking and sucking, torturing her as his fingers stroked unhurriedly

around and around her clit, then sliding down to circle the entrance of her body, almost pushing inside

but not quite.

He was playing with her, making her moan and move restlessly beneath him, blind now to anything but the feel of his hands on her body and the relentless pressure that was slowly building higher and higher.

Then quite suddenly he took his hands away and she nearly burst into tears at the loss, reaching for him as she felt his weight shift up and back.

“Lie still.” The rough sound of his voice rolled over her, full of command. “I’m not going anywhere.”

So she did as she was told, lying back against the pillows, blinking away the stupid rush of salty tears from her eyes and watching him slide off the bed. He straightened and pulled his shirt off, then got rid of his shoes. He un­ did his pants, pushed them down his hips along with his briefs, and stepped out of them magnificently, gloriously naked, but for his dog tags.

She couldn’t stop staring at him, following the carved lines of muscle and sinew, a work of perfect, masculine art, the eagle and trident inked across his chest making it very clear—as if his body hadn’t already—exactly what he was.

Dangerous, lethal. A weapon in human form.

He bent and got his wallet out of his pants, every movement fluid, purposeful as he extracted a foil packet from it. Then he ripped the open the foil, taking out the latex inside. And as she watched, completely fascinated, he reached down and gripped his cock in one hand, rolling down the condom with the other.

Big. He was really big. And beautiful too.

Her hands itched, wanting to touch him, to stroke down the long, smooth length of his rigid flesh, feel exactly how hard he was. But then he was moving, the bed dipping as he got back onto it. And her breath caught as he reached for the waistband of her jeans, pulling the denim down her legs in short, hard jerks, taking her panties along with them, and finally slipping them both off. Then he put his hands on her bare thighs and with ruthless insistence, spread them wide apart.

Another rush of vulnerability swept over her and she half sat up, breathing fast. “Van, I . . .” she began, before stopping short, not knowing what she wanted to say.

But he was moving forward, putting his hands on her shoulders and easing her back. “Let me look.” His voice had gentled again. “I only want to look at you.”

She tried to relax against the pillows, letting him hold her thighs apart, his gaze returning between them. The look on his face was so hungry, making her feel less ex­ posed and more . . . powerful almost. She liked doing that to him. She liked making him look at her as if he was starving.

He moved forward quite suddenly, coming over her, surrounding her with all that bare, tanned skin and strong muscle, his dog tags brushing against her sensitized breasts. The scent of him was everywhere, fresh, with that spicy, earthy undertone, and she was abruptly trembling so hard she didn’t think she’d ever stop.

He said nothing, looking at down at her, and this time his expression was fierce with something she didn’t under­ stand. She wanted to ask him what it was, but then he slid one hand beneath her hips, lifting them, and she felt the head of his cock slide through her folds, nudging against her clit. And she forgot what she was going to ask. In fact, she lost the power of speech entirely.

All she could do was lie there, shaking and desperate as he teased her, and when she didn’t think she could bear it anymore, he began to push his cock inside her, the intense stretch and burn of her pussy around him tearing a gasp from her throat.

She sobbed, because he didn’t rush. He went slowly. Inch by inch. Murmuring encouragement, telling her what a good girl she was, how tight and wet and hot her pussy was, and how good she felt around his cock. The dirty talk made her break out into a sweat, the climax so near she could almost taste it, making her want to shove herself up onto him or do something—anything—to push herself over the edge. But he didn’t let her, pinning one of her hips to the mattress with one hand as he lifted her leg up and around his waist with the other, tilting her pelvis so he could slide in deeper.

She stopped pleading, her throat too dry, her voice too hoarse. Besides, it was clear he wasn’t going to do anything until he was good and ready. She could only breathe through the pleasure that was wrapping itself around her throat and squeezing tight, making her gasp, making lights burst behind her eyes.

Then he was seated deep inside her, and she found herself pressed to the mattress, pinned beneath the hot, heavy weight of him. But strangely, looking up into his beautiful face, she didn’t feel crushed. She felt anchored. As if for the first time since she’d left Wyoming she’d come home in some way.

She didn’t speak as his arms came around her, cradling her, holding her close against him like she was a secret he wanted to keep safe. Then he drew back his hips and thrust deep inside her.

Chloe came apart then, sobbing against his shoulder, shattering as easily and as lightly as a sphere of blown glass, the pieces of her held together only by the strength of his arms.



Copyright © 2017 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.



Thursday, 4 May 2017

Blog Tour | The Bad Luck Bride by Janna MacGregor


The Bad Luck Bride
by Janna MacGregor
Genres: Romance, Historical
Series: The Cavensham Heiresses - Book One
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on May 2nd, 2017

Summary from Goodreads: 
All were shocked at the announcement of the “cursed” Lady Claire Cavensham to Lord Alexander Hallworth, the Marquess of Pembrooke, especially since she is already engaged to another unfortunate Lord. Perhaps she will make it to the altar this time with one of these fine gentlemen! Could her run of bad luck finally be at an end? It’s highly doubtful in this writer’s humble opinion. —Midnight Cryer
No one is left breathless at the imperious pronouncement of her engagement to Lord Pembrooke more than Claire. She hardly knows the dangerously outrageous man! But after three engagements gone awry and a fourth going up in glorious flames, she isn’t in a position to refuse...especially once she realizes that Lord Pembrooke makes her want to believe she’s not a bad luck bride anymore...
Alexander requires the hand of his enemy’s fiancĂ©e in marriage in order to complete his plans for revenge. It’s his good fortune that the “cursed” woman is desperate. However, what begins as a sham turns into something scandalously deeper. The beguiling lady has no business laying claim to his heart. But as a mission of revenge turns into fiery passion, Alexander wants nothing more than to break Claire’s curse...and lead them both to their hearts’ desire.
The Bad Luck Bride is a stroke of good luck for readers—the intricate plot, arresting characters,
and rich emotional resonance will leave you swooning.”—New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries

The Bad Luck Bride is the first in a new Regency romance series from Janna MacGregor!
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About The Author:

Janna MacGregor was born and raised in the bootheel of Missouri. She credits her darling mom for introducing her to the happily-ever- after world of romance novels. Janna writes stories where compelling and powerful heroines meet and fall in love with their equally matched heroes. She is the mother of triplets and lives in Kansas City with her very own dashing rogue, and two smug, but not surprisingly, perfect pugs. She loves to hear from readers. The Bad Luck Bride is her first novel.



Author Links:


Excerpt


Alex smiled in earnest. “I would never allow you to be humiliated in front of society. I’m trying to help you.” Somehow, he had to convince her of that fact, then the idea of marrying him would be much easier to accept. 

She blinked rapidly, then turned back to him and, for an instant, appeared startled to see him there. “That’s very gallant, my lord. Truly, thank you for the effort. But I must leave.” 

 This night could not end with her escaping, so he tried another tactic. “You need to protect your Wrenwood estate and your wealth from lechers who would feed upon your vulnerability. Not to mention stop that ridiculous curse.” 

 “I have two.” She held up two gloved fingers. 

 “Two? Two what? Curses?” No one at his club had uttered a peep about another curse. 

 “Estates. I have two estates, Wrenwood and Lockhart.” She returned his stare. 

Her answer was unexpected, but his business experience had taught him to show nothing. The report from his private investigator had not mentioned additional properties. Thoughts were percolating if she chose to disclose this information. 

A razor of lightning split the sky. She flinched and took a step closer to him, but her reaction had nothing to do with him. It was the storm. 

 Her gaze darted to the exit of the alcove, then she returned her attention to him. With a slight shrug of her shoulders, his evening jacket fell into her hands. She offered it to him. “My lord, good night.” Outside their hideaway, the voices of a man and a woman floated in the air. 

 Alex put his hand on her shoulder to prevent her escape. “Will you give me some assistance? I seem to have lost my valet.” He quirked an eyebrow. “Besides, if you leave now, whoever is out there will see us.” 

 She ventured a halfhearted grin and held his jacket in two hands. With a little persistence, he wrestled his way into the evening coat. Her hands smoothed the material across his shoulders and back, causing a pleasant sensation to cascade through him at the slight touch. 

 Claire took several steps toward the pathway. In a flash, he moved beside her and grasped her elbow. When he brought her close, something flared between them as he gazed into her haunted eyes. Whether the desire to keep her next to him was passion or the need to protect a vulnerable woman made little difference. He pulled her into the shadows and brought his mouth to her ear. “Wait until they pass.” The warmth from her skin beckoned. 

A flash of lightning lit the gardens and the alcove. 

 With a gentle hand, he pushed her against the wall and stood to the side so he blocked her body from view. 

 A clap of thunder cracked as if the sky were breaking. It rolled into a loud rumble that refused to die. 

 “Please.” Her whisper grew ragged as she struggled for breath. In one fluid motion, she pulled the lapels of his evening coat toward her. She buried her face against his chest and pressed the rest of her body to his, almost as if she sought sanctuary inside. “Don’t leave me.” Her voice had weakened, the sound fragile, as if she’d break into a million pieces. 

 “I won’t. I promise.” Alex pulled her tight. One hand sank into the soft satin of her skirts while the other slid around the nape of her neck to hold her close to his chest. It was the most natural thing in the world to hold her. Her body fit perfectly against his. 

 With the slightest movement, she pulled away. Her eyes wildly searched his. For what, he couldn’t fathom. 

 He lowered his mouth until his lips were mere inches from tasting her. Madness had consumed him. All he wanted was to kiss her thoroughly until she forgot her fear—until she forgot everything but him. 

 Her breath mingled with his, and the slight moan that escaped her was intoxicating. Nothing in his entire life felt as right as this moment. He bent to brush his lips against hers. 

 “Pembrooke? Have you seen Lady—”

Claire leaned back and released his lapels. Without her warmth, he experienced a sudden loss of equilibrium. He turned with a snarl to greet the intruders. 

Immediately, Lord Fredrick Honeycutt and his sister, Lady Sophia, took a step back as their eyes grew round as dinner plates. 

The first to recover, Honeycutt announced, “I see you found Lady Claire.” He bowed his head slightly, then lowered his voice. “The Duke of Langham is looking for his niece and is directly behind us.” 

A sense of wariness flooded Alex’s mind when Claire’s uncle strolled forward and came into sharp focus. As he stood, his feet spread shoulder width apart, the duke’s presence commanded everyone’s attention. His visage held the hint of a smile, but the two large fists resting by his sides were the real barometer of his mood. “Claire, are you all right?” The affection in his voice was at odds with the fury flashing in his eyes. 



Copyright © 2017 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.



Friday, 28 April 2017

Review | The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli by Alyssa Palombo


The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli by Alyssa Palombo
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 25th, 2017
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance, Adult
Pages: 320
Format: paperback arc 
Source: Requested by publisher

Summary from Goodreads: 
A girl as beautiful as Simonetta Cattaneo never wants for marriage proposals in 15th Century Italy, but she jumps at the chance to marry Marco Vespucci. Marco is young, handsome and well-educated. Not to mention he is one of the powerful Medici family’s favored circle.

Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici’s glittering circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. The men of Florence―most notably the rakish Giuliano de’ Medici―become enthralled with her beauty. That she is educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her more desirable and fashionable still. But it is her acquaintance with a young painter, Sandro Botticelli, which strikes her heart most. Botticelli immediately invites Simonetta, newly proclaimed the most beautiful woman in Florence, to pose for him. As Simonetta learns to navigate her marriage, her place in Florentine society, and the politics of beauty and desire, she and Botticelli develop a passionate intimacy, one that leads to her immortalization in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.

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Review:

The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli introduces us to Simonetta Vespucci, a woman who may have inspired Botticelli's most famous work of art, the Birth of Venus. When

Simonetta Cattaneo is the beautiful daughter of a noble man, allowed to learn the basics of reading and writing. Though she is not allowed to further her education, she yearns for more. So when handsome Marco Vespucci comes with the promise of a grand life in Florence, overflowing with art, poetry, and literature, Simonetta accepts his offer. She marries Marco Vespucci and is brought to Florence where she finds herself in the centre of one of the most influential social circles of their time, run by the Medici brothers. Soon all of Florence is enraptured by the idea of her - her beauty, fashion, charm, intelligence, and more. She soon finds herself catching the eye of up-and-coming artist Sandra Botticelli. Moved by Simonetta's inner and outer beauty, Botticelli becomes fascinated and begins to paint her over and over, making her the inspiration and centre of his most famous works. Facing men vieing for her attention, jealousy and envy from others, problems with her marriage, and bouts of ill health, Simonetta seizes the chance to sit for Botticelli again. As relationship between artist and muse becomes blurred and forbidden passion takes over, they will soon face fate and the tragedy that will unfold. 


Not only do I love Florence, and am a historical fiction fan, but I also have a great appreciation for the Renaissance period (art, structures/buildings, clothing, etc.). The author, Alyssa Palombo, does a good job in establishing the historical and physical setting. Florence felt real and alive, as if I were there walking the streets alongside Simonetta. Palombo found a way to breath life into Renaissance Florence in this book and make it feel alive with the art, politics, religion, marriage, structures, themes, and more. The exploration of the Renaissance time period was done in such an entertaining way that I couldn't help but find myself captivated by the characters and the time period. 

I also really liked the way the author took real characters and expanded their stories in this book. Even though I knew a majority of these characters (from History courses), I still felt like I learned much more about them in this book. And even though I have never heard of Simonetta Vespucci before reading this book, I can definitely say that I am fascinated by her and want to know more about her. 

Though the story is character-driven, it deals with much more deeper themes of that time - the exploration of what it means to be a wife and the most beautiful in Renaissance Florence. Even though we don't know if Simonetta was the inspiration behind the Birth of Venus or if Botticelli did really use her as a model for his other portraits, this novel was still beautifully breathtaking and made me fall for Renaissance Florence and feel for the characters in it. I can not state whether or not she was the inspiration, but I can say that I found Alyssa Palombo's depiction of the relationship between both artist and muse to be highly plausible, especially after reading the author's note. 

Overall, this was a great book to read. It was such a gripping, engaging, and emotional story. If you are a fan of historical fiction, have a love for art history, are interested in the Renaissance period, or just looking for a quick and engaging book to read, then I recommend you check this book out. 



Rating:



About The Author:
ALYSSA PALOMBO is also the author of The Violinist of Venice. She has published short fiction pieces in Black Lantern Magazine and The Great Lakes Review. She is a recent graduate of Canisius College with degrees in English and creative writing, respectively.  A passionate music lover, she is a classically trained musician as well as a big fan of heavy metal. The Violinist of Venice is her first novel. She lives in Buffalo, New York.

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