The Echoes of Love. A story of secrets, tragedy and haunting love in Venice.
I thought this novel sounded something different from the normal, run of the mill romance and I’m always looking for that. Well, it is just that – very different and yet with a haunting, melodic thread of romance running through, that grows and becomes a beautiful song by the end. Its hard to rate – there were parts such as the beautiful descriptions of the places and food that I loved. The scenes were so well portrayed that I felt I was there in Italy, there on the gondolas in Venice, despite never having been to the country. The foods too – I could see, smell and touch them mentally, and they really helped bring the novel alive.
Its a very gentle slow start, so slow that I began to wonder where the story was going, but then found myself drawn into Venetia’s world. I’d never thought of the intricacies of her job, I love historical objects and places, but hadn’t realised that their preservation was so problematic, especially from a waterlogged place like Venice. I learned a lot from the way she described her job, and the talks she gave at the firms exhibition. Very interesting. I wanted to like her so much, its important to me to connect positively with the heroine. I did in a way, but then…I found that she was so insular, she kept people at bay so much at times I wanted to shake her and say “ stop that!” I realised her past made her self protective, but lots of people have been through something similar and learn to get over it and she had ten years to try. I thought she seemed to wallow in it sometimes – the “poor me” kept coming out. She was so rude too at times to poor Paolo, under that thin veneer of politeness. He was helping her, and then politely trying to ask her out, and she acted as if he was doing something shameful, impugning her honour! She blew hot and cold, all over him at one moment and then holding him back the next blaming him for her actions. She says he’s erratic in his behaviour but I reckon the poor guy must have been very confused by her actions too. No wonder he took time over his pursuit, but thank goodness he persevered. I liked him, even when his secrets came out – and I thought he was the one that had the worst raw deal. I loved the way they danced around a romance and then when they did get together it was just so…fiery, strong sparks, so complete – it felt so right.
Then at the end – well, I didn’t see that coming and it meant I understood just where the beautiful title came from. A real fate love story and I was so pleased it all came together like that.
So, what didn’t I like – well, Venetia coldness, I think she used the past too much as an excuse, but I’ll forgive her as she did recognise that in time. I felt sometimes the romance was just too slow moving. I didn’t like the way the Count just was so awful, rude, arrogant and pushy and yet never really got his just desserts, equally the way one particular part was hyped up, I expected it to be a spectacular firework discovery, loads of action and wickedness when it all came out and yet…it just fizzled out to nothing. No big reveal, no real drama and danger that I expected from the past talks and warnings, despite all the build-up – it was something that just came to a quick, unsatisfactory end.
ARC supplied via Netgalley.
Stars: well the beautiful scenery and descriptions were worth a five easily but sadly that let down of what I felt was going to be a major point brought it down to a four overall. Still a good, riveting read, just that I felt let down by the anti climax of that one build up, the sinister dark demons stuff.
Sound Bites. Rachel K Burke
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book Reviews.
I’m a sucker for a romance with plenty of drama and the description made this sound perfect. So, I jumped in and became engrossed in the story. Renee, ah poor Renee; she thinks she’ll pop in early from being away and surprise her boyfriend…and she gets a surprise too when she finds him in bed with her long time best friend! So she ups sticks and moves hundreds of miles away. She’s left her dream job too, and is now living in a shabby, tiny apartment writing resumes for a recruitment company. Then she meets her new neighbour who lives directly above her. They start off on bad terms, but soon become good friends – she’s passionate about music and he’s a singer/songwriter, and after hearing him playing and singing one of her favourites one evening she befriends him, and encourages him to take it further ( the music not their relationship!) They’re still just close friends, but each secretly wants more but neither say it until …well, read it and see!
I love the early stages of a romance, the push/pull, is he/she interested in me or not, the sensual dance and clever flirting. All’s going well and then – bam – disaster. Now next to the early attraction I love the break ups – the sadder the better 🙂 if it makes me cry then that’s a good five star read ….somehow a decent bit of despair makes the making up so much sweeter. Rachel does this part really well, I despaired for them both, poor Renee, I felt so much for her. She does her usual and withdraws, cutting off all contact instead of trying to sort things out, until something happens that force her to confront her fears.
Its a great read, peopled with characters that you feel you could know as friends, with problems we’ve all had, home, jobs, relationships and that makes it all so realistic. And the break up was strung out for a while – I hate those where they’ve made up two pages or so later, I need to wallow a bit 🙂 so this was perfect for me. Its priced at £2.99 for 179 pages, I’d have liked it to be a bit longer…I enjoy novels that have the length to really get deep into plots and characters, and this could have easily stood more as the basics are perfect but…that’s just me and I know lots of people like these shorter novels, and of course this is the Impulse range of shorter novels… I can’t yet find US price but I’m writing this ahead of publication so maybe it’ll be on kindle in US by then.
Stars: four and a half. A cracking read for romance lovers, and one I’d re read happily.
NB: ARC supplied via Netgalley
I Found You. Jane Lark
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book Reviews.
I’ve read and loved another of Jane’s works so I thought I’d try this one, and I’m so glad I did. I love romance novels but sometimes they do get very “samey” and you feel all that’s changed are the names. Not this book, its a romance, but so very, very different to the norm.
Jason is out running when he sees Rachel hovering in just jeans and t shirt over a bridge, looking like she’s going to jump. He talks her down but then what? She’s almost mute except to say no hospital or police. So he takes her home….. He’s that kind of guy; decent, caring and though his flat is tiny as he’s only recently moved he helps her as best he can. Once she’s talking – though not about what happened- he says she can stay a while while she finds her feet. She gets a job and they enjoy the friendship. She’s attracted by him, and in her recent past she’d have made a play but that’s all behind her now, she’s not out to take someone else’s man. Jason thinks she’s stunning, and as time goes by he’s more and more attracted to her – but he’s a fiancée back home, and she’s definitely not happy at Rachel staying with him! More and more he wonders if they are right for each other, it seems they’ve been together since school, and just fell into the relationship without really having much in common. Its not til he’s talking so easily with Rachel that he realises how little he and Lindi talk, and how little attention she pays to what he wants. Its always her that chooses and decides everything.
Rachel – what an awful upbringing she’s had, and I understood why she’d fallen into her lifestyle. Sometimes just going with the flow seems the easiest thing and she’d not had many lifestyle choices. Somehow she’d found the strength – with Jason’s help- to change her life though, and she was determined to repay him by helping him feel more at home in the city, and more able to enjoy his time there. I loved the way she got him to sing with her, and to dance when he was adamant he couldn’t do either. Then there’s Jason – he’s the man we all want to meet, the son we all want to have. Genuinely decent and kind, loving, considerate, hard-working, non judgemental – the man’s a saint – but a hot,attractive, sexy one!
The fiancée, Lindi – she’s not happy about events, and to be honest I think most of us wouldn’t be. Though Rachel is decent it’s far more likely to have been someone that’s out to steal or leech off Jason. I understood her and his parents fears. I think most of us would feel the same. She was a real piece of work though – very selfish and that came over so well. I love a good Bitch in a romance, and she was just perfect. The scenes back in Jason’s home-town were really emotional, and I kept thinking “how much more can they take?” even while sympathising with the feelings of everyone involved.
I loved this book, perfect and unusual romance, great journey to the Hea, and a fantastic ending with twists and turns I didn’t see coming. Its a book to make you laugh and cry, make you sad and happy – a fabulous read. A great length at 360 pages, it really lets reader get to know everyone and to enjoy plots that are fully developed and not rushed. Its £3.99 and one I’ll happily re read.
Stars: five – fabulous novel. .
NB: ARC supplied via Netgalley