The Lily and the Falcon by Janine Corti-Petska
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Length: Full Length (284 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Camellia
Bianca degli Albizzi is outraged when sworn enemy Cristiano de'Medici asks for her hand in marriage. With her father's blessing, she weds the handsome warrior to end the war between Florence's two powerful families. But headstrong Bianca vows to teach her husband that loyalty cannot be bought...not even by seduction.
Cristiano, a well-known warrior with the wealth of a king, could have any woman he desires. But for the sake of peace he ends up with a defiant bride who awakens his deepest passion. Her vengeful scheming puts them both in peril, but is he prepared to sacrifice his life to safeguard the woman who has stolen his heart?
Mistrust, family loyalty versus spousal loyalty and Cristiano’s deep-seated fear wreak havoc on a marriage.
The gorgeous, wealthy, powerful warrior Cristiano de Medici wants Bianca with the long blonde hair and crystal blue eyes even though she is of the Albizzi family that strives to take political power from the Medici family in the fifteenth century city-state of Florence.
Cristiano tells himself that even though he never planned to marry, he will, to perhaps bring the two families to some kind of peaceful agreement if the marries Bianca. Yet, in truth, he cannot stop thinking about the slender blonde who speaks her mind with courage, and had a stubborn streak a mile wide.
Bianca, while telling herself she’ll marry to secure her immediate family’s well being, truly finds Cristiano breathtaking. True, his size and fierce look intimidate some, but to her he seems sculpted by God’s own hand. Her sister Francisca informs her that, according to gossip, he is reputed to be a great and gentle lover.
Ms. Corti-Petska develops the secondary characters with such economic skill that they play their roles in realistic fashion keeping emotions high but staying in the background as the mesmerizing love of Cristiano and Bianca struggles along under an oppressive load. With a brother like Piero and a sister like Anna who are both unstable, the obstacles seem insurmountable at times. As Ms. Corti-Petska reveals the motivation for the actions of the good and the bad characters, she manages to show there is a little good in the worst of them and a little bad in the best of them. Niccolo and Antonio add two very different and very male interests to the already volatile situation—so Italian.
Janine Corti-Petska paints incredible word pictures. With them she sweeps the reader into the teeming mass of people who throng the streets of Florence as the majestic wedding procession makes it way to the church. She invites one to luxuriate in the sights and scents of flowers: lilies, roses, gladioli, violets, etc. that enhance the Palazzo Ghilberti and enchants with Cristiano’s private garden, and she takes one’s breath away with the beauty of the palazzo. Exquisite descriptions are a feast for the senses
From time to time, the imagery used in love scenes and highly emotional scenes adds a poignancy and subtly that captures the imagination and thrills a romance reader’s heart. Also, the title is so fitting. Bianca is Cristiano's “precious lily” and he, like a falcon, strikes swiftly and fiercely when he spots his prey. How these two move from “carnal pleasure” to a love that reaches the heart and soul makes GOOD reading.