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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Secret Treasure

A Secret Treasure by Lindsay Townsend
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Genre: Historical
Length: Short
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Review by Snapdragon

The Greek island of Rhodes: luxurious and hot, beloved haunt of the Sun God, steeped in the mysteries of the past. In the late 1930s during the gathering storm-clouds of war, it is a dangerous place to fall in love.

When pretty, passionate Eve Burnett meets the darkly intriguing Julio Falcone, she is torn. As a man, Julio is powerfully attractive. As a policeman, he is bound to be a Fascist. Her brother, David, who is missing, is connected to the Greek Partisans who wish to liberate Rhodes from their Italian overlords.

Now, as David appears at their parents' house soon after Julio makes Eve's acquaintance, Eve is compelled to hide her brother and a mysterious gold statuette. The Fascists are looking for him and this secret treasure. Soon, Eve realizes that she may be forced to choose between the man she loves and the ultimate safety of her family.

Suspenseful from its opening lines, Townsend’s A Secret Treasure takes us on a journey through historic Italy and into a story that charms with its joys, terrifies with its suspense, and more than intrigues with very unusual and interesting setting.

Young Eve, a transplanted English girl, is desperate to discover the whereabouts of her brother – desperate enough to seek help from the authorities.

The Blackshirts run the charming Greek Island of Rhodes, during the thirties, but of course, but resistance is common. Many hate the fascists – and Eve is among them. To Eve’s horror, the one kind, sympathetic man who claims to be interested in helping her, is one of Them! In some ways, Julio Falcone, a carabiniero might not be considered one of them, but since he is introduced by corrupt Luigi Grasso, it doesn’t look good. Pretty and petite Eve seems to have caught his eye – but does she even want his interest?

Eve is far from sweet and timid. She is the child of scholars, with an interest in archeology, and can be both clever and confrontational. The reader will find themselves admiring her. Surprisingly, Falcone seems more forthcoming than expected… and intrigue builds around his efforts to unearth clues about Eve’s brother David’s disappearance. One worry becomes quite another, as unexpected twists develop. Poor Eve may yet regret involving the authorities!

The wonderful flavor of old Italy or, more correctly, Greece permeates this work, from cobblestone streets to the overhanging balconies. The jetty out over the sea seems fitting, and then we contemplate a simple dinner of fresh vegetables and fish. The time and place are well-established, descriptions delightful.

Local politics, gain and greed, and abuse of authority also are rife; perhaps revealing more about humanity than love stories usually attempt, and adding a great sense of depth (and contributing to the sense of foreboding). In all, the background details and sub-stories are immensely well-done and add quite an unexpected dimension to A Secret Treasure.

A few predictable occurrences hold this back from absolutely top notch, although it’s a more than worthwhile read as is. Especially wonderful, the main characters dilemmas – large and small – will keep you reading.