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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Holiday in Bologna by Lindsay Townsend

Holiday in Bologna by Lindsay Townsend
Publisher: Bookstrand
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (90 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 3 Books
Reviewed by Bittersweet

Heidi Manelli, a bright, lively Anglo-Italian, arrives in Italy on a mission. A letter given to her on her 21st birthday revealed that her real name is Soleari and she has family living in Bologna. Orphaned, she is unsure how her estranged relatives will receive her.

Standing outside the Soleari villa, she encounters the quietly charismatic yet aloof Stefano. He's suspicious of her sudden appearance and disinclined to believe who she is. After pleading from her aunt, Heidi reluctantly agrees to stay at the villa, where she swiftly discovers more mysteries, and danger.

She turns to Stefano for help, but will he come through? Is their developing relationship a holiday romance, or something deeper? Is her holiday in Bologna going to change her life forever?

Summer holidays are approaching, and with it dreams of going to a far away country, encountering a handsome partner and living life to the fullest. That’s what more or less happens to Heidi. Except, that she ends up in Bologna because of her unknown heritage, discovers a family at odds, sabotage in the bread-shop, and an attraction to her second cousin.

The characters are quite stereotyped: the two haughty, insolent and spoiled younger siblings, the loving and caring older brother, the traditional old couple that is going through some tough times, and the naïve young girl that finds herself suddenly in love with a man she barely knows. The Italian setting is of course, idyllic.

Things are not totally what they seem… Though the mystery of the transgression is solved, I did not like the fact that these cryptic words of one of the characters never received a response: “You’re wrong. You’re both making a huge mistake, but I suppose that’s your privilege.”

Nonetheless, the story is sweet and flows easily. Ms. Townsend has a wonderful way with words that makes her story a joy to read. The romance is a “good balance between fruitiness and woodiness”, (more than once I couldn’t help uttering a delighted “awww” ). Reading Holiday in Bologna is almost like receiving a gentle breeze in a warm summer day. It is a charming little read.