Thursday, September 13, 2012

MINE TO KEEP by Jannine Corti-Petska

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date published: 8-15-2012
ISBN: 978-1-61217-301-6
Historical Romance
Obtained by publisher
Reviewed by Helen

Lady Elizabella Godwin (not Aldrich as the promo from the publisher states) receives a letter telling her she’s inherited a castle in Padua, Italy. It’s the year 1405 and she and three servants travel there immediately. But upon arrival she discovers a man has received the same letter as her. Then it’s revealed they will only inherit if they marry and remain wed for a year and a day.

Leonardo Da Mitri is not a noble and has lived a very different life from Eliza. Sparks fly immediately.

This book wrong-footed me right from the start. 1405 is the year Venice conquered Padua and I was expecting the story to involve this history in some way. In fact, the book could be set almost anywhere with warm weather and smallish castles.

Secondly, I’d read glowing reports of Ms. Corti-Petska’s ability to paint word pictures and create memorable characters. She’s written several other stories set in this era and I was anticipating a treat. Unfortunately, in my opinion, and you may disagree, this book is not one of her best. Elizabella is an interesting character, but a bit silly and childish. Despite having never been kissed – even though she’s engaged - and going to extreme lengths to protect her purity at first, she then is happy to be alone with Leonardo. He is supposed to be an engaging rogue, but it doesn’t always quite work.

I was left with many questions, such as why her brother didn’t come with her, or send more servants to protect her, or why her fiancĂ© didn’t travel with her. I was also annoyed by some head-banging POV changes inside scenes, back and forth, especially in a crucial scene late in the book. There were also far too many misused words, some weird, others laughable. “Expanse of her expression”, “neatly quaffed hair”, “She postured her entire body superciliously”.

However there were some nice ripostes, the ending was good, and I really liked the servant Leticia.


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