Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Francesca by Bertrice Small

The Silk Merchant’s Daughters, Book Two
New American Library
April 2nd, 2013
Historical Romance
Reviewed by Dawn (love2read28@gmail.com)
Obtained by Publisher


When Giovanni Pietro d’Angelo’s daughters are beauties in renaissance Florence but with the disaster his eldest daughter, Bianca’s first marriage was, he is determined that his second eldest daughter, Francesca, get to choose her husband this time. But Francesca is making things very difficult. No one catches her eye and she is slowly becoming a laughingstock in Florence and the surrounding areas. When the Duke of Terreno Boscoso writes he is seeking a wife for his heir, Rafaello, Francesca is chosen to go and is given the promise that if she isn’t happy or that the duke’s son doesn’t suit her, then she can come back to Florence. But Francesca is shocked after a few months of finding her way in this little duchy that the choice is taken out of her hands when the duke decides on the spitfire Francesca as his bride. Feeling betrayed and angry, Francesca escapes the castle and finds herself wintering deep in the forest where she finds herself learning the fine arts of inn-keeping as well as finally becoming the woman she is destined to become. But what happens when her secret identity is found out and she is forced back to the castle, ordered to marry Rafaello. Can love bloom between these two strong people when each carries a secret between them?

Author Bertrice Small is a talented storyteller whose vivid stories showcase intriguing characters. In her new series, we meet the second eldest daughter of the d’Angelo family, Francesca, a spoiled, headstrong beauty who is determined to find the love her exiled sister, Bianca, has found. With Francesca, the reader is taken on a wild, madcap ride as she finds her place in the ever changing world, where woman are nothing more than possessions and more. I love this author’s voice and her way with creating characters that were strong, with many layers the reader got to see through the course of the story but in FRANCESCA, I was a bit put off by both the hero and heroine. I can’t say it was just one thing about them that made me wonder where this author’s loves for her characters have gone. It isn’t that they were unpleasant; they weren’t just a bit spoiled, in my opinion. I would have loved for Francesca to figure out the secret her husband was keeping and get really angry with him. Instead she acquiesced rather easily for my taste especially with the few hints the reader got in the story that never went anywhere. Rafaello on the other hand made me want to cosh him on the head. He was wishy-washy one minute then the next, quite dominant. There was no happy medium at times and I felt he needed to choose one or the other. The story is quite a wild ride from start to finish. The author’s lush setting-Florence to the duchy of Terreno Boscoso, the reader is treated to the vividness that this renaissance period held back then.

FRANCESCA is a somewhat satisfying read for lovers of historical romance and I enjoyed this next chapter in the silk merchant’s daughter’s series though I have to admit, I love it when Ms. Small delivers kick butt heroines who can go toe to toe with their men. I am looking forward to seeing where the next book will take the readers with the next daughter, Lucianna. I am hoping this daughter is a bit more complex than Francesca was. If you enjoy a historical romance filled with lush setting, delightful characters and sizzling passion, then you can’t go wrong with a Bertrice Small story.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement

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