Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: contemporary romance
Series: Love Abroad B&B #2
Published by Buchman Bookworks on April 19, 2018
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Bookshop.org
-a Love Abroad B&B romance-
Welcome to the Cinque Terre, the jewel of the Italian Coast. In shades of warm gold, apricot, and peach, these remote stone villages face the Mediterranean. Their narrow cobbled streets are car-free. Instead they’re filled with soft sunlight and hope.
Erica Barnett always dreamed of visiting Italy. But she never planned to arrive alone and devastated. Putting her life back together ranks as a distant second to the priority of fixing her heart.
Ridley Claremont III, wealthy son of a Californian vintner and his trophy wife, discovers the shallowness of his life when his parents are killed in a car wreck. Seeking forgetfulness on a motorcycle driving the European backroads, he stumbles into the tiny cliffside town of Corniglia. Vibrant life greets him around every corner: food and flowers, gelato and friendship. And the wine, most especially the wine.
A man who never faced himself and a woman who finally has, meet in the only place they can. Along the Via dell’Amore, the Path of Love, in Cinque Terre, Italy.
I was still looking for light and fluffy after those two epic grimdarks earlier this week, and while M.L. Buchman’s military romances don’t quite qualify as “light and fluffy”, with their HEAs they are still lighter and fluffier than my week began. And this isn’t a military romance, it’s a contemporary. I’ve only read one of his contemporary romances (so far) and that was a real treat. It was Off the Leash if you are in the mood for a light and fluffy romance with just a hint of suspense.
Today’s little gem, in spite of its absolute mouthful of a title, is indeed a light and fluffy little treat, with just a tiny bit of serious mixed in to give it just the right hint of bittersweet to make the HEA feel earned. And it ends with a teensy bit of Brigadoon-type magic.
The story here is about two lost people finding themselves on the Via dell’Amore (that’s Path of Love in English) in the area of Italy known as Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre is a rugged stretch of the Italian Riviera. In other words, the places named in this book really exist, except for one, the little Bed and Breakfast and attached bar called Il Cane, named for a dog named Snoop. Not Snoopy, just Snoop.
Erica Barnett and Ridley Claremont III are both on voyages of discovery – even if neither of them thinks of their Italian peregrinations quite that way. Erica is fleeing the loss of her job and the breakup of her relationship with her boss. Her married boss. Ridley is running away from his grief over the unexpected death of his much-beloved mother. Both of them are convinced that they are running away, and it’s only after their separate journeys collide in the tiny village of Corniglia that they both stop running long enough to figure out that maybe all that running away has put them in the place where they belong.
Whether they belong there separately or together is just another part of that journey – the part that will be either the most heartbreaking, or the most rewarding, or even a little bit of both.
Escape Rating B: I was looking for light and fluffy, and I certainly found it, along with loving descriptions of the Cinque Terre region that made me want to book a vacation there immediamente!
Both Erica and Ridley ran away to Italy to lose themselves, although for much different reasons. Erica is at loose ends in so many ways. To a significant extent, she is angry with herself. She’s always seen herself as a smart and capable person, but she let herself be used and now she’s second guessing herself and trying to figure out where she missed the signs. She’s letting her doubts and her fears control her life, and she’s mad at herself for letting it happen and the self-doubt cycle is pretty vicious. Then she wrecks her rental car, gets stuck in Corniglia and runs right into Ridley Claremont III pretending to be a badass.
But Erica is the only person who seems to recognize it as a pretense. Not that Ridley doesn’t have bad-boy playboy written all over him, but the act doesn’t seem to reflect the man she keeps running into. He keeps telling himself that he’s the love ‘em and leave ‘em type, but can’t manage to leave either Erica or the welcoming little town. And can’t even think to himself that he might have found a love, or loves worth staying for.
But while Ridley flounders around emotionally, Erica gets over the self-defeat that brought her to Corniglia and emerges from her shell. Part of that emergence is due to her love affair with Ridley, but Ridley is the catalyst and not the real reason for the change.
So even when Ridley can’t admit to himself what they are to each other, and makes emotional hash out of both of them, Erica picks up the pieces and moves on with the life she’s figured out she wants.
It takes Ridley a lot of heartache as well as a significant amount of backbreaking labor to finally get on the same page. But it’s lovely when they reach it. Together.
If you’re interested in my little hint about Brigadoon, you’ll need to get the book for yourself. Or reach back to the first book in this series, Heart of the Cotswolds. That’s certainly my plan for the next time I need a bit of fluff!