Linn B Halton is an author who I’ve met (yes, in the flesh!) and although I haven’t read all of her novels, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the ones that I have so I was delighted to be offered an ARC of her latest novel, The Secrets of Villa Rosso. Publishing in Kindle format 21st July and paperback 5th October by Harper Impulse, this is a romance story with a difference that you won’t want to miss.
When Ellie Maddison is sent on a business trip to Southern Italy, she’s reminded why she loves her job – set amongst rolling vineyards and rich olive groves, the beautiful Villa Rosso is the perfect escape from her life back home. But what Ellie isn’t prepared for is the instant connection she feels to the estate’s director Max Johnson, or the secrets they share that are as intertwined as the rambling vines that cover Villa Rosso.
It’s not long before Ellie finds herself entangled in the history of the place, trying to understand the undeniable effect Max is having on her. As their relationship grows, what will Ellie discover about this idyllic villa and those who have walked through its doors?
What started as a simple work trip will change Ellie’s life forever.
I thought the format worked really well for this story. At Ellie and Josh’s 19th wedding anniversary which has been organised by best friend Livvie, Ellie sees something which unsettles her. I was very intrigued by this! We’re then taken back to Josh and Ellie’s life together (where my attachment to Ellie grew quite strong) before the fateful trip to Italy and the effect it continues to have on Ellie throughout the story.
Italy was a fabulous setting. Linn B Halton’s writing drew me in so that my senses were heightened … the scents, the tastes and the vistas that Ellie sees came alive. As well as the connection between Max and Ellie, it’s here that we uncover another mystery (more intrigue) linked with family, tradition, obligation and history. It’s a mystery that Ellie needs to solve and the ties become even stronger once back with her family. I loved how it is resolved. Very creative.
Her family life is another part of the story I was drawn into. Daughters Hettie and Rosie are typical teens and it was so easy to identify with them. I loved the strong bond they had as a family and wondered if it would still hold when a challenge happens. I didn’t like Josh. I thought he was too manipulative (which you might see as being caring!) and didn’t see the strength that I did in Ellie’s character. I think he would have wrapped Ellie up in cotton wool if he could have! I loved Ellie’s job 🙂 You can tell Linn B Halton writes from experience as she takes us through a process.
The connection is unique and when you read it you’ll understand why. Surreal scenes and at times feeling very ‘Neptunian’ this explores something much deeper than an emotion. Such a poignant ending in one respect but joyful in another!
The Secrets of Villa Rosso is a read not only about family, friendships, romance and mystery but something Linn B Halton is exceptionally good at writing about … the paranormal/occult. I think this will appeal to a wide audience and would recommend you add to your wishlists. Not only entertainment but thought provoking too!
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Bristol-born Linn B Halton lives in the Forest of Dean, in the UK.
“I’m a hopeless romantic, self-confessed chocaholic, and lover of strong coffee. For me, life is about family, friends, writing … and house renovation! Oh, and the occasional glass of White Grenache…”
An Amazon UK Top 100 best-selling author with A Cottage in the Country in November 2015, Under the Stars and A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love also became best-sellers in 2016 & 2017. Linn’s novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.
Linn writes chick lit, women’s contemporary fiction and psychic romance for Harper Impulse, Choc Lit and Endeavour Press.
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