In Oprea’s debut romance, a widowed doctor in 21st-century Italy is mysteriously transported 300 years into the past, where he finds himself falling for a young countess who dreams of being an artist.
Since Dr. Alessandro Santini’s pregnant wife was murdered in a robbery three years ago, he’s struggled to put his life back together. One evening, he ventures into the basement of a hotel in Florence, where he spies a painting of a young woman who bears an eerie resemblance to his dearly departed wife. That night, his life changes forever when he goes through a supernatural portal, opened during the appearance of a “supermoon” (when a full moon passes close to the Earth), that leads him to the 18th century. There, he meets Countess Rose Estes, the person depicted in the painting—a spirited woman who dreams of a career as a painter of historical scenes despite the pressure she feels to take over her father’s successful ceramics business. Rose immediately realizes that Alessandro isn’t from her time, so she tries to help him blend in until the next supermoon in 14 months, when the portal will open again. Yet Alessandro and Rose find themselves becoming increasingly attached—and attracted—to each other. When it appears that Rose’s life is being threatened by a mysterious assassin, Alessandro feels bound to help her. Oprea’s use of a supermoon-activated portal is a clever addition to the pantheon of time-travel methods, particularly in the romance genre. But although it takes Alessandro and others many months (and many pages) to solve the mystery of who’s targeting Rose and why, readers will likely figure it out almost immediately; indeed, as the story progresses, they’ll grow tired of every other character’s blindness to the truth. It’s a good thing, then, that Rose is such a compelling heroine and that Alessandro is her worthy match. The sizzling chemistry that develops between them will keep readers engaged in the story.
A predictable but entertaining time-travel romance.