A strange yet touching account of a Renaissance-era love affair.

What Remains of the Fair SimWHAT REMAINS OF THE FAIR SIMONETTAonetta

From the The Remains Series series , Vol. 2

In this sequel, Emery (Disposition of Remains, 2013) offers a historical novel about a modern woman who suddenly finds herself in 15th-century Florence—as someone else.

The story begins in the bedroom of a palace, where the narrator comes to realize, rather suddenly, that she’s the famed Italian beauty Simonetta Cattaneo Vespucci. This is shocking news, because the narrator was dead for 11 years before she inhabited Simonetta’s body. In her prior life, as explained in the first book in this series, she’d been a 21st-century American woman named Anastasia Uqualla. So what, exactly, is she now doing in Florence in the time of Leonardo da Vinci? The narrator explains her apparent time travel as “a second chance to live in the world and era where I always felt I belonged.” Enter the painter Sandro Botticelli; in her former life, the narrator adored his work, and now, she soon finds that she’s falling in love with the man himself. Of course, forging a relationship is no easy task—not only because Simonetta is already married, but also because the mores of the era proscribe very specific behavior for a lady of her standing. Can their affections flourish under such circumstances? Although the narrative setup may seem a little long-winded, it results in a fun journey through an era of artistic giants, in which the Medici family rules over a society with a rigid class system. Readers get a glimpse of what the real Simonetta’s life might have been like when the narrator fumbles with cutlery (or the lack thereof) at dinner or confronts the difficulties of being dressed by a servant. The narrator’s attempts to soothe relations between Botticelli and his father feel forced, though they distract only slightly from the plot’s more burning questions, such as how one handles being the great beauty of Florence—a woman that seems to have “walked out of the ocean as Venus herself.” And did the historical Simonetta really love Botticelli? Although there are no easy answers to these questions, the book succeeds in creating some entertaining possibilities.

A strange yet touching account of a Renaissance-era love affair.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5177-0799-6

Page Count: 342

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2017

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A smooth blend of suspense and romance. As ever, the author's trademark effortless style keeps a complex plot moving without...

THE VILLA

Megaselling Roberts (River's End, 1999, etc.) goes to Napa Valley for the tale of an Italian-American family wine producers rocked by scandal and a series of murders.

Dynasty head Tereza Giambelli knows that her granddaughter Sophia is the only family member capable of running a multimillion-dollar wine business—and no one contradicts La Signora. It's just as well the lovely young woman is still single: Tereza has plans for her. The matriarch has recently married Eli MacMillan, the American founder of another famous wine company. Eli's grandson Tyler knows everything there is to know about producing wine, from the vineyard to the vat. Ruggedly handsome, intelligent and earthy, he's a perfect match for public-relations whiz Sophia—or so thinks Tereza. The two young people begin to work together; Tyler teaches Sophia the fine art of making wine and making love. But other family members hope to claim their share of the Giambelli fortune, and people start dying mysteriously, including Sophia's good-for-nothing father, Tony Avano. Long divorced from long-suffering Pilar Giambelli, Tony led an opulent, self-indulgent life that provides plenty of murder suspects. He might have been killed by the mob, or a jealous mistress, or his spoiled brother-in-law, Tereza's lazy son, who's produced a passel of brats with his foolish Italian wife in the hopes of making Tereza happy. Everyone has a motive, and nothing is what it seems, Sophia discovers, but Tyler stands by her. Then a bottle of tainted merlot kills a company exec. A tragic mishap caused by poisonous plants growing near the vines? Or deliberate product tampering intended to destroy the company? Sophia and Tyler will need to delve even deeper into the convoluted and sometimes unsavory history of the family and its three-generation business.

A smooth blend of suspense and romance. As ever, the author's trademark effortless style keeps a complex plot moving without a hitch.

Pub Date: March 19, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-14712-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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