Thursday 29 February 2024

Guest Review: A Villa with a View by Julie Caplin

Lia Bathurst had always dreamed of escaping to the white sandy beaches and turquoise blue seas of the Amalfi coast – but that dream hadn’t included meeting her real father. A father she had never even known about until a few weeks ago! Yet here she was, standing outside the gates of a gorgeous pink villa being refused entry by the insufferable – and insufferably handsome – Raphael Knight, her father’s business manager.

When an old black and white photo proves Lia’s claim to be true, Raph is determined to make sure this stranger, with her long caramel waves and infectious smile, doesn’t have an ulterior motive. Even if that means not letting her out of his sight.

As temperatures rise, and not just from the heat of the Mediterranean sun, could Lia and Raph’s forced proximity lead to something more like… amore?

Review: This book is part of Julie Caplin’s very enjoyable Romantic Escapes series, the stories in which are set in a range of different countries, with a cast of characters who often crop up in more than one story. In this book, the author transported me to the Amalfi coast of Italy, with its rugged countryside and picturesque fishing villages, as illustrated on the book’s bright cover. 

The story centres on textile artist Lia Bathurst, who is spending the summer in the beautiful village of Positano. As well as looking for inspiration for a project she is working on, Lia is hoping to meet the man she has recently discovered is her biological father. It has come as a shock to her that her mother has kept his identity secret all these years. Unfortunately, her father, Ernesto, is a famous film star and Raph, his stepson and business manager, will not allow her to contact him. When it emerges that Ernesto may well be Lia’s father, Raph is still suspicious of her motives. Afraid that Lia might be a fortune hunter, Raph keeps close to her, but can he ignore the obvious attraction that develops between them?

I loved this well-written, will-they won’t-they romance, and expect other readers will also. The story is brimming with strong, interesting and mainly likeable characters and full of scenes evoking familiar tastes and vistas of Italy. I liked Lia, a very determined, inspiring heroine searching for her true origins. I also admired Raph for his loyalty to his stepfather, but found it hard to like him for the first portion of the book when he appeared arrogant and judgemental. His fun-loving brother, Leo, injected quite a bit of humour into the book, making him a likeable character, but there was an underlying seriousness to his personality. Someone I really liked was Raph’s mother, who ably ran a large household and cooked the most delicious-sounding meals with very little effort. This was an entertaining addition to this series; I’m already looking forward hopefully to a next book.

To order your copy now, just click here!

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