The Innocent's Secret Baby by Carol Marinelli
Gorgeous romance – emotional and evocative keeper!
The intense hero and heroine interaction of the first half–together with the intense conflict–held my attention and I didn’t want to put it down even then. Raul, the tortured hero, is gorgeous and yummy and I fell for him the same way Lydia does. The heroine, Lydia, is lovely and easy to identify with and root for.
Oh, and Rome!
Marinelli’s gorgeous voice is showcased to perfection; from how the love scenes are un-skippable and unique to the characters, and how they’re interwoven with emotion, conflict and characterisation; from the deep emotion and how the universal emotions experienced have to resonate at some level with the reader; and her unique take on conflict, and….
One of my pet peeves is where the hero and heroine are about to do or say something important. And are only prevented from doing so by interruption of the phone or another character arriving at a vital moment. I think heroes and heroines should decide to stop or not stop etc without the decision conveniently taken out of their hands to serve the dictates of plot. So I LOVED when the telephone isn’t allowed to interruptus and how Marinelli plays with it and then when it does, it doesn’t get in the way of their decisions/motivations.
Oh, and the Venice scenes sigh are romance personified. Atmospheric Venice, Murano glass, gondolas. Lydia and Raul’s romance matches the romance and sensuality and atmosphere of the setting and the one enhances the other.
One of only a couple of slight blips for me was SPOILER the discovery of the photograph of herself and Raul on the net delivered by her stepfather. This felt a bit of a Presents’ cliché (or classic depending on your viewpoint) but it does fit. And it is kept low key, even if a classic Presents key to be turned to detonate the relationship. END OF SPOILER
But this, and suspending my disbelief everso slightly over another crucial plot point, didn’t tarnish any of the stars of this five star plus read. Even when Lydia and Raul are apart it doesn’t affect the perfect pacing or fail to hold my attention, which was riveted on how they would be able to remake something so precious, their relationship beautifully embodied in the work of art that SPOILER got broken but was better because of it END OF SPOILER. If I haven’t already mentioned, I adored the deep emotion, characterisation and the uniqueness of their romance, and cried as Raul confronted his past, because of Lydia, and when they were mending their relationship.
Received from NetGalley & Harlequin, but I’m going to buy my own print copy for my keeper shelves once I’ve tracked down if Gabi and Salim get their own story. And what about Bastiano – who my heart has already broken a little bit for.