Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Finding Romance in Ireland and Italy

If you can’t travel, you can still find romance in Europe

Ruth Davenport is an American romance writer who can’t seem to find any romance of her own. Part of her problem, she thinks, is the men she becomes interested in are themselves more interested in Ruth’s younger sister. Like the one she’s preparing to ask out, when he asks her to put a good word in with the sister. She’s also behind on her new novel-under-contract, as in, she can’t think of anything to write about.

She sees an ad for a marriage bureau and thinks she may have found her novel idea. And what better way to research the idea then go to Ireland and interview some of the clients? Once she arrives, mishaps abound, starting with her lost luggage, followed by the wrong date for her country inn reservation. Directed to a pub and bed-and-breakfast in a nearby village, she wrecks the rental car in a driving rain. And the bed-and-breakfast is no longer that but only a pub, owned by Sean Hughes. He needs money to buy a new boiler, so he agrees to drive her to meet the marriage bureau clients. Ruth has never met anyone quite like Sean, and Sean, once stood up at the altar, has never met anyone like Ruth. 

A Match Made in Ireland by Michele Brouder is the story of Sean, Ruth, and what happens when an American romance writer meets a pub owner who only wants to grow apples. It’s an engaging, warmhearted story, full of Irish locations and scenery and keeping the reader guessing as to what will happen next in the growing relationship between the unlikely couple.
 (first in the Escape to Ireland series)

Brouder has written a number of contemporary romance and young adult paranormal novels, with the books organized in the Escape to Ireland, Happy Holidays and Soul Savers series. A native of New York, Brouder lives with her family in Oreland. A Match Made in Ireland is the first novel in the Escape to Ireland series.

If you’d prefer another country to find romance, there’s always Italy.

British archaeologist Emily Carlyle is working on an extensive and unusual mosaic project on an estate near Naples, Italy. She’s focused completely on her work, until she realizes that funding is running low. She approaches the funding sponsor, the Count di Montecorvio Rovella, to see if he will supplement the money. What she learns is that the old count has died and his son, Alessandro Cavour, is the new count. He’s a property developer and all-business, with little interest in the estate’s Roman mosaic except as something that might make money. What he becomes is very interested in is Emily herself. And then there’s his father’s will, involving both himself and Emily.

Alessandro and Emily both carry considerable emotional baggage. He feels responsible for the death of his wife and first son, who died in what clearly was an accident. For her part, Emily is carrying the physical scars from a knife attack by a former academic advisor and boyfriend who turned into a stalker. Emotional baggage notwithstanding, both feel an immediate and intense physical attraction to each other.

Perfect by Diana Fraser describes the growing relationship between the two and how they both have to overcome their pasts. On her web site, Fraser says she writes sensuous romance stories, and this one is certainly that. It includes several graphic scenes involving the couple. (Not having seen the author’s web site, I was expecting a more traditional romance. This one is still a romance, but it gets steamy.)

Fraser has written numerous romance novels in the Desert Kings, The Sheikhs of Havilah, Italian Romance, The Mackenzies, and Lantern Bay series. A native of England, she lives with her family in New Zealand. Perfect is the first novel in the Italian Romance series.

Top Photograph: The Ring of Kerry Lookout in Ireland by Nils Nedel via Unsplash. Used with permission.

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