From goodreads: Italian-born Lella York leads a very predictable life as an average housewife in Southern California… until a strange encounter on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy predicts a very different future.
Upon returning from her vacation, Lella is shocked to find that her best friend, Ruby, has not only accidentally shot her own husband, but also mysteriously disappeared. To Lella’s horror, her son Kyle is accused of kidnapping the missing woman. And the fact that he is driving around in the dead husband’s Ferrari Testarossa is not helping his case. With her son in jail, her best friend vanished, and her life turning into a soap opera, the last thing Lella expects to encounter is a police lieutenant who gets her heart racing in more ways than one. Homicide Lieutenant Devin stirs feelings in Lella that she hasn’t felt since becoming a widow four years ago. But can she trust his agenda? Lust, guilt, and confusion mix together in a dangerous game of cat and mouse as Lella tries to untangle the web of lies and deceit that’s quickly closing in around her.
This is one of those books that I’m really not sure about. I liked some things about it, but I also disliked some things about it. This book was equally confusing and engaging. Frustrating yet interesting. Yep, one of those kinds of books. I think it’s an adult mystery/romance book, but that was one of my issues – liked the mystery but not the romance. I like some mystery books, and I like some romance books, and I even like some mystery/romance books. I prefer mystery/romance styles similar to Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, Gemma Halliday’s High Heels series, Victoria Laurie’s Psychic Eye/Abby Cooper series, etc – lighthearted, fun, romantic mysteries (if that makes any sense). Anyway, I thought this book would be similar to those, so maybe I went into it with the wrong expectations. It’s not a bad book, it’s just not as good as I hoped.
From the beginning, I had trouble connecting to the main character Donatella (Lella for short), and I’m not sure why. She is an older character (even older than me, LOL), but I think it was more her attitude that I had trouble with. It seemed like she was constantly apologizing for things that were out of her control, and she just seemed clueless in general (not just from the mysterious circumstances, that part I could understand). Anyway, at the beginning of the story, Lella’s been a widow for 4 years (still grieving) and returns from a vacation to Italy to find that her cat is almost starved and other things were not as they should have been. Her best friend was supposed to be stopping by often to care for the cat, check the mail, and check on things around the house. It’s obvious that her friend had been there at some point, but hadn’t been by for days. She can’t reach her by phone, and before she can go to her best friend’s house a detective shows up. Her best friend’s husband is dead – accidentally shot – and her best friend is missing.
Even though she’s worried about her friend, she immediately becomes interested in the detective, Larry. And vice versa. The romance started so fast, it just didn’t feel right to me. She was still having issues and grieving her husband, then BAM – she’s in love again. I didn’t warm up to the romance or the boyfriend. There were a lot of confusing things that made me suspicious of him, and I don’t know if I was supposed to be suspicious or not! He was a detective, but come to find out he had actually just retired and was just helping out on this last case. He wasn’t always up front with her about things, not completely explaining himself or what was going on. His actions would make her mad and upset, yet she ends up the one apologizing. It frustrated me, I just didn’t get that part. I think it would have been better if they had been friends longer and not immediately lovers. Sometimes the “insta-love” works and sometimes it doesn’t – in this case, for me, it didn’t work.
“Was this fiery turmoil an age thing? How would I know? Underneath the battered ego, I wanted him so bad I would run to him if he called out to me.”
So, while the romance part frustrated me and fell kind of flat, the mystery part kept me intrigued. There were several other twists in the story, suspicious activity, lots of clues that may or may not be related, and the best friend Ruby was the key. But how was she involved? A victim? A suspect? Is she innocent, crazy, or evil? Did she kill her husband? Did Ruby and Nick (Lella’s husband) have an affair before he died? Did she have something to do with Nick’s death too? So many questions and twists!!! So, the mystery part kept my interest because I HAD to know how it was solved!! I HAD to know what else was going to happen!! I HAD to know the truth about Ruby!! And so, now I know, but I’m not going to spoil the mystery for everyone else.
“What kind of person is Ruby? What does she like to do? What kind of places does she like to go to? You should know.”
So, again I’m not sure how I feel about this book. The romance frustrated me, but the mystery intrigued me. What it lacked in romance, it made up for in mystery, I guess. Have you had mixed feelings about a book lately?