by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

June 2002
ISBN: 0-06-621122-0
Reviewer Graphic Button William Morrow

After reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ last novel, This Heart of Mine, I didn’t think I could read a better romance, and in fact, that was my favorite book of the year! So I was excited to pick up her newest novel and hoped for another fun reading experience! Well, all I can say is – Wow!!!

From the opening chapters where elegant self-help guru, Dr. Isobel Favor, discovers that she’s been swindled out of every dime by a shady accountant, her fiancé has a pregnant girlfriend whom he’s going to marry the following week and her latest book has sold exactly twelve copies – I was enchanted!!!

Isobel flees to Tuscany, hoping to find spiritual soothing and enlightenment in the Italian countryside. Unfortunately, on her way, she succumbs to a very unusual and spontaneous urge – she pretends to be French, and allows herself to be picked up and seduced by a gorgeous Italian gigolo. At least she thinks he's a gigolo – the gorgeous part is never in question. Arriving at her little country cottage/hideaway, she’s horrified to discover that her landlord is none other than the gigolo. Well he’s actually not a gigolo, he’s Lorenzo Gage, well-known movie star, who is vacationing at his family’s home!

This book is absolutely and completely alive!! Isobel and Ren jump into the wickedly witty thrust-and-parry of two very intelligent adults, spiced with a major dose of sizzle. There’s a minor sub- plot involving the picturesque local villagers, and the appearance of Ren’s ex certainly livens things up, as she arrives with four and a half kids, and the intention of divorcing her husband! But Isobel and Ren are the characters who light up the pages of this tale – their confused wanderings down a wonderfully sensual path into the maze of relationships and love is so much fun!! Yes, there’s some pain there too, but overall I laughed and sighed my way through this terrific tale and hated to reach the end. It’s an absolute gem, and if you’ve ever said you are a romance fan, then you HAVE to read this story!!! I think this may end up as my favorite novel of the year. Once again, Ms. Phillips, bravo!!!

Reviewed in July 2002 by Celia.

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