It’s an absolute delight today to be joining the publication day push for Dreaming of Verona by T.A. Williams, and sharing my review. Published today by Canelo Escape, it’s now available for kindle via Amazon in the UK and US. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the publishers for my advance reading copy (provided via netgalley).
Would you believe that this is the first time I’ve read one of Trevor’s books? I know, shameful, isn’t it? I’ve lusted over his covers, I’ve read reviews by friends that convinced me I’d love his books, I’ve given him the thumbs up and promised to read one so many times that I’ve (almost) become embarrassed to bump into him at social occasions. But, at long last, I’ve managed to read one: I could almost cry that I’ve left it so long, but I know there are plenty for me to catch up on…
Verona is the City of Love. But will Suzie find romance there or, like Romeo and Juliet, will it all end in tears?
When Suzie is hired to accompany spoiled, abrasive Lady Alexandra Tedburn on an all-expenses paid holiday to Italy, she fears the trip will be a disaster.
But she soon discovers there’s more to Alex than shopping and tantrums, and she’s determined to help her realise her potential – against Alex’s authoritarian father’s wishes.
As they settle in Verona, Suzie can’t stop thinking about local artist Michael, who is still mourning the tragic death of his wife. With Suzie’s future uncertain, and Michael’s past holding him back, it seems there’s no hope for romance in the city of star-crossed lovers… or is there?
A gorgeously uplifting and moving story, Dreaming of Verona is the perfect read for fans of Holly Martin, Tilly Tennant and Jenny Oliver.
Location is a factor I find really important in the lighter side of romance – I have no idea why, but I’m always particularly drawn to an Italian setting, although it’s somewhere I’ve visited far too little. I’ve been to Venice a few times though, and it was good to visit again at the rather more luxury end of the market: but I’ve never actually been to Verona or the nearby Italian Lakes, and by the book’s close I felt like I’ve had the most wonderful tour, full of all the sights, tastes and local flavour.
The lives of the rich are always quite fascinating too – and as Suzie travels to Italy as Lady Alex’s paid companion, I really enjoyed the glimpses of a lifestyle I’ve never been lucky enough to enjoy. Heavens, there’s certainly a downside though – Alex’s father controls all her life choices, and I really did like the way her spoilt rich kid front was slowly worn away as the friendship between the two women developed.
And if we’re in Verona, it’s only to be expected that there’ll be some Shakespeare too. I might not have been entirely convinced by Suzie’s academic background, but I did like the way it led her both to the friendship with Mac, and the opportunity to stay a little longer.
The windsurfing content was nicely done – even as a non-swimmer, I could certainly understand its draw and the sheer exhilaration it offered. It provides a few moments of real drama for the story too – nothing too over-the-top, but well-handled and with a few nice opportunities for misunderstandings and moving the story forward.
And while we’re in Italy, it’s good to have some art playing a part in the story too. I really liked the character of Michael, the portrait painter, one of Suzie’s possible love interests: he has a well-drawn lingering sadness that needs to be overcome if there’s to be any possibility of their relationship having a future. I liked her other suitor too – despite first impressions, what a lovely guy. But now I’m starting to tell the story, and that’s unforgivable… I must stop there, or you might not want to read it.
I will mention one other significant cast member though, and that’s Dogberry. Yes, he’s a black labrador, and I’d heard how the author likes to introduce a four-legged companion: I’m not really a doggy person, but what a wonderful character he is, entirely stealing the spotlight every time he appears.
Lest I’ve left any space for doubt – and I do hope I haven’t – I adored this book. I sometimes talk about looking for darker edges, being grateful for some unexpected twists, appreciating characters with depths and shadows – but I equally enjoy a well-written book that delivers with considerable style exactly what you see on its cover, an escape into a different world, and sheer enjoyment from beginning to end.
Highly recommended, and an author I’d always rather guessed I’d be adding to my “favourite authors” list. I loved it…
Just between us, I read this book over my recent hospital visit – and it couldn’t have been a more perfect choice. A couple of hours taking my mind off my theatre slot, and picked up eagerly again in the evening (when the anaesthetic wore off, and the painkillers kicked in) – it whisked me away exactly as I’d hoped it would, the story every bit as engaging as I could have possibly wanted it to be. Thank you Trevor – although, I should probably add, hospitalisation isn’t strictly necessary for others to get the same degree of pleasure…!
About the author
I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.
The fact that I am now writing romantic comedy is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations and, as a writer, I obviously have to go there in person and check them out first. I love my job…