Friday, October 24, 2014

#95 : The Echoes of Love by Hannah Fielding : A Review


BOOK TITLE: The Echoes of Love

ISBN: 0992671833

AUTHOR: Hannah Fielding

GENRE: Fiction – Romance


FORMAT: Paper back


REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The writer sent us a review copy in exchange for  a honest review

SUMMARY : Set against the breathtaking beauty of Italy, The Echoes of Love is a passionate, heart-breaking romance to ignite the senses and rekindle your belief in the power of love. Seduction, passion and secrets... Venetia Aston-Montagu has escaped to Venice to work in her godmother's architectural practice, putting a lost love behind her. For the past ten years she has built a fortress around her heart, only to find the walls tumbling down one night of the carnival when she is rescued from masked assailants by an enigmatic stranger, Paolo Barone. Drawn to the powerfully seductive Paolo, despite warnings of his Don Juan reputation and rumours that he keeps a mistress, Venetia can't help being caught up in the smouldering passion that ignites between them. When she finds herself assigned to a project at his magnificent home deep in the Tuscan countryside, Venetia not only faces a beautiful young rival but also a sinister count and dark forces in the shadows, determined to come between them. Can Venetia trust that love will triumph, even over her own demons? Or will Paolo's carefully guarded, devastating secret tear them apart forever?


The first line of the summary was just about enough for me to fall for the book. I admit! I am shamelessly attracted to anything Italian – be it the culture or the food. Watching too much of TLC channel left me bewitched and besotted with Italian city so much so that visiting Italy at least once in this life time has become top in my “things to do before I die” list. Also, having worked with Italians professionally, I quite enjoy their culture. 

I had set obnoxiously high standards for this book just because the story was set in Italy. But when the book landed on my door step I did chastise myself for being a hopeless “Italian Romantic”. I almost dreaded that I would come to regret my decision of picking up this book for the book was quite heavy to begin with. It has been ages since I read 400 odd pages paperback copy. Books these days are no longer than 350 pages.  But when I finished reading the book I was truly happy for not missing such a beautiful book.

To start with, the book cover was beautiful. The eye mask and the title of the book is glossily embossed in black against a beautiful cream background thus giving it a rich texture.

Our protagonist, Venetia is a restoration specialist with a traumatic past. The love of her life “left” her and she lost their love child in a freak accident. She escapes from the clutches of her traumatic past and her strict father by moving to Venice to work for her godmother in her architect firm. For some odd reason, Zia (the god mother) reminds me of Meryl Streep from the movie The Devil Wears a Prada. Venetia falls in love with Paolo, the handsome Italian who again has his own share of traumatic past. So do they actually find each other? Obviously yes, they do. But what matters is the narration of the “how”.

The narration was bang on. Italy was described so beautifully that with pages that I turned, my desperation to visit that country increased exponentially. To make matters worse the story was written so beautifully. The beauty of courtship narrated against a back drop of a romantic city is indeed an intoxicating combination. Being a late (like horribly late) bloomer in discovering Love & Romance Literature, this story ended up leaving me with a fluttering heart and a flipping stomach!

The characterisation was perfect and realistic. Due to this, the emotions that the writer tried to convey were eerily realistic. I felt like I was living in the middle of the story. Till date only one book
(or a series maybe….) had managed to do that to me. No prizes for guessing which book.

My only weeny tiny qualm though would be that there was a bit of drag in story – The book would have been better off without that “evil witch girl” in play. And of course, the climax was predictable, though I can’t really put my finger on why I was able to predict it in spites of a gripping tale with very minimal loophole in the plot.

To sum it up, this story is akin to the perfect coffee served in a traditional fashion. Such books are hard to come by in the age of Vending machine quality quicke romance (er….may be like the slurry liquid that my work place’s vending machine serves me in the name of coffee?!)

VERDICT: This book is strictly for people who love to read literature and beautiful romances. If you can’t admire the beauty of courtship and true romance don’t dare touch this book.

RATING: 4.9 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: (In her own words!)
I grew up in a rambling house overlooking the Mediterranean. My earliest memories are of listening, enchanted, to fairy stories at the knee of my half-French half-Italian governess Zula. When I was seven we came to an agreement: for each story she told me, I would invent and relate one of my own. That is how my love for story-telling began.

Later, at a convent school, while French nuns endeavoured to teach me grammar, literature and maths, I took to day-dreaming and wrote short romantic stories to satisfy the needs of a fertile imagination. Having no inhibitions, I circulated them around the class, which made me very popular among my peers and less so with the nuns.

After I graduated with a BA in French literature, my international nomadic years commenced. I lived mainly in Switzerland, France and England, where I had friends and family, and during holidays I travelled to Mediterranean countries like Italy, Greece and Spain.

I met my husband in London at a drinks party: it was love at first sight, just like in the romance books that were my constant companions. He brought me to his large Georgian rectory in Kent, surrounded by grounds and forests. After my children were born, between being a mother and running a property business, there was little time for day dreaming, let alone writing. 

Then, once my children had flown the nest, I decided after so many years of yearning to write, write, write it was time to dust off the old manuscripts I’d been tinkering with for a lifetime. 

Today, I am living the dream: I write full time, splitting my time between my homes in Kent and in the South of France, where I dream up romances overlooking breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.

My first novel, Burning Embers, is a vivid, evocative love story set against the backdrop of tempestuous and wild Kenya of the 1970s, reviewed by one newspaper as ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’. My new novel, The Echoes of Love, is a story of passion, betrayal and intrigue set in the romantic and mysterious city of Venice and the beautiful landscape of Tuscany

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle,Hardcover & Paperback

PRICE: Rs.99 (Kindle)


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse

1 comment:

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