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Historical Romances Set in Italy

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Italophile Book Reviews offers personal views on many books that might interest lovers of Italy.  Authors and Publishers:  I review books set in Italy, or about Italy and Italian culture, or about hyphenated Italian culture.  My site is family-friendly. Indie (Self) published books, and small publishing houses are welcome.  Contact:   info @

Italophile Books is an linked shop that has only products Italophiles are sure to love.  Shop with no distractions!  You can click through to the full site at any time, keeping your shopping cart.  Checkout is through's usual secure system.



Mysteries set in Italy

Mysteries set in Ancient Rome

Non-fiction books about Italy

Thrillers set in Italy

Children's Books

Historical Novels set in Italy

Italian Bestselling Writers



The two most sold genre of books all over the world are:

  • children's books, and
  • romance novels.

Romance novels are usually mass-printed as pocket-book paperbacks.  This means that most of the books I list here are available second-hand from for as little as $.01 (one cent!).  In effect, you pay only for the shipping.

I link, through a click on the book covers, to's page for the book, so you can see what they cost new and used.

Despite the books' popularity, readers of romance novels tend to deny, except under torture, that they read them.  For this reason, I've found it very difficult to locate these books for you.

But I've scoured around, in the underworld where romance readers congregate, and found some popular romance novels set in Italy, for the romantic Italophiles among you.  There are three types:

These links go to's pages for Kindle books. 

 Kindle Italy Romance Novels

  Kindle Historical Italy Romances

Historical Romances Set in Italy

Be sure to check my listings on my Historical Fiction page too.



The Novice by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer 

Naples, Italy, in the middle ages (the year 915):  a dukedom, a walled city, threatened by coastal raids by North Africans, and the church is the only Europe-wide authority.  Sara begins her story in a convent, a place she abhors, as a novice, someone who joins a religious order but who has not yet taken the final vows of commitment to the order.   

By the end of The Novice, Sara understands and relies on the sanctuary convents offered women in the misogynistic middle ages.  She returns more than once to the nuns' protection when things get unbearable for her. 

Sara's story begins with swashbuckling adventure and real danger.  Saracen, North African, raiders attack the convent.  Escaping just in time, Sara enjoys her new-found freedom.  Convent life was not for her. 

Things don't go exactly as Sara hopes they will.  For the first half of The Novice, Sara experiences high romance, adventure, danger, excitement, and chivalry from the classic hero.  Nicolo is gorgeous, brave, noble, and he even has a cleft in his manly chin. 

The second half of the story turns darker, with Sara suffering at the hands of a sadistic cad.  The author has a lovely style of writing; it is literary without being ponderous.  She evokes the era with her descriptions.  The politics of the time is introduced into the story naturally, never overwhelming the reader.  The narration is omniscient at times, and 3rd person limited at times, alternating the mind into which we get to see. 

The author of The Novice writes a slightly more modern version of the Gothic historical romance genre, one that includes some vulgarities, and in the case of The Novice, two explicit rape scenes (I could have done without them, to be honest).  But the picaresque style remains, along with the melodramatic and Gothic elements. 

This Indie writer works hard to produce quality work and to present it to the reader with beautiful covers.  The Novice is romantic, swashbuckling, escapist fare in which one can get immersed, blocking out the real world for a while.  The reader might even come away from the story thinking that things really aren't so bad for us today, after all.  The Novice is great stuff for fans of this old yet still entertaining genre. 

Please read my full and illustrated review at Italophile Book Reviews, where I list more historical romances set in Italy by this same author.



A Daughter's Promise by Christine Clemetson 

A Daughter's Promise is set in Rome, Italy, mostly during the final year of WWII.  A twenty-year-old Italian woman, Serene, is faced with some very difficult decisions, and the split-second choices she makes lead to surprising, life-changing outcomes.   

Like much historical romantic fiction, the story focuses primarily on the protagonist's romantic feelings, unashamedly treading into melodrama at times.  The cinematic storyline, delivered in clear, easy-to-read prose, provides a satisfying tale for fans of this genre. 

Serene's life has not been easy, and the war only adds to her difficulties, but she is fortunate that her family is among the better-off Italians.  It is actually her family's wealth that attracts one of her biggest problems, a fiancé who, we quickly learn, is both brutal and a gold-digger. 

A U.S. American soldier, Miles, enters Serene's life, making her question her decisions, convictions and life choices.  Actually, many of Serene's life choices have been made by others. 

The story of Miles and Serene is the main story in this romance novel, and it develops convincingly.  The author uses the 3rd person limited narrative style, letting us into one main character's mind at a time.  This way we can see what Serene is thinking, along with Miles, and Serene's fiancé. 

Serene is the protagonist, so we spend a lot of time "listening" to her thoughts, fears and feelings.  The writing style and content make this book suitable not just for adults, but for young-adults, too.  There are no explicit sex scenes, only suggested ones.  There are unplanned pregnancies, and pre-marital sex, but I don't recall encountering any vulgarities. 

Because Serene is forced to make decisions for herself, for the first time, and for her family members, and strangers too, you could call this a coming-of-age novel. 

The young woman has to reach deep within herself to get through this difficult time in her life.  She succeeds in the end, and finds true love, and does not let her family down. 

Please read my full review at Italophile Book Reviews.


Venice in the Moonlight by Elizabeth McKenna

I found Venice in the Moonlight, set in the Veneto region of Italy in the 1750s, to be a light, easily-readable, historical-mystery-romance novel.  It is meant for adults, but is written in simple English.  The setting of Venice and the Venetian mainland led me to request a review-copy of Venice in the Moonlight

Casanova makes an appearance as a dodgy aristocratic friend of Nico Foscari, the male lead, a young aristocrat with declining sight who spends most of his time in louche undertakings while dreading the day he will be completely blind.  Casanova is involved in the book's mystery plot, which is a fun addition to the story, weaving in fact with the fiction. 

The point of view alternates for much of the book between Marietta and Nico.  We get a look into their minds and learn, almost before they do, that there is a growing interest between the unlikely pair. 

There are some interesting politics in Venice in the Moonlight.  The 1750s was a time of growing enlightened thought, but that sort of free-thinking was seen as a threat to the established order. 

Most of the story takes place in Venice, and the author includes details about the streets, canals and buildings, creating a strong sense of place.  But it is the plot that drives the story.  The romance is interesting, and the couple make a good match by the end of the book, each having grown through the course of the story. 

Venice in the Moonlight is a satisfying, simple read, offering a glimpse into the past, and the titillation of the central couple's sexual and spiritual match, all-in-all, a guilty pleasure. 

Read my full review at Italophile Book Reviews.


Direct link to paperback at CreateSpace


Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergren

Glittering Promises is the third book in the author's Grand Tour Series, set in the Europe in 1913.  The young woman who is the protagonist of the series, Cora Kensington, is on the final leg of her tour through Europe.  The first two books in The Grand Tour Series recount Cora's adventures and changing fortunes from Montana to France, Britain, Austria and Venice.  This third book, Glittering Promises, is set all in Italy, which is why I requested a review-copy. 

The story begins in Venice, where the action picks up right where the previous book let off.  We are brought quickly up to speed with the situation and the characters.  There are a lot of characters.  I would suggest that you read the other books in the series first, and in sequence, or at least read the synopses for the other two books. 

The Grand Tour Series books are marketed as Adult Fiction, but I think the writing level and the storyline of books are best suited for young girls aged 12+.  There are some awkward phrasings, and some odd paragraphs and some fragmentary sentences, as is the unfortunate trend in books today, but the book is well-crafted and well-edited.  Just so you know, there are frequent mental soliloquies to God. 

I would have enjoyed a more complex plot in Glittering Promises to tie the scenes together.  The author leads the reader on a Grand Tour of Italy, along with Cora and her friends and relations.  The reader gets a taste of Italy's treasures of churches, museums, quaint historic towns, villas, villa gardens, Roman ruins, but without a strong plot, at times the book feels more like a travel guide than a novel.  I suspect young girls 12+ would enjoy the book all the same because of Cora and Will's on-and-off again courtship in the beautiful Italian setting. 

Please read my full review at Italophile Book Reviews



The Madonna of the Almonds by Marina Fiorato

Young widow Simonetta tries to rebuild her family in 16th century Saronno, tuscany, following the death of her husband in one of the battles ravaging the land. In pursuit of a means to keep her estate together, she stumbles upon a new drink made by inffusing almonds with alcohol.

At the same time, she encounters Bernadino, the protege of Leonardo da Vinci. What follows is a glorious story of passion, betrayal, warfare and bravery.


The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato

Luciana Vetra, revered prostitute of Florence, earns the chance to pose for Botticelli as Flora in Primavera, but the session goes awry when her innocent words anger the artist. Not one to endure an insult, she retaliates by stealing a smaller version of the painting.

Her roommate and patron are killed when the artist sends agents to reclaim the painting, leaving Luciana with only one ally to turn to, the comely novice Brother Guido who has tried to convert her. They flee Florence for their lives and to solve the deadly secret hidden within the artwork.


The Daughter of Siena by Marina Fiorato

Amid the intrigue and danger of 18th-century Italy, a young woman becomes embroiled in romance and treachery with a rider in the Palio, the breathtaking horse race set in Siena....

It’s 1729, and the Palio, a white-knuckle horse race, is soon to be held in the heart of the peerless Tuscan city of Siena. But the beauty and pageantry masks the deadly rivalry that exists among the city’s districts. Each ward, represented by an animal symbol, puts forth a rider to claim the winner’s banner, but the contest turns citizens into tribes and men into beasts—and beautiful, headstrong, young Pia Tolomei is in love with a rider of an opposing ward, an outsider who threatens the shaky balance of intrigue and influence that rules the land.



Sabina by C. DeMelo

Tuscany, 1477: Impoverished and lacking a dowry, Sabina's father forces her to marry Tommaso, a rich Florentine merchant several years her senior. Her secret lover, Marco, is jealous and angry...

Three generations of Rossi women: Sabina, her daughter, Anne, and her granddaughter, Stefania, span the most incredible period of Florentine history. From the lavish lifestyle of the Renaissance, to the fanatical rule of Savonarola, and finally the strategic restoration of Medici power via Grand Duke Cosimo I, this fascinating and carefully researched novel will leave you breathless and wanting more.


The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato

From a Reader Review:  "Marina Fiorato's 'The Glassblower of Murano' is a story told on two interwoven levels - it the story of late seventeenth century Venetian master glassblower Corradino Manin and the story of his modern day descendant Leonora Manin who flees a broken marriage in London and tries to establish a glassblowing career in Venice.

The story is at once a romance, a history, and a mystery. Leonora's story becomes the romance when she meets a handsome Venetian, . . . "

You can already pre-order her newest book The Botticelli Secret which comes out in March of 2010.  At you can find another historical romance by the same author, again set in Italy, which won't be out in the U.S. until 2010:  The Madonna of the Almonds.



Bloodstone Castle by Mirella Patzer

From a Reader Review:  "Mirella Patzer brings to life the 12th century in her historical romance, Bloodstone Castle.

'The author knows the period well and weaves a brilliant story together that keeps the reader interested and wanting to turn the pages.

'The love story of Morena and Amoro will delight the reader as they negotiate the rocky path that leads to true love and happiness.

'I highly recommend Bloodstone Castle to those readers who enjoy well-researched historical romance novels, with engaging characters and intriguing plots."

Ms. Patzer has written a fast paced historical intrigue about matters of the heart and overcoming the outside forces to prove once and for all that love truly does conquer all. Bloodstone Castle is a good read for lovers of both historical romance and romantic suspense novels... " A Romance Review

"BLOODSTONE CASTLE is an adrenaline pumping, often dark, gritty, skin-scraping story. Mirella Patzer takes a time in history and brings it alive with descriptions of pain, grief, and bleak hope..." Romance Reviews Today

"BLOODSTONE CASTLE is full of daring deeds, dastardly behavior and drugging kisses. Patzer gives us brilliant descriptions of jewelry, clothing and feasts that will have your senses swimming. All her characters are bigger than life as they walk on the rich stage of Bloodstone Castle..." Romance Reader at Heart

“Mirella spins a well-woven tale; there is enough action and conflict to keep this reader on her toes without sacrificing any of the tender courtship…” Kyraninse at Night Owl Romance



 The Scarletti Curse by Christine Feehan

Here's an excerpt from a review:  "Nicolette is a free spirit with a secret. She was born with the gift of healing and knowing when somebody needed her. The villagers depend on her healing skills and rally around her to keep her hid from outsiders. They know Nicolette could be burned as a witch, otherwise. Don Giovanni, the dark brooding aristocrat, wants Nicolette the first time he sees her. Though his family lives under a curse that all of their women will die, he is determined to make Nicolette his bride."

 The Italian by Elaine Coffman

From the Product Description:  "Italian patriot Angelo Bartolini is a man of many faces: a devoted son and brother, a noble friend and a stalwart nationalist. As a member of the Carbonari, a secret society dedicated to freeing Italy from Austrian rule, Angelo is a wanted man. But as with all great men, Angelo has a tender side, and his spirit awakens the passion of the brilliant but shy English painter, Beatrice Fairweather, who now makes her home in the Tuscan countryside."  This book is actually the second of a two-book Italian story.  The lead characters are introduced in the book The Fifth Daughter that plays partly in Italy.  Both books are also available in Italian from the publishers Mondadori.

 The Wind Dancer by Iris Johansen

From Publisher's Weekly:  "...romance and adventure set in early-16th-century Italy. A small gold statue of the winged horse Pegasus that, as legend has it, was given to Lionello Andreas's family at the fall of Troy has been stolen by Lion's enemy, Francisco Damari. The rightful owner intends to steal it back. A contact alerts him to an accomplished pickpocket whose loyalty and skills can be bought: 16-year-old Sanchia, a slave owned by a local printer. Lion acquires the girl, intending to exploit her talents...but Lion has already begun to wonder if his real treasure might in fact be a light-fingered young woman."  Followed by two more:   Storm Winds, and Reap the Wind

 Night of Fire by Barbara Samuel

From the Product Description:  "Lady Cassandra St. Ives had sworn off marriage ever since becoming a happy widow, but lately her affections have been engaged by a mysterious, long distance correspondent. Cassandra has shared her soul with her far-off admirer, and when he invites her to visit his home she accepts the invitation gladly. Expecting a kindly old gentleman, Cassandra is stunned to find that Count Basilio Montevarchi is a virile man in his prime who knows her heart's most intimate desires--and is only too willing to fulfill every one..."

 Shadow Heart by Laura Kinsale

From the Product Description:  "Readers were first introduced to Allegreto, the elegant assassin, in For My Lady's Heart. Now, he is a charismatic, dangerous man who will stop at nothing to regain his rightful place in the rich Italian principality of Monteverde. And the perfect tool has just fallen into his hands, in the lovely form of Lady Elena--the long-lost Monteverde princess. Only she can solidify his claim...but the dark passion that grows between them is more dangerous than any treachery mortal men could devise."  See also her book For My Lady's Heart.


 Scandal in Venice by Amanda McCabe

From the Product Description:  "Lady Elizabeth Everdean fled from England to Italy in wake of a terrifying accident. Now, Sir Nicholas Holligsworth has been enlisted by Elizabeth's brother to track her down. But will the unrepentant rake or the rebellious runaway win the day?"  


Free Historical Romances Set in Italy

These romance novels are freely available via the internet because they are in the public domain

The books are by the prolific and entertaining writer F. Marion Crawford, a polyglot American author who was born in and later lived in Italy. 

He traveled the world, learned over 20 languages, settled in Rome and Sorrento, and brought up his children in Italy. 

He wrote books that entertain and enthrall, and were especially appreciated by young women readers for their romanticism.  They hold up to today's books just fine! 

Click through to the Project Gutenberg's page for that title, then download the version you desire.

You can also read the books online, if you wish.  Project Gutenberg is a wonderful source for free classic books.  Please consider sending them a donation.

There are people who are using the free Project Gutenberg files to produce and sell trade paperback versions via

Casa Braccio Volumes 1 and 2

Cecilia:  A Story of Modern Rome (Set in 1900 Rome. A mysterious love story that has many elements that appear later in E. M. Forster's Room with a View.)

The Children of the King:  A Story of Southern Italy (The love story of a sailor for a lady.)

The Saracinesca Series of Four Novels:

Saracinesca (About the courtship of Giovanni and Corona.)

Sant-Ilario (About trouble in Giovanni and Corona's relationship.)

Don Orsino (About Giovanni and Corona's son, Orsino.)

Corleone:  A Tale of Sicily (Orsino and his brother, the priest Ippolito, go to Sicily and encounter the mafia.)  This link is to the Internet Archive (see below).

The Heart of Rome (A love story set in Rome.)

Marietta:  A Maid of Venice (Set in 1400s Venice and Murano, a love story between a glassmaker's daughter and a foreign glassmaker.  The era comes to life.)

Marzio's Crucifix (About a Roman metal worker and artist.)

A Roman Singer (A poor Italian boy with a wonderful singing voice rises to marry a lady.)

Stradella (A love story that starts in Venice and the book ends with the lovers in Rome.  Romanticized account of composer/musician/singer Alessandro Stradella's courtship of a Venetian senator's ward.)

Tarquisara (A love story set in Naples.)

Whoever Shall Offend (Love story set in Rome.)


These Crawford books are available via the Internet Archive.  You will need to create a free account there to download the books, but it is well worth it!

Pietro Ghisleri

To Leeward (An American wife of an Italian has an affair and suffers for it.)


Daisy Miller by Henry James

A free romantic novella. 

This classic novella from 1879, roughly fifty pages long, is by America's foremost novelist, Henry James (b.1843-d.1916), a master of the psychological novel.  The novella is in the public domain, so it is free to download as an e-book from a source I provide below.
You may know Henry James as a writer of heavy, dense prose, but this novella is closer in style to writer Edith Wharton:  conversational, gossipy, often humorous description of relations between men and women of a certain class during the Belle Epoch, with a serious ending.

Read my full, illustrated review at my Italophile Book Reviews site.

Direct link to the free Daisy Miller e-book download page at Project Gutenberg

Direct link to the free Daisy Miller viewer page and e-book download page at Internet Archive (illustrated edition)


A Sicilian Romance by Mrs. Radcliffe -- Free PDF copy



Contemporary Romances Set in Italy or Featuring Hyphenated Italians

Dreams of Tuscany by Kate Fitzroy 

This contemporary romance novel begins where many Italophiles would like to be, viewing a Tuscan farm to purchase.  

Love at first sight hits other characters in the book, left and right.  That is not really a surprise, considering this is a contemporary love story.  The author also shows her characters' love growing, and she shows solid love that has lasted a lifetime together.  We also get a glimpse of some unhealthy forms of love, like the overbearing love of a possessive mother. 

Jane Austen is mentioned early on, and Austen character names appear here and there.  I suspect that is no coincidence.  The misunderstandings, the eccentric characters, the rich handsome men, the helpful couples, the gossip, the bad guys, the sympathetic protagonist and equally sympathetic love interest:  Jane Austen strikes again!  There is no doubt that the woman will be inspiring romantic writers for generations to come. 

The book is written in British English, which to an American will be sprinkled with a few words that might cause confusion, and it will be seemingly missing a few hundred commas or so.  Nothing too onerous.  It is well-written and well-edited.  There is gentle humor, a sympathetic protagonist, and a satisfying love story. 

The setting is stunning, of course.  Tuscany, like all of Italy, has been invaded by foreigners seeking La Dolce Vita.  Perhaps it will be like a scale that tips and tips and tips until the invasion of non-Italians tips the scale so far that La Dolce Vita disappears for good?  Who knows.  But this contemporary romance is a fun escape, and a solid entry in the contemporary romance set in Italy genre. 

Please visit my full and illustrated review at Italophile Book Reviews


An American Girl in Italy by Aubrie Dionne

An American Girl in Italy starts off quickly.  We get the genre's required "cute-meet" between U.S. American Carly, and Italian Michelangelo, where Carly falls head-over-heels, literally, before:  ...the tall, dark and gorgeous hottie who must think she was the biggest idiot ever to land in Italy. 

Like all contemporary romances, there is a physical attraction between the gorgeous duo right away.  The author alternates the point-of-view between Carly, a buttoned-down workaholic, and Michelangelo Ricci, a single-minded young man who is devoted to his family and to rescuing the family's wine business. 

Carly is an oboist in an orchestra that is on tour in Italy.  We get a glimpse inside the world of classical music and traveling orchestras.  It all rings true, and it is an interesting and novel way of having a character travel around Italy.  Michelangelo is the group's tour guide.   

While the book hits all the buttons for a clean, contemporary romance novel set in Italy, I have some reservations about the book.  I'll just mention one here: Carly.  Carly is an unpleasant woman.  If you recognize yourself in Carly, you might like that she ends up with Michelangelo.  Frankly, I thought Michelangelo could do a lot better, and I hoped he would!   

Please check out my full, illustrated review at Italophile Book Reviews.


Pepe & Poppy, Tarantella vs Zorba by Joe Novella

Pepe & Poppy is a romantic-comedy-coming-of-age story set in Melbourne, Australia, within the city's large Italian immigrant community.  Actually, Pepe and his brother Charlie, the first-person conversational narrator of the story, are hyphenated Italians, the first generation born in Australia.  Poppy, however, is from Melbourne's large Greek immigrant community, a first generation child, too. 

Pepe and Poppy meet and fall in love.  Today, that would be less of an event.  However, in the early 1980s, where the book is set, this is akin to a tragedy for the two lovers' families.  Pepe's family's biggest worries are:  Are they Catholic?  Can she make pasta, pizza, lasagna?  Can she prepare Italian coffee?  What language and culture will the children learn?  Would she be able to understand us? 

The author has his narrator not only tell the story, but explain to the reader the "realities" of being a Italian-Australian.  As the story progresses, the narrator lets us into what he learned from the events he relates in the book, about how similar Italian and Greek-Australians can be.   

Let me just add a comment about Australian English for any non-Australian readers, and about the tone of this novel:  it can be a bit vulgar and crude, but it is rich with humor and a zest for life.  Some Aussie words might be unfamiliar, such as relos for relations, and bog-catcher for underpants, and chooks for chickens, but all the words are understandable in context.  There is also the frequent use of the word wog, a racially derogatory term that in Australia has been appropriated by those against whom it was used, to refer to themselves as a group. 

Pepe & Poppy is rich with humor, especially concerning the eccentricities of the families.  There are plenty of off-hand observations about Italians, like these:  ...there's nothing scarier than silent Italians; it's unnatural.,  Italians love emotional people.  If you're reserved you either have something to hide or you're just plain stupid.   

The cultural references from the early eighties are fun, too; lots of nostalgia.  Pepe & Poppy has a cinematic structure, making it easy to imagine the book as a film.  It would make a colorful, goofy, romantic, nostalgic film. 

In the end, Pepe & Poppy is a funny story about a cultural melting-pot.  In the background of the story is the suggestion that today's Australia is home to better-acculturated hyphenated Greeks and Italians, and that the Australian society is more appreciative of the best of Greek and Italian culture. 

Pepe & Poppy is well-written, well-constructed, well-edited, and very entertaining.  It transports you to another world, immerses you in it, and leaves you feeling better for it, in the end.  You can feel lots of love behind the words.  It is a love-story for Pepe and Poppy, but it is a coming-of-age story for Pepe's brother, Charlie. 

Please read my full and illustrated review at Italophile Book Reviews.


Murder, Mi Amore by Cara Marsi

Murder, Mi Amore, a romantic suspense novel, begins with the protagonist, Lexie, an Italian-American woman, who is shopping in Rome, Italy.  We learn that Lexie:  

"...wasn't ordinary any more.  Not since she'd come to Rome.  And now she had a new handbag to go with her new attitude.  In the past two weeks, the cautious and always-do-what's-right-eager-to-please-everyone Lexie Cortese had become a confident, take-charge woman.  For all of her twenty-eight years she'd done what others wanted--her parents, her teachers, that louse Jerry.  But no more." 

In the first few pages, the new Lexie meets a "Mr. GQ Cover Model" with oodles of charm and an Italian accent that works like foreplay.  This modern romantic-suspense novel, which I received as a review-copy, features the obligatory two hot twenty-somethings.  It sets off on a quick start and then religiously follows the requirements of the genre. 

You'll find lots of "heat" and "electricity" traveling around Lexie's body when she is near her Mr. GQ, lots of sizzling attraction, lots of imaginings of her sex-filled secure life with him, lots of trembling.  And there is one detailed sex-scene, with protected sex which is wonderfully responsible.  Mr. GQ's "potent masculinity" is often on display, not just in the bedroom. 

The book is written in simple English in a third-person limited narration that switches between the two main characters' perspectives, for the most part.  The book is well-edited, but with an odd error in the Italian in the book:  Madone for Madonna.  The title, too is not exactly correct; Murder, Mi Amore is a mash-up of English, Spanish and Italian.  Those points aside, the book is a solid entry in the genre romantic-suspense-novel-set-in-Italy. 

Please visit my Italophile Book Reviews site for the full, illustrated review:



Her Italian Millionaire by Carol Grace 

An entertaining, fantasy-filled, romantic suspense novel, with some racy love scenes, so, not for children.  While racy, the scenes do not cross the line into raunchy or pornographic, in my humble opinion.  If you enjoy light, female protagonist, romantic suspense films, you should enjoy this novel. 

Anne Marie, a forty-one-year-old U.S. American has been ditched by her husband for a much younger woman.  To heal her feelings of abandonment and her damaged self-esteem, Anne Marie seeks out a high-school crush, an Italian exchange student, Giovanni, in Italy! 

From the start of her trip, her flight, things do not go as planned, setting off a chain of events that put Anne Marie in danger.  Luckily for her, handsome, forty-year-old Marco dogs Anne Marie every step of her way to meet the old friend.  In well-written segments, often rich with humor, from both Anne Marie's perspective and Marco's perspective, we follow the romantic adventure to it's romantic ending. 

An adventure, a romance, a fantasy for a divorced, forty-one-year-old woman, in Italy, trailed by a handsome Italian man:  Her Italian Millionaire is a fun read.  Don't expect literature or a complicated plot.  This is a light read, a beach read, a guilty pleasure read. 

Midway in the novel, Anne Marie finally reunites with her childhood crush, Giovanni, without the hoped for earth-moving results.  Alone again with Marco, Anne Marie and Marco begin to get to know each other, and to realize their mutual attraction, including two racy sex scenes, and a few tongue-twisting kissing sessions! 

Read the full review at Italophile Book Reviews.


Direct link to Her Italian Millionaire e-books at Smashwords

A New Life by Beate Boeker 

The book is fun, and romantic, and touching at moments.  The first chapter sets up the premise of the novel quickly and surely.  Anne's recent experience behind bars (she was never granted bail) adds a touching pathos to her. 

Through a skillful use of an alternating point-of-view, the author lets us into the minds of our two protagonists.  Many times we are even given a glimpse of their opposing takes on the same action, which I found a lovely touch. 

The growing attraction between the two leads is presented in a gentle way.  You will not find any of those odd descriptions that appear in some "romances" that read like direct quotes from a physiology textbook section on the "Signs of Sexual Arousal". 

What adds extra fun to the story is that just when you settle in for the romance, an event occurs that shakes the story and the characters up, and brings Anne and Peter closer together.   

As a former ex-pat who lived in Florence, Italy, I especially enjoyed the asides from Peter concerning gossipy Florence. 

The romance brought me into the story, then the mystery element of the story carried me to the exciting climax of the book, and I was rewarded with a sweet, romantic ending.  If that is the kind of book you enjoy, then I recommend you try A New Life

Read my full review at Italophile Book Reviews.


Sweet Delicious Madness and the Hordes of Lidias by Julie Sarff

Sweet Delicious Madness and the Hordes of Lidias is Book 3 in Julie Sarff's Kissed in Italy Mystery Series.  This Kindle (mobi) e-book series is pure, silly, fanciful fun.

The protagonist of the series, U.S. ex-pat Lily Bilbury, narrates her adventures in northern Italy, where she lives in a small town on the shores of Lago Maggiore.  Her scatter-brained, fantasy-filled, very funny ramblings describe the adventures of Lily, and her two best girlfriends, and an assorted group of extras, as they attempt to deal with the problems and mysteries that their lives throw at them.

Julie Sarff is wonderful at setting up comic set pieces.  I thought her funniest sequence was in a Swiss hospital.  Lily is given a relaxant to calm her anxiety after a car accident, but the drug has hallucinatory consequences.  She becomes convinced that her doctor is Swiss tennis star Roger Federer.  So, naturally, she attempts to pluck his uni-brow into two respectable eyebrows, with bloody results!

If you enjoy books in a first-person, rambling style, lots of humor, clean romance, light mystery, with a strong dose of local Italian flavor, then the Kissed in Italy Mystery Series is for you.  This Indie-Author is creating a quality series of entertaining, light reads, with stunning covers!

After having read books 1 through 3 I have to say that the humor is consistently and effortlessly funny.  The books are a wonderful way to spend your free time, leaving you in a much better mood than when you first sat down.  The characters are varied and realistic.  The depictions of fame and the famous on ordinary people ring spot on.  And the accurate descriptions of Italians of all stripes speak of personal experience, not of cliches.

Read my full review at Italophile Book Reviews.



Her Reluctant Bodyguard by Jennette Green 

Her Reluctant Bodyguard is a clean (non-pornographic), contemporary romantic suspense novel whose male lead is an Italian-American who is more Italian than American, having spent only his summers growing up in The States.  Jamison Constanzo is a bodyguard to a major British pop-star.  Part of the novel's story takes place in and around Rome, Italy.   

That is not the whole reason I purchased this e-book to read and review here.  I was also impressed by the author's sample chapters.  They were clean, well-written, well-formatted, and engaging.  I was not disappointed when I read the book!  It is very readable, flowing nicely, full of fun and romantic interactions between the leads, Jamison and Alexa, a U.S. American woman who has been hired to co-write the pop-star's autobiography. 

In this entertaining novel we gets lots of clean, romantic interaction between Alexa and Jamison.  The dangerous-fan story builds to an exciting finish, then the novel ends with romance.  Please know that you don't have to be religious to like this book or the characters, so don't be put off if you see the book called a "Christian Romance".  The author compares her protagonists' repartee to Hepburn and Tracy, but I found it more reminiscent of Gable and Colbert in the film It Happened One Night. 

Read my full review at Italophile Book Reviews.


From Italy with Love by four authors

From a Reader Review:  "This is a book made up of four short stories (about 100 pages each).

'That's four different girls meet four different boys and four happy endings.

'Yes, there are Christian undertones, so if you don't want to read about faith and finding God than this is not a book for you."

A Summer in Sicily by G. C. Dallas

From  "Take a famous, but stressed, woman--abstract painter from Washington DC; an infatuated sculptor from NY with a beautiful, not so dumb, model.

'Add a stingy, but elegant professor; a gallery owner with an adolescent daughter and an alcoholic ex-wife and put all these Americans in a small town one summer in Sicily.

'Not forgetting either: a bureaucrat from Rome; a crack Sicilian photographer; an Italian sculptor, his workshop and his family; helpful neighbors and even an English racetrack driver and four Sicilian students on vacation with time on their hands---and there you have the cast of this amusing and intriguing story."

Lost Hearts in Italy by Andrea Lee

From Publisher's Weekly:  "Lee's elegantly structured novel about a love affair that destroys a young couple's marriage unfolds through the individual perspectives of the wife, the husband, and the interloper, shifting back in forth between the mid-1980s and two decades later."

An Italian Affair by Laura Fraser

From  "After her husband leaves her for his high school sweetheart, freelance writer Fraser (Vogue, Glamour, Self, the San Francisco Examiner Magazine) takes off to Italy to gain a new perspective on her life. There she unexpectedly meets M...."

The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper

From a Reader Review:  "The Juliet Club is a wonderfully fun and breezy read perfect for summertime.

'The trip of a lifetime comes alive in this cleverly constructed and formatted book that will ensure that readers devour it quickly. Though the first chapter is slightly awkward, but the numerous characters and their backgrounds make this novel appealing to everyone, and keep the story moving quickly.

'Throw in a few fun twists, Shakespearean sonnets, and a masquerade ball, and you have a light, funny, and uplifting romantic novel that won't soon be forgotten."

The next books are by Elizabeth Adler.  Booklist says this about her books: 

"With plots lighter than air and settings that include some of the world's most exotic cities, Adler's romantic suspense novels aim to please."

This should be a warning to those expecting hard-boiled or edgy stories.  Light and breezy is more like it, and well-written, well-edited and enjoyable when that is what you are looking for.

Sailing to Capri by Elizabeth Adler

From a Reader Review:  "No one does armchair traveling mixed with romantic suspense better than world-traveler and world-class writer Elizabeth Adler. If you're longing for a bit of respite from the everyday doldrums, you will find this fantasy trip more than satisfying.

'Daisy Keene has bottomed out on luck and love when a not-at-all-handsome stranger picks her up at a party and takes her to dinner. She spends the next five years as Bob Hardwick's trusted assistant and friend, only to be devastated when he is killed and aghast when she discovers it was murder.

Enter handsome investigator Harry Montana..."

Summer in Tuscany by Elizabeth Adler

From a Reader Review:  "If you're looking for a dreamy book to while away those lazy summer afternoons, I highly suggest this one.

'It's not classical literature by any means, but it's one of the better ways to escape reality for a few hours and fall in love with reading and Italy all over again."

Meet me in Venice by Elizabeth Adler

From Booklist:  ...Parisian antiques dealer Precious Rafferty grapples with stolen artifacts and a turbulent romantic life.  When handsome Bennett James, a seemingly wealthy Shanghai businessman, sweeps her off her feet, Precious plans a lavish wedding in Venice.  Her fabulously wealthy aunts fly in for the ceremony, but when Bennett learns the aunts intend to leave their fortunes to charity, he stands Precious up at the altar.

' ...  A gruff American mystery novelist helps Precious both to mend her broken heart and to track down her cousin, whose life is in danger.

'Adler packs her brief chapters full of tantalizing descriptions of the luxurious lifestyle of the jet set, providing her many fans with plenty of vicarious thrills."

The House in Amalfi by Elizabeth Adler

From a Reader Review:  "Elizabeth Adler brings her perfect blend of romance between man and woman and romance between reader and locale to this charming tale set on the exquisite Italian coast.

'I doubt anyone will finish this book without thinking several times of calling a travel agent and booking the next flight to Italy."

That's Amore by Carol Grace

From the Product Description:  "In this delicious contemporary romance, Carol Grace whisks readers away to Italy's sunny Amalfi Coast, where whitewashed villas and fragrant lemon trees sit high atop craggy cliffs...and romance is always in the air."

 Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley

From a Reader's Review:  "The author weaves two stories in one. One is about a turn of the century actress, Celia Sands, who mysteriously disappeared, during a torrid affair with her wealthy, married Italian lover, who wrote a play for her. She never had an opportunity to perform the leading role in her lover's masterpiece, however, due to her untimely disappearance. The main story line is about a present day actress of the same name, though no relation, who is called upon to play the role the first Celia Sands was unable to play."

 The Venetian Playboy's Bride by Lucy Gordon

From a Reader's Review:  "Lucy Gordon's THE VENETIAN PLAYBOY'S BRIDE is an enticing romance set to the magical background of Venice. The dialogue is fun and all the characters are appealing. I especially liked the romantic hero, a unique, wealthy, yet down-to-earth man. I also loved the way the author paints a vivid picture of Venice and its history."  Check out her other Italy set books:   The Tuscan Tycoon's WifeThe Italian Millionaire's Marriage.

 Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

From Publisher's Weekly:  " this lively contemporary romance set in Tuscany. Lorenzo Gage is a devilishly handsome movie star, best known for his villainous roles onscreen and his playboy antics off. Isabel Favor is a tightly wound self-help guru and author of The Four Cornerstones of a Favorable Life whose own perfect life has recently come crashing down around her. Both have come to Italy to escape the endless rehashes of their latest misfortunes in the public eye, and the equally endless drone of self-criticism. Lorenzo and Isabel meet under what can only be described as unusual circumstances..."





Also see my pages:

Italian Bestselling Writers

Mysteries set in Italy

Mysteries set in Ancient Rome

Non-fiction books about Italy

Thrillers set in Italy

Children's Books

Historical Novels set in Italy


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