Last month Nichole Van was featured on one of the giveaways I hosted with other authors. Her books intrigued me. So I’ve been checking a couple of her books out on Kindle Unlimited, and I’m HOOKED! Like a big fat tuna caught out at sea, baby! Seriously. I might have found a new favorite author.
Her books have everything I adore:
- Great characters that I connect with (even though they’re nothing like me)
- Incredible plots with lots of twists and tangled turns to keep me guessing
- A gorgeous setting–Tuscany Italy (that’s hard to beat)
- Romantic tension that tugs at my heart strings
This story was Beyond Riveting. I couldn’t put it down once I started. The premise is a family curse that has afflicted the D’Angelo family for centuries. A great-great-and-so-on Grandfather asked a gypsy for the gift of sight to turn around his family’s fortunes, and the gift became his and generations of first-born sons curse that drove them mad at the end, driving them to suicide.
Skip to modern day Italy. The curse fractures when not one son, but triplets are born. Each son has part of this gift. This is Dante’s story, but nothing will stop me from reading the other brother’s stories now too. Dante and Claire meet when a crazy old rich guy has them and Claire’s ex-fiance, Pierce, all meet to contend for the job of working for him and cataloging his art collection. Claire and Dante don’t like each other at first, but she intrigues him because he can’t see any shadows around her (shadows of other lives that he sees in everyone else).
I don’t want to ruin a second of this book with spoilers, so I won’t expand on the plot. Suffice it to say, it’s fantastic! So many twists and turns, intriguing historical details (this book centers mostly on Florence, Italy…sigh), and awesome characters. There is absolutely NOTHING that I didn’t like about this book. It’s a 6 on the 5 scale. Completely amazing.
When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.” – Oscar Wild
First Sentence: History would call him il Conte del Maledetto—the Damned Earl. His descendents would call him ‘that damned idiot.’
Why is death like this? It’s not enough to face loss once. No. You have to bury your loved one over and over. Confront each place where she still feels so vibrantly alive.
This is book 2 in this series. It features Branwell, Dante’s identical twin (from book 1). When he meets Lucy in a café in Portland, it is a lightning strike. Love at first site. He knows she’s the woman he will someday marry…as soon as he gets to know her. His special paranormal gift/curse handed down to first son’s in the Maledetti line is hearing things from the past when he touches things. When he gets Lucy’s card before she leaves, he hears her talking to a boyfriend, and realizes with dread that it is his fraternal twin, Tennyson. Agh!
That’s the start of this love triangle. Branwell would never step in and steal his brother’s beloved girlfriend, even if she is all he can think about. Tennyson is fragile, his part of the gift/curse drives him to the brink of suicide. Lucy is the only light in his otherwise dismal life. Branwell could never take that from him. So for six years, he has distanced himself from Lucy in order not to act on his heart’s desire.
But when Lucy returns to Italy to take care of her niece, and she disappears without a trace (besides a bloody handprint left in her room), Tennyson sends Branwell to help her. He can’t do it himself, as she has broken up with him, and he is suffering emotionally from his ‘gift’ and missing her. But still, even with his brother out of the way, Branwell can’t reveal his heart to Lucy…or he might become the wedge that launches his brother into the next life. But helping Lucy find her niece, and being so close to her, is sweet torture. Will he survive it?
I love the character build up in this book. I feel like I really got to know the characters and came to adore them. They’re real. They’re raw. They’re friends. The plot in this one was crazier than the first. Different. Sometimes I became confused, but the characters were just as confused as I was. The author didn’t play favorites. Lucy’s quirky personality was endearing. I loved her like Branwell did.
Something about her tugged at me. A siren call of wedding bells and growing old hand-in-hand. Then I noticed her t-shirt—The Empurr Strikes Back scrawled underneath Star Wars-themed, anime kittens. Yep. That sealed the deal. I was going to fall in love with her. So hard. So fast. My foolish heart sat up and claimed her as its own, not interested in waiting for trivial details like her name.” – Branwell
When photographing a heart, the trick is to find the shadows. Isn’t that funny?” She shot me another lopsided smile. “It’s the shadows, the dark areas, that illuminate the shape. See?” – Lucy
Non-vegetal green things are the charlatans of the food world.” – Branwell
“That’s about the best sentence I’ve heard all week.” –Lucy
I still have to read book 3, and can’t wait. I already know I will love it. That can’t be helped with his series. But I wanted to let you all know to check this author out! Her books are A-MAZE-ING!!! Have a great week, and don’t forget to check out the Facebook Page for this site. I’m giving away 4 paperback books during the month of April…so if you haven’t joined the group yet, do that and comment on each giveaway. Happy reading.