Friday, December 9, 2016

A Veil of Vines by Tillie Cole [Review]

To most people, princes, princesses, counts and dukes are found only in the pages of the most famous of fairytales. Crowns, priceless jewels and gilded thrones belong only in childhood dreams.

But for some, these frivolous fancies are truth.

For some, they are real life.

On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, people have always treated me as someone special. All because of my ancestral name and legacy. All because of a connection I share to our home country’s most important family of all.

I am Caresa Acardi, the Duchessa di Parma. A blue blood of Italy. I was born to marry well. And now the marriage date is set.
I am to marry into House Savona. The family that would have been the royals had Italy not abolished the monarchy in 1946. But

 to the aristocrats of my home, the abolition means nothing at all.
The Savonas still hold power where it counts most.

In our tight-knit world of money, status and masked balls, they are everything and more.
And I am soon to become one of them.

I am soon to become Prince Zeno Savona’s wife…
… or at least I was, until I met Achille.
And then everything changed

4 Vine filled Stars

A Veil of Vines is a standalone (although I wouldn’t mind if there was a spin-off on one of the characters, but more of that later).

I love Tillie Cole, I read anything by her and she is known for crazy stories. So, it always makes me happy when a writer goes out of his or her comfort zone and writes a different genre. I couldn’t consider this book light, but it’s lighter and it falls in the drama category.

I love the prologue of the book because it really sets up the story. It basically lets us know that there is no monarchy in Italy, but there is still the idea of royalty.

Caresa is beautiful, privileged and part of a prestigious family, where titles and who you marry matter. She’s known for years that marriages in her family is pure business, so when it’s time to marry Prince Zeno, she, like the dutiful daughter she is, travels to be with her soon-to-be-husband.
I love Caresa, I found her kind, sweet and not entitled at all. I also like that she accepts her future, so it’s not like I’m reading a book about a bratty spoiled kid crying the whole time. She’s very polished and refined.

I also like Prince Zeno. I thought at first it was his book, but it’s not and believe me, I would LOVE a spin-off book on him, hint hint hint, please. He’s educated, kind of conceited and very spoiled. He doesn’t act like the typical over the top self-absorbed prince, but he’s not kind either. You also sense there’s another layer to him and I just wanted to unravel it.

The star and the hero of the book is Achille. This book is a star crossed lover’s book. Achille is the son of a wine maker. He’s a simple man. He loves to harvest grapes, make wine and ride his horses. When he meets Caresa everything changes.

Tillie has a way of writing characters that just melt your heart. Achille will make your heart melt just a tad bit. Achille is a lonely man, but he never realized how lonely he was until Caresa came into his life. I really enjoyed reading the dynamics between Caresa and Achille. I was sucked by their love story and I really wanted things to work out between the two of them.

There’s plenty of twists and turns along the way as you read so it’s not a simple book and it keeps you entertained the whole time. If you are a Tillie Cole fan, you will not be disappointed.
An ARC was provided

I closed my eyes as the music pounded through my body. The air was sticky from the mass of bodies on the dance floor. My body swayed to the beat, my feet ached from the five-inch Louboutin heels I was wearing, and my skin was flushed from the copious amounts of 1990 Dom PĂ©rignon I had consumed.

“Caresa!” My name split through the harsh sound of drums and synthesized piano notes. I rolled my eyes open and looked across our cornered-off section of the club at my best friend.

Marietta was sitting on an oversized plush couch, waving a new bottle of champagne in my direction. Laughing, I followed my throbbing feet to where she sat and slumped down beside her. In seconds, a champagne flute was in my hand and the bubbly was flowing once more.

Marietta sat forward, swishing her long blond hair over her shoulder. She raised her glass as though she was going to make a toast. But instead, her bottom lip jutted out into a pathetic pout.

I tipped my head to one side, silently asking her what was wrong.

“I was going to make a toast to the Duchessa di Parma, my very best friend,” she shouted over a new but similar-to-the-last song. “To my best friend leaving me here in dull old New York to go marry a real-life godforsaken prince in Italy.” Marietta sighed and her shoulders slumped. “But I don’t want to. Because that would mean this night is almost over, and tomorrow I lose my partner-in-crime.” A sudden sadness bloomed in my chest at her words. Then, when her eyes filled with tears, those words became a punch in the gut.

Placing my glass on the table before us, I moved forward and put my hand on her arm. “Marietta, don’t get upset.”

She put down her own drink and grabbed my hand. “I just don’t want to lose you.”

My stomach rolled. “I know,” I said. Then I didn’t say anything else, but I could see Marietta register my unspoken words. I don’t want to go either.

Keeping my hand in hers, I slumped back against the couch and let my eyes drift over the busy dance floor below. I watched the throng of Upper East Siders losing themselves in the music. A pang of fear swept through me.

This really would be my last night in New York. In the morning, I would fly to Italy, where I would live from that day on.
Marietta shuffled closer to me and cast me a watery smile. “How are you doing?” she asked as she squeezed my hand.

“I’m okay. Just nervous, I guess.”

Marietta nodded her head. “And your papa?”

I sighed. “Ecstatic. Overjoyed that his precious daughter will be marrying the prince he chose for me as a child.” I felt a pang of guilt for speaking about him so negatively. “That was uncalled for,” I said. “You know as well as I do, Baroness von Todesco” —Marietta scowled playfully at my use of her title— “that we don’t really get a choice in whom we marry.” I leaned forward and picked up my champagne. I took a long swig, enjoying the feel of the bubbles traveling down my throat. 

I handed Marietta her glass and raised mine in the air. “To arranged marriages and duty over love!”

Marietta laughed and clinked her glass with mine. “But seriously,” Marietta said, “are you okay? Truly okay?”

I shrugged. “I honestly don’t know how to answer that, Etta. Am I okay with the arranged marriage? I suppose so. Am I okay with moving to Italy permanently? Not really. I love Italy—it’s my home, I was born there—but it’s not New York. 

Everyone I know is here in America.” Marietta’s eyes softened with sympathy. “And am I okay with marrying Zeno Savona? The infamous Playboy Prince of Toscana?” I took a deep breath. “I have no idea. I guess that will become apparent in the next three months.”

“In your ‘courting period,’” Marietta said using air quotes, and snorted with laughter. “What a joke. What twenty-three-year-old woman and twenty-six-year-old man need a courting period?”

I laughed at her sassy tone, but then soberly replied, “Ones who don’t know each other at all? Ones who have to see if they can stand each other’s company before sealing their marital fates forever?”

Marietta shuffled closer. “You know as well as I do that you could hate this so-called prince, detest everything he is—and he you—and I’d still be your maid of honor at your wedding on New Year’s Eve.” She sputtered a laugh. “The very fact that the date has been set says it all. This marriage is happening.” Marietta held up her glass, got to her feet and, with arms spread wide, shouted, “Welcome to the life of the European blue bloods of the Upper East Side! Drowning in Prada and Gucci, dripping in diamonds, but having no free will to call our own!”

I laughed, pulling her back down. She broke into hysterics as her ass hit the couch, spilling champagne all over the expensive upholstery. But our laughter waned as the house lights came on one by one. The last of the dance music drifted into silence, and the rich patrons of Manhattan’s most exclusive nightclub began making their way to their limos and town cars. It was three o’clock in the morning, and I had six hours left in the city I loved beyond measure.




Other Tillie Cole Books

It Ain't Me, Babe #1 - AMAZON | REVIEW
Heart Recaptured #2 - AMAZON | REVIEW
Souls Unfractured #3 AMAZON | REVIEW


Sweet Home #1 - AMAZON | REVIEW
Sweet Fall #2 - AMAZON| REVIEW
Sweet Rome #3 - AMAZON
Sweet Hope #4 - AMAZON | REVIEW

Eternally North - AMAZON | REVIEW

Tillie Cole is a Northern girl through and through. She originates from a place called Teesside on that little but awesomely sunny (okay I exaggerate) Isle called Great Britain. She was brought up surrounded by her English rose mother — a farmer’s daughter, her crazy Scottish father, a sav-agely sarcastic sister and a multitude of rescue animals and horses.

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