Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review: Bella Fortuna

Author: Rosanna Chiofalo
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Kensington

In this warm, enchanting debut novel, Rosanna Chiofalo evokes the extraordinary beauty of Venice, the charm of a close-knit New York neighborhood, and the joys of friendship, family, and surprising second chances...

Valentina DeLuca has made hundreds of brides' dreams come true. At Sposa Rosa, the Astoria, New York, boutique where she, her sisters, and their mother design and sew couture knock-off gowns, she can find the perfect style for even the most demanding customer. Now, it's her turn. Valentina has loved Michael Carello ever since he rescued her from a cranky shopkeeper when she was ten years old. He's handsome, chivalrous, and loyal. And in a few weeks, she's going to marry him--in Venice.

But just when she thinks everything is falling into place, Valentina is forced to re-examine her life to see what truly makes her happy. And as she soon learns, in a place as magical as Venice, what seems like misfortune can turn out to be anything but, although who knows what may be waiting around the next corner? The chance to enjoy a moonlit gondola ride, to sip Prosecco in St. Mark's Square, to eat mouthwatering gelato, to put aside "sensible" for once and see where the warm Italian breezes guide her as she visits all the sights she's dreamed of: The Doge's Palace, Il Rialto, the little islands of Murano and Burano. And maybe, along the way, to discover that bella fortuna--good luck--isn't what you're given, but what you make.

Bella Fortuna in Italian means “beautiful fortune,” I believe. I have always wanted to journey to Europe, especially Italy and France. Anytime that I get to read a wonderful novel that is taking place there, I am ecstatic for days. This cover is so beautiful and if someone could just drop me down right in the middle of it then I would be happy beyond measure. I am not sure if you can see it very well on the computer screen but directly in the center of the cover is a woman in a bridal gown standing on a bridge. It took me a couple looks to find her!

Everything about this book was truly heartwarming. I especially loved the wonderful and sometimes crazy DeLuca family. They embodied their Italian heritage and I was able to feel right at home when they were together. I really love books like this that can really take on a culture and a heritage and portray it through the characters and their actions. Valentina was our main character and the DeLuca sister that was preparing for her wedding day. I was glad to learn that our author, Rosanna, is Italian herself and I often wondered, while reading, if any of the characters were based off of her own family!
I have always loved to read about weddings and I loved following Valentina as she planned for hers. Not to mention she is having a destination wedding in, yep you guessed it….Italy! I was so thrilled when I learned this and I loved reading along as she made her wedding gown and prepared for a cake and everything else that goes along with any girl’s big day. I also enjoyed it whenever her sisters were around, even though they only got on Valentina’s last nerve. I felt by the time I had reached the end of the book that I deserved an invitation to this wedding!
I loved the romance in this book because it was not overdone. I am not one to get all wrapped up in mushy gushy romances, but I love the more realistic ones. I felt like this book fit the latter category. This book really tugged on my emotions at times and I can honestly say that I am very pleased with Rosanna Chiofalo’s writing. I have read a few reviews in which it was critiqued negatively. I am quite the opposite. Every author has their own style and I try to embrace them all! I am very excited for her next book. I would recommend this book to anyone just for the Italian culture and an inside look at the dynamics of a crazy but loveable Italian family!
***Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***

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