A big thank you to Karen for inviting me onto the blog to talk about A Villa in Portofino, my new romantic suspense. It’s hard to believe that this is my sixth book for Choc-LIt and the third in my ‘Riviera’ Series.
I thought it might be fun to interrogate the book with the five classic questions – Who, What, When, Where, Why, although I’ve mixed the order up a little.
Where: I had to start with this one as the book title is a bit of a giveaway. Although the book begins in Bath in Somerset, the action quickly moves on to the Ligurian coast, in Italy. Portofino is a picturesque village and a very up-market resort, with luxury shops and galleries and some very fancy yachts moored in the harbour. The location was actually suggested to me in a readers’ poll, but it proved to be a great choice for locating the spectacular property that my heroine inherits.
When: The book can be read as a stand-alone, but it is book three in my Riviera series, so if you have read the others you will again meet old friends. The events of the book dovetail with some of those in A Wedding on the Riviera, as they take place in the same time frame, but on different sides of the French/Italian border.
Who: Although the book is part of a series, each episode features a new couple with their own love story. In this case my heroine is Megan Morrison, an out of work academic who has just come through a bad break-up when she gets a mysterious letter from a firm of London solicitors...
My hero, Gideon West, is a landscape gardener with a passion for Riviera gardens. On an impromptu research trip to Portofino he is strangely drawn to the overgrown garden of a deserted villa...
What: Megan needs help to make her surprising legacy fit to be the home of her dreams. Gideon seems like an answer to her unexpected difficulties in reclaiming what was once a beautiful garden created by her great-great aunt Olwen. But Gideon has something in his past that he isn’t sharing, and someone else has covetous eyes on the neglected estate...
Why: When I first envisaged the book it had a distinctly Gothic overtone but somehow, in the Italian sunshine, things didn’t work out that way! Instead it became a story of family secrets, some deliberately kept, but others simply lost in time and memory, although the book still has its dark side – this is romantic suspense, after all. I was juggling five generations stretching back to the Second World War, and there was a lot of time and space for memory to become clouded and misinformation to be passed around. Megan has a number of mysteries to unravel – the history of the estate, the history of her last family member, an aunt whom she had never met, and the possible link between the estate and some books of poetry that formed the substance of her doctorate. And alongside all this she seems to be falling in love...
So – those are the answers to those five one word questions. I hope that they have intrigued you and made you want to read the book. If you do, I really hope you enjoy it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Evonne is an award winning Welsh author of romantic suspense - more crime and dead bodies than your average romance. She likes to set her book in her native Wales, or for a touch of glamorous escapism, in favourite holiday destinations in Europe. She is a Doctor of Philosophy and an historian, and a member of both the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Crime Writers’ Association.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Third in the ‘Riviera’ Series of romantic suspense: love and mayhem in the sunshine of the French and Italian Riviera
From chambermaid to “got it made” … When hotel cleaning temp and poetry academic Megan Morrison finds out she’s inherited an Italian villa and small fortune from her estranged great-great aunt Olwen, she doesn’t quite know how to react. That is, until she travels to Portofino to see Il Giardino delle Rose for herself. Then she knows exactly what she has to do: live there! Enchanted by the beauty of the house and gardens, fascinated by the history, and more than a little intrigued by handsome hired landscape gardener Gideon West, Megan can immediately see the villa’s potential as a dream home. But having long-lost relatives sometimes means long-lost secrets – and it seems that Olwen had plenty of those. Could these secrets and a jealous obsession be powerful enough to drive Megan out of the house that she’s already fallen in love with?