Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Review: Bella Fortuna by Rosanna Chiofalo

Bella Fortuna by Rosanna Chiofalo
Kensington Books
August 2012
Format: Paperback, 304 pages

First line: I've never considered myself very lucky.

From the inside cover: 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.

My thoughts: A few weeks ago, while browsing the bookstore, I saw this book sitting on a table. I was immediately drawn to it - isn't the cover striking? Well, I'm glad I picked it up - it's a fantastic love story that makes you want to believe in happy-endings and true love. I was completely caught up in this story right from the first page, falling in love with the main characters and feeling emotionally connected with them as well.

Valentina, her mother Olivia and two sisters own Sposa Rose, a bridal boutique where they design wedding dresses. Valentina is in the process of planning her own wedding to Michael, who she has loved since she was a young girl when he came to her rescue. Being born on Friday the 13th, just one day short of Valentine's Day, has always led Valentina to consider herself unlucky in love. After designing, and then making, what she believes to be the perfect dress and planning a dream wedding and honeymoon in Venice, Valentina is ready to walk down the aisle in Italy. But an unpredictable tragedy shakes the DeLuca clan to the core, and forces them to reassess what family really is.

Told mainly from Valentina's point of view, but also alternating with her mother Olivia's point of view, the story moves effortlessly back and forth from the present to the past and we see how both fall in love for the first time as well as the second time. It is so easy to get caught up in the storylines - between the well-developed characters and the well-described settings, it's almost as if you are right there in Astoria or Venice with Valentina and Olivia.

I loved this book. It is filled with so many heart-warming scenes as well as many heart-breaking ones. There are many secrets throughout the book and as they come to light, you can see how they shaped each of the characters. Yes this book is does have its happy-ending, but it's really about the journey in life to get to the happy-ending, a journey that is not without its pains and sorrow. This is the debut novel for Rosanna Chiofalo and I look forward to seeing what she writes next...she is definitely an author to keep an eye on!

As I mentioned in the beginning of my review, I found this book at the bookstore - I hadn't heard about it before seeing it and am glad that I went with my gut and picked it up. What's the last book you picked up that just called to you?

(I purchased this book.)

10 comments:

  1. This sounds such a perfect romantic read! and I love that cover.

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    1. It's such a beautiful cover and a fantastic story...I hope you get a chance to read it!

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  2. I really enjoyed this one too - it made me want to go to Venice!

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    1. I totally agree...I would love to go to Venice!!!

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  3. Don't you love it when you find treasures like this? This one is new to me, but it sounds terrific. I adore Venice and so reading books about it always takes me back.
    2 Kids and Tired Books

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    1. I do and this one is definitely a treasure!

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  4. Thank you for your wonderful review, Kristin! I'm so happy to hear that you loved my novel BELLA FORTUNA! I finished my second novel in August, and it will be out in Sept. 2013. The title is CARISSIMA. The book is set in the same town BELLA FORTUNA was set in--Astoria, NY, and the last third or so of the novel is set in Rome. A few of the secondary characters from the first book appear in the second one. Thank you again for your review! Rosanna :)

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment, Rosanna!!! I love when authors stop by. I will definitely be on the lookout for your next book - if you send out early copies for review, I would be interested, but understand if you don't do that.

      Thanks again for writing this book and for stopping by!

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  5. Kristin, I'll add you to my review copies' list and would be more than happy to send you one when they come out. Thanks again! Talk to you soon.

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