The Echoes of Love

Hannah Fielding
The Echoes of Love
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London Wall
Release Date
December 2013
Contemporary Romance, Literary Romance

Set against the breathtaking beauty of Italy, The Echoes of Love is a passionate, heartbreaking romance to ignite the senses and rekindle your belief in the power of love.

Seduction, passion and secrets...

Venetia Aston-Montagu has escaped to Venice to work in her godmother's architectural practice, putting a lost love behind her. For the past ten years she has built a fortress around her heart, only to find the walls tumbling down one night of the carnival when she is rescued from masked assailants by an enigmatic stranger, Paolo Barone.

Drawn to the powerfully seductive Paolo, despite warnings of his Don Juan reputation and rumors that he keeps a mistress, Venetia can't help being caught up in the smoldering passion that ignites between them.

When she finds herself assigned to a project at his magnificent home deep in the Tuscan countryside, Venetia not only faces a beautiful young rival but also a sinister count and dark forces in the shadows, determined to come between them.

Can Venetia trust that love will triumph, even over her own demons? Or will Paolo's carefully guarded, devastating secret tear them apart forever?

Book Review by Victoria Lane (reviewer)
Jul 02, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
123 people found the following review helpful
THE ECHOES OF LOVE by Hannah Fielding tells the tale of how Venetia Aston-Montagu is forced to deal with her emotional baggage and move on with her life. Despite her chic clothing and the beauty of Italy, the story isn't pretty. I give it two stars due to the exhaustive narration, unbalanced character development, and substantive, as well as grammatical, inconsistencies.

In the novel, Venetia Aston-Montagu is a British restoration specialist who carries serious emotional baggage with her. She lost her fiancÚ and unborn child ten years ago; she believed that her fiancÚ, Judd, a British soldier on assignment in Ireland, abandoned her after learning she was pregnant. She miscarried the baby after a fall. Venetia has been living in Venice for the past three years, and even though she has many romantic opportunities, including marriage to a Count, she turns them all down.

During Carnivale, Venetia meets Paolo, a handsome stranger who manages to push all her buttons, and she can't get away from him fast enough. Unfortunately, she continues to run into him around town, and ultimately, her firm is commissioned by Paolo for some restoration work in Tuscany. Her time there turns her life upside down, and a family crisis facilitates some major revelations about her past.

I was so intrigued by the synopsis of the book, but disappointed in the elaboration. I felt like the plotline was a bit predictable, and the pace in the beginning of the book is glacial, with only the last 100 pages or so picking up the pace. Much of the book reads like a travel book, with a massive amount of detail that ultimately is inconsequential to the plot. Yes, Italy is beautiful, but the details provided could have been conveyed in such a way as to tie it into the plot and give the reader a reason for caring about it. Unfortunately, the rich detail became an annoyance as I attempted to locate and follow the plot.

The character development felt a bit askew; there was a lot of narration covering Venetia's thoughts and background and very little pertaining to Paolo. I would have liked to see more of Paolo's thoughts and less of Venetia's repetitive insecure ruminations. At times, it felt like the narration was from so many points of view that I couldn't tell whether the narrator was revealing the truth about what a character thought or felt, or revealing another character's perception of a character's thoughts and feelings.

As for Venetia, I did not like her character. For someone in her late 20's or early 30's, who has traveled and dealt with all kinds of people, she is incredibly na´ve. For example, despite the fact that Venetia has rejected the Count's marriage proposals, has been generally creeped out by him, and has actually been physically assaulted by him, she believes *every* word he says about Paolo without questioning the Count's motives. Then when it comes to Paolo, she doesn't ask him about what the Count has said. Why not? The story is set in the 21st Century; so it's not like there is a social restraint on women speaking their minds. It just doesn't make sense, and I didn't believe her character.

There were also inconsistencies and contrivances within scenes--what time of day it was, weather conditions, where the characters are situated, the overall impressions of the characters' clothing and mindset, and dialogue. For example, when Paolo and Venetia are touring the restoration project property, they fall down the stairs. She conveniently lands on top of him, and miraculously, neither is injured. Narration tells us that she wants him "to reach down with [his] mouth and kiss her." If she fell on top of him, then she's the one who has to reach down to kiss him.

On the technical side, the inconsistencies in italicization, translation errors, and general typographic errors made getting through this book difficult. I liked the happy ending, though it was too difficult to get there, and not enough time was spent in that happiness for me to close the book with a smile on my face.

Overall, even though I felt like the novel had such potential, I did not enjoy reading it.
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