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Book Review: Once a Ferrara Wife by Sarah Morgan

once a ferrara wife sarah morgan Book Review: Once a Ferrara Wife... by Sarah Morgan

When a week or so ago an enormous care package filled with all sorts of Mills & Boon paraphernalia landed on my doorstep, I was quite chuffed, as my experience with M&B thus far has been a very positive one. M&B is brilliant at ensuring that its products are perfectly suited to its target audience (the feedback forms found in the back of M&B books and their reps regular engagement with readers are just a couple of indicators of how seriously M&B takes its role as provider of highly specific products for a highly specific audience.), and Im always pleasantly surprised by the books Im sent to read.

Unfortunately, even an M&B honeymoon has to come to an end, and with Sarah Morgans Once a Ferrara Wife'Im sorry to say that M&B and I have hit our first rocky patch. This slim novella was my first foray into Morgans oeuvre, but as a caveat I should note that shes a bestselling author with a number of books under her belt, so I suspect that many of my qualms may relate to a lack of author-reviewer chemistry more than anything else.

Once a Ferrara Wife'begins intriguingly enough: heroine Laurel is distressed and anxious as she flies into Sicily, and its not long before we find out why: Laurel has returned to Italy not only to attend a wedding, but also to finalise a separation with her estranged husband Cristiano. This is the first time Ive come across a M&B book that has begun with the hero and heroine having separated, and though the ending is evident enough in the books title, I was curious to see how Morgan would trace the journey of her feuding couple as they inevitably redeemed themselves in each others eyes.

From the outset, however, Im afraid that the structure of the novel seemed to work against me as a reader, with the backstory, as it was brought in, making much of the novel feel sort of temporally displaced. The crux of the narrative is not so much in the reconciliation sought in the now, but in puzzling out why the two main characters separated in the first place. As such very little actually happens in the present, and what does happen feels somewhat secondary and perfunctory compared with the drama (and were talking some serious drama) of the past. Indeed, most of what takes place is a series of arguments between Laurel and Cristiano about the events leading up to their separation, and theres such a degree of repetition here that actually found myself checking back to see whether a chapter or two hadnt been accidentally duplicated by the printer. The pages of this book veritably drip angst, and I found myself wishing that the characters would stop analysing and re-analysing their own and each others emotions and would just do'something (okay, they do have the odd roll in the hay, but then its straight back to fighting like, um, an old Sicilian married couple).

In addition to inverting the traditional romance narrative, Morgan also strives to do the same with the personalities of the hero and heroine, with Laurel characterised as chronically closed off and untrusting, and Cristiano as the emotionally magnanimous one who is quite happy to regale Laurel about how much he loves her and wants to initiate a reconciliation. However, the extremes to which both characters are taken makes it hard to identify with either: Laurel is shut off to the point that the reader cant sympathise with her, and Cristiano is so forceful in his professions of love (and studliness) that despite his uber-manly abs Im rather glad that I wasnt the one stuck with him in his swanky villa.

It wasnt just Cristianos romantic protestations that unnerved me, however. It was the fact that Cristiano is apparently so virile that one glance from him could bankrupt the global contraceptive industry, as poor Laurel finds out in record time. There must be something in that Sicilian water, because theres some serious super-sperm going on in this book.

In all, Once a Ferrara Wife'was a tad melodramatic for my tastes, and I suspect that it might have worked better as a short story or novelette than at its present length; I cant help but feel also that the backstory could also have been worked in in a way that still allowed the present day narrative to progress. It may have been that I was misled by the hilarious tagline (For betteror for bedding?) on the back of the book, but I was expecting something with a little more levity and a little less pregnancy, and I think this affected my overall reading experience.

Rating: star Book Review: Once a Ferrara Wife... by Sarah Morganstar Book Review: Once a Ferrara Wife... by Sarah Morganblankstar Book Review: Once a Ferrara Wife... by Sarah Morganblankstar Book Review: Once a Ferrara Wife... by Sarah Morganblankstar Book Review: Once a Ferrara Wife... by Sarah Morgan (okay)

With thanks to Mills & Boon UK for the review copy

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Other books by Sara Morgan:

angels in the snow sarah morgan Book Review: Once a Ferrara Wife... by Sarah Morganwish upon a star sarah morgan Book Review: Once a Ferrara Wife... by Sarah Morgansummer fling sarah morgan Book Review: Once a Ferrara Wife... by Sarah Morgan

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