This book consists of four novellas (110-120 pages each) Each novella has its own hero and heroine but the characters of all of four novellas are related to each other and sometimes appear in the other three novellas. I enjoy reading this type of book a lot because the characters are real, likable, and inspiring; the stories have good messages about God and faith; and in this particular book, the author takes you to a different country. I think anyone who likes to read Christian Inspirational Fiction would enjoy this book.
I give this book 3.5 stars round up to 4 stars. I wish I could give it a higher score, but there were something that seemed a little off for me and while the writing was good, it didn't captivate and inspire me like others have in the past.
Here are the four stories broken down:
1. Silent Heart: (3 stars)
Poor Francoise's family has seen a lot of suffering, after escaping their home in France they run into a family that helps refugees. How fortunate! In this helping family, the son Stefano cares for Francoise. But has Francoise's heart closed because of all the tragedies her family has faced? Will she be able to trust another man after being betrayed? (In my humble opinion, the characters fell in love to early, it was practically love-at-first-sight. I guess I would have liked to seen more of a gradual love develop. In addition, it was a little depressing with all the tragedies and devastations, but I suppose that may be realistic to that time).
2.Both Sides of the Easel: (3.5 stars)
Bianca is a beautiful young lady and exceptionally talented in the field of art. While it is unusual for a woman to seek a profession in any field, Bianca desires to make a living by being an artist. Her friend, Marco, supports her in her choice and encourages her to seek her dream. Marco works odd jobs like a stonecutter or male model yet he is actually a marchese who has been usurped by his brother and is trying to find away to keep his mother and sister from a life of poverty. (I liked the stories of Bianca and Marco in this one. What I didn't like was Bianca's parents trying to force Bianca in an arranged marriage when they themselves married for love. In addition, Bianca's mother who used to be happy, talented, and strong in faith in this book seemed sad, broken, and unloving).
3. Forever is Not Long Enough: (4 stars)
Costanza Biliverti is finally restored to her castle, she has endured a difficult couple of years and there is more to come her way. How will she survive the attacks on her such as fire, abduction, sinister marriage proposals with her husband who died three years ago? Who can she trust to help her? (This would be my favorite story of the book, Costanza is an admirable and strong character).
4. Duel Love: (4 stars)
Albret is not nobility, yet he is betrothed to nobility. At first Albret is elated that he will be able to marry the one he loves even though he is not of her class. But then he sees that although he is intelligent, capable, and acts like nobility he needs to prove himself worthy to marry his fair signorina. Anabella (Albret's betrothed) has no problem with living in a simple carriage but Albret doesn't know this, he assumes that she wants a big villa surround by a lot of land. What will Albret to to prove himself worthy? Is he being too prideful? (Both Albret and Annabella were great characters to admire, I enjoyed the misunderstandings and resolutions these two endured).
This was a good read, I liked learning about the Renaissance and Italy, but I would have liked the author to explain and describe more of the customs and traditions she used in her story. I don't think I will be re-reading this book as I do other. I would recommend another book over this one. I recommend Regency Brides: The Vicar's Daughter/The Engagement/Remember Me (Heartsong Novella Collection): Three novellas that take place during the Regency time period in England.