Review | Villa Fortuna by Cat Gardiner

Posted April 30, 2016 / 2016, Reviews
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Review | Villa Fortuna by Cat GardinerLucky 13: Matchmaking and Misunderstandings by Cat Gardiner
Published by Vanity & Pride Press on October 29th 2014
Genres: JAFF, Modern Pride and Prejudice
Pages: 294
Format: e-book
Source: Purchased
Amazon US
Goodreads
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Dr. Elizabeth Fairchild lived an orderly and focused life in Los Angeles until …

an unexpected death, a questionable inheritance, and an eighty-year-old Mafia vendetta required a trip home to New York City’s Little Italy neighborhood in the Bronx. After thirteen years of running from her Italian-American upbringing, Elizabeth dreaded returning to the ethnic world of colorful hand gestures, passionate arguments, and living with her two stereotypical sisters in their rundown apartment above a bakery.

Her plan: get in, take care of business, celebrate Christmas, and then escape as quickly as possible. However, returning to the Bronx assailed the senses like her mother’s lasagna. She didn’t count on Italian pastry, homemade wine, a beauty parlor, and the enticement of a dashing plastic surgeon known as Michelangelo.

Will Elizabeth flee her childhood home where the foundation of faith and famiglia is so strong? Or will she stay and embrace all the traditions that once embarrassed her? Should she succumb or resist her elder sister’s admonishment,

“Your home is where your heart is, and we are your heart—marinara, cannolis, the church, and the family! The whole shebang!”

This book may be unsuitable for people under 18 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
 
 
I can’t believe I didn’t read this sooner! I’ve read Cat Gardiner’s other books, but this one is definitely my favorite. It has everything you could possibly want in a fun read—romance, a relatable protagonist, a lovable family, quirky neighbors, the most ridiculous antagonist, a gassy companion, and funny scenes.
 
Dr. Elizabeth Clemente Fairchild, born and raised in Arthur Avenue, Bronx a.k.a. Little Italy, returns from Los Angeles for the reading of her great aunt Maria’s will. Due to her several experiences in life, Elizabeth has distanced herself from her Italian-American roots, her family, and her hometown. With no intention of staying long-term in New York, Elizabeth is surprised to hear that she and her two other sisters were to inherit Villa Fortuna, a beautiful and profitable building in a hoity-toity neighborhood. To inherit Villa Fortuna and Great Aunt Maria’s other worldly possessions, the three sisters are to follow the stipulations given by their great aunt; the most important is their inability to sell Villa Fortuna.
 
Gina and Nikki Clemente, Elizabeth’s sisters, are on a mission to open a salon in Villa Fortuna, and Elizabeth reluctantly agrees to help. During her stay in New York, she is reacquainted with everything she’s ever run from—the hand gestures, the food, the men, and everything else Italian-American. 
 
The story revolves around Elizabeth’s homecoming and how she overcomes her shame and prejudice against her own culture and heritage, but what is a story without conflict? Stella Russo de Luca, a semi-retired realtor, claims that Villa Fortuna rightfully belongs to her family, and she is on a ruthless path to get it back. Coincidently, Stella is the grandmother of Dr. Michael Garin, a handsome plastic surgeon Elizabeth meets and eventually dates. 
 
Elizabeth is unaware of Mike’s connection to Stella and his interest in buying Villa Fortuna, and Mike is unaware of Elizabeth’s Italian-American heritage and her position as a co-owner of the priced building. And when they find out? More conflict. Thanks, Stella. 
 
I am not entirely familiar with Italian culture, but this book made me see a glimpse of what makes it good and easy to relate to and love—close family ties, love of food and life, the colorful and vibrant language, and the positive outlook.
 
Cat Gardiner’s voice is so humorous and entertaining! Her characters are unforgettable, and she writes her setting in a such a vivid image that it made me feel as if I was standing there, watching everything with my own eyes.
 
This book is definitely one of my favorites, and I’m pretty sure I’ll read this over and over again.
 
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