Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Italian Marriage: In Name Only

Antonio Cavelli's father has agreed to retire and hand over the family company to him when he produces a wife and child. Victoria Heart owns a restaurant on property that Antonio is trying to purchase. He agrees to pay for her to relocate her restaurant if she will agree to marry him, thus providing him with a ready made family.

The innumerable reasons category romance heros come up with to persuade women to marry them will never cease to amaze me. Why don't handsome millionaires ever offer me marriages of convenience? I swear I wouldn't be offended the way most heroines are. Victoria is angry at the proposal, and deeply suspicious of Antonio's motives (which he does not disclose to her) even after his assurances that he doesn't expect the marriage to be consummated. Well, no woman wants to be told with absolute assurance by a hunky man that she doesn't need to worry about him wanting to have sex with her so I guess that's fair enough.

Antonio is very bitter towards his father who was a serial adulterer. He knows his father wants him to have a son to carry on the family name and genes, so he decides to meet his requirement of producing a wife and child by presenting a wife with a son who is no blood relation to himself. He genuinely sees the marriage as a simple business deal and doesn't want to confuse things with actually getting involved with Victoria. Nevertheless he does promise her that he won't be unfaithful to her for as long as their marriage lasts, which I found very honourable. Considering the fact that he doesn't intend to have sex with her, many other heros would continue sleeping with other women and merely promise to be "discreet" about it. Not Antonio, and this alone raised him so high in my estimation that I would have forgiven him much.  There wasn't really anything to forgive though. He's generally a nice guy who is wary of commitment. He saw how much his father hurt his mother and himself and he doesn't want to do that to anyone. What a refreshing hero! He's not bitter and cynical about women and he's never cruel to Victoria. I really, really liked him.

Victoria plays the Ugly Duckling heroine, starting out plain in dumpy clothes and overlarge glasses, and miraculously transforming into a swan with the assistance of designer clothing and contact lenses. Of course Antonio suspected from the beginning that her shapeless clothes and unflattering hairstyle were hiding a hottie. What I liked about Victoria's transformation is that she does it herself and not even deliberately. She gets the opportunity to dress up for a party, so she does. That's all there is to it.

Overall I enjoyed this book. It wasn't mind-blowingly fabulous, but it was definitely a nice read.

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