“This was my first read by Kate Hewitt, and overall I liked it.
What I liked:
*I liked that although Ana had some self-esteem issues, she was still a composed, confident woman in other ways. She had her own career, and she was making something out of her life, even if she felt that she would never be desirable to men and have marriage and children. She was a strong, admirable woman. I find it hard to believe that some men didn't find her attractive, but I guess it was the circles she ran in. And I loved that she was willing to wear her mother's wedding gown to make her father happy, even though it didn't suit her. That was a very sweet thing to do.
*I liked that she wasn't easily manipulated or fall into any traps that Vittorio might have laid out of desperation. She considered his marriage proposal carefully, and agreed for her own reasons.
*I was glad that Ana decided to get some different clothes for her own reasons, and not because Vittorio was browbeating her into it.
*Although Vittorio had some arrogant traits I didn't like, like his assumption that Ana would be so desperate to have a marriage proposal that it would be easy as pie to 'woo' her, he was a decent person. He was a little too quick to look at the surface (but he wouldn't be the first or last person with that shortcoming). I thought I would dislike him, but I found that I couldn't. I could see why he had his defense mechanisms of keeping people at an emotional distance. His parents did a real number on him, and I think he should have placed the blame equally on his mother and father.
* I really liked that Vittorio came to Ana at the end and apologized and admitted he loved her and his fears and weakness. I could see why Ana loved him in that moment.
*There was a poignant edge to this story that appealed to me, even though this story lacked that 'zing' that I wished for. I'm a bit of a sucker for that in books.
What I think could have been better
*I felt a bit of a distance from the story when I was reading. It's hard to put my finger on it. It's one of those things that really strikes me when I determine which Harlequin Presents are going to be complete winners and those that aren't. In this case, I liked the idea and some of the execution, but this book lacked the intensity that I like in a good HP novel. It wasn't that the love scenes weren't descriptive. That wasn't my problem. Actually, Ana and Vittorio had good chemistry. I just wanted to be more engaged emotionally in this story.
Considering that there was more that I liked about this than not, I think a four star rating is warranted. I will definitely read more by this author, but I hope that intense element is there in her other stories. With that going for this book, this could have been a knockout. However, this was a pleasant book and a good love story, and I'm glad I read it.