Title: A Veil of Vines
Author: Tillie Cole
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 28th November, 2016
To most people, princes, princesses, counts and dukes are found only in the pages of the most famous of fairytales. Crowns, priceless jewels and gilded thrones belong only in childhood dreams.
But for some, these frivolous fancies are truth.
For some, they are real life.
On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, people have always treated me as someone special. All because of my ancestral name and legacy. All because of a connection I share to our home country’s most important family of all.
I am Caresa Acardi, the Duchessa di Parma. A blue blood of Italy. I was born to marry well. And now the marriage date is set.
I am to marry into House Savona. The family that would have been the royals had Italy not abolished the monarchy in 1946. But to the aristocrats of my home, the abolition means nothing at all.
The Savonas still hold power where it counts most.
In our tight-knit world of money, status and masked balls, they are everything and more.
And I am soon to become one of them.
I am soon to become Prince Zeno Savona’s wife…
… or at least I was, until I met Achille.
And then everything changed.
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Kindle Friends Forever
Four ★ Review by Sharon Thérèse
Ms Cole never ceases to amaze me with her talented and versatile writing. Her latest offering takes on the semblance of a fairytale conjuring up sublimely picturesque images. Not only did the beautifully described scenery take my breath away, but having had the pleasure of savouring Italy’s wine and its delicacies was like revisiting the regions of Umbria and Tuscany once again. I consider myself to be quite a knowledgeable wine drinker, so therefore you can imagine my surprise while reading the author’s detailed account of the traditional wine-making process which I might add, is extremely well told.
That being said, House of Savona where the protagonists’ make-believe story of aristocratic grandeur is narrated in modern day is just perhaps, not so inconsequential as we think. One has to live up to their titles and personal choices regarding future spouses are few and far between. Accepting her destiny, Caresa Acardi leaves her loved ones behind and starts her new life. For someone who’s used to having everything, I was delighted to see that there’s much more to her than what I’d had originally thought at the beginning of the story. Her love for the countryside and her outgoing personality bowled me over. She’s honest, curious and well aware that her place in such a tight-knit society is not up for discussion. Ah, but what meets the eye and what one wants to see is completely different. Rules of the heart are indisputably unquestionable!
“There is no need for false modesties, Caresa. I’m very much of the opinion that we should always say exactly what we think. In private, of course. We both have reputations to protect.”
My first impression of Prince Zeno wasn’t at all positive. I found his finicky ways and attitude comparable with that of a spoilt child. Since he’d been given free rein to do virtually what he wanted, I found his persona a tad shallow. Even the art of manly etiquette which I assumed he’d be an expert in, had its failures. Now to be married to the Duchessa di Parma, is he going to be able to change his philandering ways? Despite disliking this impeccably dressed heir to the family’s name, my opinion of him changed a hundred percent when the cat was let out of the bag. I thought his standoffishness appropriate considering he was out of his depth in certain aspects and I couldn’t fault the author’s development of his persona. But regardless of my feelings for him, the part he played was crucial and added that touch of uneasiness.
“Were you jealous?”
“Not a little bit.”
Ooh my, deary me. . . Achille Marchesi! Now we’re talking about a quintessential character who, if it were ever possible, I would love to meet. He is simply beautiful. A heart of gold and a love for everything that nature has to offer, he’s also the best ever expert in his forte. Tillie, you have hit his qualities on the nail to such an extent that I can honestly say you made me cry like a babe in some touching scenes. I do so appreciate how you’ve gone to extremes with his personality traits and even before summing up this review, I have to say BRAVO for giving me such utter pleasure whilst reading his story! Tenderness abounds, comprehension takes first place and Achille is just simply perfect in all his simplicity. He quickly became my Achilles’ heel! There was never one moment when I had to struggle to understand exactly how he felt. While trying to overcome his personal obstacles, I lived his pain and his vulnerability. In all his correctness and his worth, strong emotions were brought out in him, Caresa and myself included when I thought how on earth he was going to come out of the whole situation unscathed.
“It was never my intention to make you unhappy, Caresa,”
“I know.” “But it was never your power to make me happy either. That honor belonged to someone else. It was written in the stars, way before you were born.”
This magical story is low on angst, easy to foretell and a fitting read for young adults. A twist which I had my suspicions about, gave me all those heartfelt sensations I needed and hopefully you’ll be left taken aback like I was but at the same time, satisfied. Told in past tense from the two main protagonists points of view, I really would have loved more from one of the characters who, at the end of the day, made everything possible. Their final decision was in my book, something to be proud of. Putting it lightly, I was chuffed. Ms Cole brought her characters’ virtues, values and faults out in multicolour. The music accompanying this story couldn’t have been better chosen in an Italian love story which hinders on a Shakespearean tragedy in more ways than one. Where were some of my favourite composers? HERE! Maybe a playlist would be asking too much but nevertheless, once you’ve read this story and taken into consideration how important every song sung by Boccelli is or how every Vivaldi Four Seasons concerto is expressed, all you have to do is make up you minds. Once again Ms Cole, BRAVO!
As my papa’s G5 began its descent, I looked out of the window beside me and waited for the plane to break through the clouds. I held my breath, body tense, then suddenly the burnt-orange remnants of daylight flooded the plane, bathing the interior with a soft, golden glow. I inhaled deeply. Italia.
Fields and fields of green and yellow created a patchwork quilt below, rolling hills and crystal-blue lakes stretching as far the eye could see. I smiled as a sense of warmth ran through me.
It was the most beautiful place on earth.
Sitting back in my wide cream leather chair, I closed my eyes and tried to prepare myself for what was coming. I was flying to Florence airport, from where I would be swiftly taken to the Palazzo Savona estate just outside of the city.
I would meet Prince Zeno.
I had met him twice before—once when I was four, of which I had no memory, and again when I was ten. The interaction we’d had as children had been brief. If I was being honest, I had found Zeno to be arrogant and rude. He had been thirteen at the time and not at all interested in meeting a ten-year-old girl from America.
Neither of us had known at the time that that our betrothal had been agreed upon two years prior. It turned out that the trip my papa had taken to Umbria when I was eight was to secure a forever-bond between the Savonas and the Acardis. King Santo and my father had planned for their only children to marry. They were already joined in business; Zeno’s arranged marriage to me would also strengthen both families’ place in society.
I thought back on my New York farewell of nine hours ago and sighed. My parents had driven me to the private hangar and said their goodbyes. My mama cried—her only child was leaving her for a new life. My papa, although sad to see me go, beamed at me with the utmost pride. He had held me close and whispered, “I have never been more proud of you than I am right now, Caresa. Savona Wines’ stock has plummeted since Santo’s death. This union will reassure all the shareholders that our business is still strong. That we are still a stable company with Zeno at the helm.”
I had given him a tight smile and boarded the plane with a promise that they would see me before the wedding. And that had been that.
I was to marry Zeno, and I hadn’t protested even once. I imagined to most modern-day women living in New York, the process of arranged marriages sounded positively medieval, even barbaric. For a blue blood, it was simply a part of life.
King Santo Savona died two months ago. The shareholders of his many Italian vineyards, the stakeholders in Savona Wines, had expected his son, Zeno, to immediately step up and take charge. Instead, Zeno had plunged himself into the party scene even harder than before—and that was quite a feat. Within weeks my papa had flown out to Umbria to see what could be done.
The answer: our imminent union.
One winner gets a Signed Copy of A Veil of Vines + Limited-Edition The Future Mrs. Marchesi T-Shirt
Tillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.
After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.
Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.
Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.
When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.