My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Twenty-seven-year-old Lance Michelli and his Nonna have a deep connection in Secrets, Book one of Kristen Heitzmann’s Michelli Family Series. That’s why when Nonna has a stroke and can no longer talk, Lance is still able to understand something of what she wants. It has to do with righting a family wrong–a mission that takes him eventually from New York to Sonoma California and the estate that the family once owned.
Twenty-four-year-old Rese Barrett has recently bought that property and is renovating it as only this female protege of a construction-company-owning-father knows how. She is going to turn it into a B&B–her last renovation project ever. Though her deep love for working with wood hasn’t lessened, it’s too painful to continue in the line of work that so brutally snatched her dad.
Lance manages to convince Rese to hire him on as a cook, entertainer (he’s also a musician), and jack-of-all trades in helping to finish the reno. With full run of the property, he unearths all kinds of family-related baggage but not before his relationship with Rese develops way beyond what he planned.
For her part, Rese is a tough nut to crack, but once charmer Lance has her in his spell, she becomes an unwitting temptress, challenging Lance’s Christian standards on more than one occasion.
The book is beautifully written. The characters are complex and loveable despite their faults. Lance struggles with his Christian faith in a believable way but is a truly warm, caring guy, even though the fallout from his lack of limits in some areas (there is a lot of kissing and other touching) seems to surprise him.
The questions still unanswered at the end of Secrets make the description of Unforgotten (Book 2 in the series) awfully inviting: “Unforgotten returns … to the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx where Nonna Antonia hopes to find peace. Instead she learns that what she thought she knew was only a shadow of the truth…”
I got Secrets as a free Kindle download. As of this writing, it’s still free, so go and check it out!