Book Title: Loving Lucianna: A Hearts in Autumn Romance
Author: Joyce DiPastena
Category: Adult fiction, 223 pages
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Sable Tyger Books
Published: October 11, 2014
FTC, FYI: I received a review e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
About the Book:
Sir Balduin de Soler gave up long ago on love. He never had the means to support a wife until an unexpected advancement in his fifties allows him to reassess his future just as the lovely Lucianna enters his life.
Lucianna Fabio harbors a secret, painful memory from her past that has kept her unwed, as well. Now in her forties, she thought herself too old to marry until she meets Sir Balduin. Now suddenly their lonely autumn lives feel very much like spring again . . . until Lucianna’s brother appears without warning and threatens to revive the secret that will destroy Lucianna’s second chance at love.
Loving Lucianna is the first in Joyce DiPastena’s new “Hearts in Autumn” romance series, medieval romances revolving around heroes and heroines “in the autumn of their years.” Because you’re never too old to fall in love!
Lucianna gazed down at the three silver needles bedded against the red silk lining of the tiny but beautifully carved casket that held them, and nearly burst into tears. In the house of Siri’s first husband, a wealthy Venetian merchant, she had usually embroidered with needles of iron or bronze. These must have been shockingly expensive. Even with his prominent position in Triston’s household, the pins must have cost months of Sir Balduin’s pay. He still looked a little pale as he waited for her response, as though he had not quite recovered from the massive loss of his coins, but he also looked touchingly hopeful that they would please her.
Please her? No man had ever given her a finer gift. These would make her threads slide through cloth like butter.
Her lips trembled to thank him in the sweetest way for a couple in love, with a kiss that forgave everything in the past and promised only bliss in their future. But even as her feet quivered to carry her into Sir Balduin’s arms, Serafino spoke from where he gazed at the gift over her shoulder.
“There, you see, cara? You have been cross for no good reason. Today Sir Balduin lavishes silver needles on you. Tomorrow it will be gold threads for your embroidery and silk gowns for you to wear and black pepper at every meal, imported all the way from Venice.”
Lucianna shrank at her brother’s words. They were only a reminder of the poison he would pour into her marriage if she allowed the needles to melt her heart, as she had the sweet posy of flowers Sir Balduin had brought her after she had rebuked him for missing dinner.
She snapped the pretty little casket shut. “All I see is a man who expects me to sew my fingers to the bone for him. Shirts, hats—no doubt he will even want embroidery on his shoes!” She shoved the casket back into Sir Balduin’s hands. “No. I will not live my life as a drudge, just to wipe away the shame of never being a wife. Take him away, Serafino, out of my sight!”
She tried to slam the door of her bedchamber, but Serafino, who had stepped into the corridor outside to view the needles, stuck his foot on the threshold and blocked it from closing.
“Signore,” he said with a reassuring smile at Sir Balduin, “you must not heed her. I’m afraid I carelessly reminded her this morning that she is no spring maid as I sought to laud her good fortune in winning the favor of so generous a knight as yourself, but she took my remarks quite amiss. See, Lucianna, how I was right to praise him, though. You will lack for no luxury as his wife, while all he asks in return is to show off a bit of your fine embroidery to his friends. Be reasonable, cara.”
Lucianna determined to be anything but. If nagging and scolding and peevish rebukes had failed to break Sir Balduin’s affection for her, then she must leave him in no doubt that his “insulting gift” had broken hers.
It’s always a treat to run away from my troubles and escape in a lovely romance written by Joyce DiPastena. It makes the journey even better when you can revisit characters that you loved from Joyce’s other books.
Readers first met Lucianna in Illuminations Of The Heart as she was a minor character in Siri and Triston’s love story. Lucianna always intrigued me as I wondered why she acted the way she did. You knew that she had to have had a hard and painful past. This difficult past is the mystery that comes storming out in the middle of Loving Lucianna. The book starts with the serene picture of an “Autumn Romance” between Lucianna in her forties and Sir Balduin in his early fifties. As someone who fits into that age bracket, it was refreshing to read about a romance between people not in their teens or twenties. Of course it couldn’t stay perfect and wonderful too long because soon, Lucianna’s past comes to haunt her once again. Her older,half-brother Serifino, shows up to cause trouble and continue his blackmail of his sister. Serifino is a well- written fiend that readers will love to hate. Readers will be incensed as they “watch” Serifino manipulate every situation and person within his reach.
I’ll not be giving away any more details now, but there will be many misunderstandings, deceptions and some very humorous scenes before this story plays itself out, leading to some sigh-worthy moments. Loving Lucianna is a must read for all of Joyce’s fan’s and for those wanting to read a clean medieval romance. I’m very excited to read more books in the “Hearts in Autumn Romance” series.
Buy Loving Lucianna now in ebook format from these booksellers:
Amazon Paperback and Kindle
Barnes and Noble Nook
Praise for Joyce DiPastena’s Books:
“Illuminations of the Heart was truly superb. I was hooked by the first line, and in love with the hero by the third page.”
— Donna Hatch, Author of The Stranger She Married
“Loyalty’s Web took me on a journey into the twelfth century that I will not soon forget. A tale of intrigue, manipulation, lust and conflict, this book was exquisitely written and showed how love can defy any evil that comes against it.”
–You Gotta Read Reviews
“Every story I read, written by Joyce DiPastena, makes me fall in love with this time period more and more. Medieval France is brought to life again, in this story about the fair maiden, Mathilde, and her handsome knight, Etienne.”
— Sheila Staley, LDS Women’s Book Reviews
Meet the author:
Joyce DiPastena dreamed of green medieval forests while growing up in the dusty copper mining town of Kearny, Arizona. She filled her medieval hunger by reading the books of Thomas B. Costain (where she fell in love with King Henry II of England), and later by attending the University of Arizona where she graduated with a degree in history, specializing in the Middle Ages. The university was also where she completed her first full-length novel…set, of course, in medieval England. Later, her fascination with Henry II led her to expand her research horizons to the far reaches of his “Angevin Empire” in France, which became the setting of her first published novel, Loyalty’s Web (a 2007 Whitney Award Finalist).
Joyce is a multi-published, multi-award winning author who specializes in sweet medieval romances heavily spiced with mystery and adventure. She lives with her two cats, Clio and Glinka Rimsky-Korsokov, in Mesa, Arizona.
Connect with Joyce: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter