A Veil of Vines by Tillie Cole
Published by Indie on November 27, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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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 everything changed.
First of all, I want to say how much I love Tillie Cole and her books. For as long as I can read, if she writes it, I’m reading it.
Caresa comes from a legacy of Royals in Italy. Although she has been living in NYC for the majority of her life, she has always known that her duty was to one day go back home to Italy and marry so that their legacy continues on. She has always hoped that it wouldn’t happen but deep down she knew it would. When the current King dies and leaves his son to take over, Caresa is called back to Italy to carry out her duty and marry Prince Zeno, the soon to be King.
Prince Zeno has lived a pretty comfortable life while growing up and has quite the reputation as a ladies man. As he prepares for his new role as King, he is forced to be the lead in one of the main businesses that the family thrives on. Winemaking. Unfortunately, investors and the wine community are not impressed with him and he is struggling to keep the business going. When Caresa arrives for their “courting” period, Prince Zeno is hardly around. Only showing up for scheduled events. Of course, this sparks rumors and Caresa now has even more on her plate. Will she be able to overcome the rumors and marry Prince Zeno for the sake of her legacy or will something or someone put a big wrench in a plan that was set into motion years ago?
There is more to the story but I want you to go in and read it for yourself. As you can tell from the blurb, there is someone that comes into Caresa’s life and changes things up a bit. What I liked about that part is how much we see Achille grow from the first time we meet him until the end. He leads a simple life and has always dreamed of finding one true love like his father did. His “split-apart.”
“Everything he did, he did with such incredible intensity it was addictive. He didn’t speak much, but his actions displayed the kind of man he was. Honest and pure.”
What I enjoyed the most about this story was the process of the wine. I have been on several tours and even worked at a winery part time back in college so I’m pretty familiar with the process. I like that Tillie makes sure to give you enough background to really understand and appreciate the work that goes into it.
With that being said, there was something that held me back from fully embracing the story. While I liked it, I felt like something was missing. I found myself latching more on to the story about the wine process then I did with the evolving relationship between Caresa and Achille. I don’t know if it was because it felt like it was moving slowly in the beginning or if it was something else. I can’t really place it. This is absolutely a “it’s not you, it’s me” situation. Please don’t let this keep you from reading it. Despite those feelings, I did enjoy this book.
Overall, I liked this book. If you are looking for a hopefully romantic book between two people who are told by society that they shouldn’t be together yet the find a way to overcome it, then this is the book for you.
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.