Review by Veronica

Series Name: Romantic Escapes, # 11

 “He suddenly wanted to lean down and kiss her — just to see what her reaction would be, of course, nothing more. Because Lia really wasn’t his type. He preferred glossy, sophisticated women who were cool and contained, or at least… he always had done in the past…”

A Villa with a View is another captivating installment in the Romantic Escapes series.

Lia Bathurst had always dreamed of escaping to the white sandy beaches and turquoise blue seas of the Amalfi coast – but that dream hadn’t included meeting her real father. A father she had never even known about until a few weeks ago! Yet here she was, standing outside the gates of a gorgeous pink villa being refused entry by the insufferable – and insufferably handsome – Raphael Knight, her father’s business manager.

When an old black and white photo proves Lia’s claim to be true, Raph is determined to make sure this stranger, with her long caramel waves and infectious smile, doesn’t have an ulterior motive. Even if that means not letting her out of his sight.

As temperatures rise, and not just from the heat of the Mediterranean sun, could Lia and Raph’s forced proximity lead to something more like… amore?

Get ready to be swept off your feet with this charming romantic story. Julie knows how to transport her readers to whatever location her books are set in. This time, we get to go to the Amalfi Coast. I am always amazed at how masterfully Julie can bring a location to life with her writing. I felt like I was transported to the Amalfi Coast and was exploring this breathtaking place with Lia. This story immerses you, and you don’t want to leave. This book is chalked-full of lush and vivid descriptions, and the people and culture just come to life as you read the story. If that wasn’t amazing enough, this book also bursts with delicious food talk. We all know that Italy is known for its fantastic food, and Julie had my mouth watering with all the wonderful food descriptions she put into her book. There is also a theme around the importance of food and bringing people together. Food is meant to be enjoyed and savoured with those you love. Lia is a textile artist and her passion for art leaps from the pages. You can visualize the pieces she is creating in your mind, and you just can’t help but be captivated by what she is making.

This story has all those wonderful characteristics that I have come to expect from Julie’s storytelling. When you read this book, you will get a warm and charming romance with authentic and relatable characters. This book has plenty of fluff and laughter, but Julie also shows her readers how complex families can be. Lia has travelled to the Amalfi Coast to meet her biological father. A man she didn’t know existed until she had done a DNA test a few months prior. Her mom tells her that she had a short relationship with Ernesto Salvatore (who is now a very famous actor) and that he is her father. Lia’s mother decided when Lia was a baby that it would be best if Ernesto wasn’t in her life. Her mother’s decision hurts Lia, and she feels like she doesn’t know where she belongs. I really loved how Julie handled this delicate family situation. Ernesto and his wife and children welcome Lia with open arms and hearts. There was none of that toxic drama or blaming others for what happened in the past. There is just warmth and happiness that comes from the Salvatore family. They are a crazy, loud, quirky group that just embraces life. I loved being with this family; they had me laughing at times, and I loved how they embraced Lia as one of their own. The whole family element of this book just captured my heart and was so charming.  

Lia is a bit of a free spirit. She is delightful and a master at her craft. For most of this book, she is feeling untethered. She doesn’t know where she belongs. She feels like an outsider and doesn’t fit in with either of her families. It was great watching her build these new relationships with her father, step-mom, and step-siblings and learning to forgive her mom and step-dad. I just really liked her character. She is a good person, and you can’t help but want great things for her. Raph was an interesting character. He had these two sides. One was VERY distrusting of anyone outside of his family, and the other was kind and sweet. For most of the book, Raph distrusts Lia and doesn’t believe that her motives for reconnecting with her father are pure. He thinks she is using her father’s vast movie star influence to help her career or looking for money. His distrust is the major conflict between these two and the main reason why the growing relationship between Raph and Lia is so rocky. As much as it is frustrating that Raph isn’t willing to trust Lia, as the story progresses, you start to understand why he is so hesitant to trust anyone.

The romance is sweet and slightly spicy. This is a great love story for anyone who loves vacation romances, forced proximity, meddling family members, enemies to lovers, opposites attract, and grumpy sunshine. Lia and Raph know right from the beginning that there is this attraction bubbling between them. The banter between these two for the first half of the book is sharp and prickly. They love keeping each other on their toes and doing things to get a rise out of the other. It is pure enemies to lovers’ goodness.

A Villa with a View is a breathtaking vacation romance that has me wanting to pack my bags and fly to the Amalfi Coast.

Thank you, Harper Collins UK and Rachel Random Resources, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.