Bethany House, Sep 2004, 12.99, 384 pp.
In New York, Nonna Antonia suffers a stroke and is unable to speak, but manages to ask her grandson Lance Mitchelli to go on a quest to find something, but he has no idea what it is. He travels to Liguria, Italy where Nonna's cousin Sister Anna is in a nunnery and she sends him to Sonoma, California in search of his Nonna's secrets in the villa she once lived in years ago.
Rese Barrett needs to prove to her deceased father that she can renovate the old villa into a B&B as well as any man could. Lance obtains a job as a cook/maid at the villa hiding his relationship to Nonna, a previous owner. As Rese and Lance work together, he searches for the secrets, but tries to hide his growing attraction to his employer who feels the same way. As they fall in love, he worries how she will react to his quest with each looking for heavenly intervention.
SECRETS is an engaging contemporary romance starring two wonderful lead protagonists (though Lance is too adept at seemingly everything) and a fine somewhat eccentric support cast. The story line is character driven as Rese and Lance do not want love, but cannot stop the feelings between them. Nonna's secrets will intrigue the audience as like Rese fans will become obsessed to know what she truly wants and hope he delivers it without hurting or losing Rese. The underlying message of this novel is that with God and love even an antihero can become a champion.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner