Kate was an American who was married off to an Italian count. Their marriage was extremely unhappy, and when her husband dies, Kate is left with nothing but a run-down old villa. The nearby villagers despise her because she is a Donati, even if it is only by marriage. She is attracted to Roberto, her brooding, handsome worker, but he seems to be hiding a secret.
This report prepared by Rebecca Herman
Love Spell, May 2002, 5.99, 384 pp.
Contessa Caterina Donati hated her life as a paragon of Boston Brahmin behavior because all her wealth and social standing left her lonely. Her father simply did not care what happened to her. Her blue-blooded spouse was abusive in his better moments.
With the death of her husband, Kate leaves for Tuscan, Italy to restore her spouse's villa to the magnificence it once displayed. Her undergoing seems Herculean her changing her life makes the task more difficult. The villagers refuse to help, detesting the Donati family for closing the fields and deserting them five years ago. When Kate is ready to quit and return beaten to Boston, Roberto Vela offers to help her. As they begin to fall in love, Roberto with his own troubled past asserts she is too good for him as she is an aristocrat and he insists he is just a peasant. However, questionable accidents occur leaving Kate to wonder if Roberto wants her to fail.
THE GROTTO is gothic romance at its brooding atmospheric best though the tale remains inside the sub-genre box. The locale is perfect and Roberto is the ideal gothic hero while Kate is the perfect female protagonist. Though not quite the typical virgin she shares many of the same characteristics as one. The villain's actions remain a secret that Evelyn Rogers never reveals, but as she did with DEVIL IN THE DARK, the author provides a tale that sub-genre fans will enjoy. Hopefully, her western romance readers will want to read her excellent gothic and see how versatile Ms Rogers really is.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner