Book Reviews

The Art of Deception (Choc Lit): A heart-warming love story by Liz Harris

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List Price: £1.99


Kindle Edition: 167 Pages.

Published: 28 November 2013 by Choc Lit



Jenny O’Connor can hardly believe her luck when she’s hired to teach summer art classes in Italy. Whilst the prospect of sun, sightseeing and Italian food is hard to resist, Jenny’s far more interested in her soon-to-be boss, Max Castanien. She’s blamed him for a family tragedy for as long as she can remember and now she wants answers.

But as the summer draws on and she spends more time with Max, she starts to learn first hand that there’s a fine line between love and hate.


3.0 Stars3.0 Stars3.0 Stars  by Anne

Art and crime in Italy

Jenny is an art teacher who gets a job in Italy on the estate of a rich man, Max. Her job is to run residential art courses to help him earn money to sustain the estate. She arrives early to set up and gets to know Max - then the participants arrive and she runs the courses. What Max doesn't know is that she is the daughter of a man with whom he was in business in the past and she blames him for her father's death - she has taken the job to try and get some sort of revenge on him although she hasn't quite worked out how.

The novel is great in its descriptions of rural Italy and the landscape (and the food) - the book certainly encourages you to visit the area. I also found the bits about the painting and how the participants develop across the week to be fascinating. The love between Max and Jenny develops slowly but well and we definitely feel the difficulties that Jenny has when she realises that she is falling for a man she feels that she should hate. The weakness in the book I felt was the plot. The whole revenge bit didn't ring true to me at all. I never felt that Jenny really knew what she was doing and why. It is difficult to imagine anyone hating someone else in the abstract (also - if Max was in business with her father wouldn't that make him a lot older than her ? Obviously not necessarily a problem but is her attraction to a father figure ?). I could just have swallowed this issue had it not been for a crime story that the author intermingles with the rest. I don't want to give any spoilers but suffice to say that it is very obvious to the reader what is going to happen even if Max and Jenny are oblivious and it is so out of step with the rest of the book that I felt that it rather jarred.

Some of this book was good but what I saw as the weaker elements rather reduced its attraction for me and I felt that it was pretty average overall.

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