Pros: Love the sweeping family drama, the suspense, the small-town humor, and the hot hook-ups
Cons: Tone/type of plot didn’t entirely match the book cover, which was a little confusing
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group
Nine years ago, Noah Di Luca, youngest of the Di Luca boys, seemed to have it all. When Penelope Alonso scraped her way out of the ghettos and landed a plum internship with an interior designer in the area, she and Noah fell head over heels for each other. Then Noah’s secrets reared their ugly heads and he walked away, dumping Penelope without a word and leaving her devastated.
Now Penelope has returned, looking for answers to some of her own family questions since her mother died. She hopes she won’t recognized. She’s also hoping to avoid Noah. Of course neither hope lasts past checking in to her hotel and getting settled in. She doesn’t want to fall for him all over again and get her heart broken again. And he knows that just like last time, he can’t afford to let her anywhere near his dangerous secrets—secrets that could destroy the Di Lucas and their friends and allies.
(Cue half-hearted grumbling about how being a book reviewer sometimes means reading series all out of order, or only reading parts of them. Okay, back to my regularly-scheduled review.) Christina Dodd’s Betrayal: A Bella Terra Deception Novel (Scarlet Deception) follows Revenge at Bella Terra and Secrets at Bella Terra, which I have not read. They didn’t really look like my kind of book, which just bolsters the ol’ “don’t judge a book by its cover” saying while simultaneously making the argument that publishers really need to make sure covers indicate genre at least a little better. The lovely, classy-looking lady on the cover of Betrayal, gazing out into the distance as the wind ruffles her long hair, didn’t make me think suspense. Or action. Or anything other than a sort of sprawling novel of family and romance, which really isn’t entirely my kind of thing. But I read the back of it anyway, saw that it supposedly had all sorts of suspense aspects, and decided to read and review. Now I’m happy I did.
Although I jumped in with book three, I found it oddly easy to keep up with what was going on—despite the huge cast of characters. It helped that each character felt whole and unique; I never found myself confusing one with another.
The sweeping family drama was fun; it certainly suited the cover of the book. The characters are interesting, with plenty of small-town gossip and quirky personalities to keep things moving.
The action and suspense aspects were rather enjoyable; they weren’t the meat of the book (obviously, or I expect the cover of the book would have made it a little more obvious), but there was plenty of tension to go around. I don’t want to get into spoilers, but I will say that Noah’s secrets, when they came out, felt a little oddly out of place within the feel of the rest of the book. That said, they were handled very well.
I should have known, even though it’s been a while since I read a book by Christina Dodd, that no matter the genre (or apparent genre), there’d be plenty of sizzling, tense fun to go around!