Lake Como is absolute pure fantasy. Hallie Elliot lives a pretty sweet life in San Francisco: she's an interior designer in a high-profile firm, her grandmother is one of the elite society members, and she's in love with Peter, a journalist who worships the ground she walks on and is perfect for her. Only thing is, she's waiting for a ring.
One night, Hallie sees Peter in a compromising position with her boss, and her world crumbles. What was a certainty now seems unclear. Peter insists nothing happened, and when he proposes, Hallie turns him down. She just can't get past the mistrust. Opportunity to escape arrives from her family in Italy. Her half-sister Portia has left her cheating husband, and Portia's father and grandmother have asked Hallie to come to Lake Como and the family villa to help Portia get back together with her husband. The Tesoro name is old, moneyed, and well-respected. Portia can't cause a scandal.
Hallie arrives in Lake Como, ready for a break from Peter and her life in San Francisco. She soon finds herself hired to design an art space for the very rich and reclusive owner of a beautiful villa on Lake Como. She meets Angus, the caretaker of the estate, and sparks fly (reluctantly on Hallie's part). Will she stay in Italy for good? What about Peter? Just how many designer dresses can she wear in one season?
Oh, there's more to the story, of course. It's pretty easy to figure out the plot, and there are no surprises. This novel is full of the high life, beautiful people, glamorous villas, and impeccable fashion. It's a life that is very far from Iowa in December. But that is what makes it fun--and I've discovered another author who will be perfect for summer vacations, long weekends during the chill of winter, and a great go-to for anyone who likes contemporary women's fiction with a dash of sophistication and romance. I will read more of Anita Hughes' books and will definitely pass them onto my friends.
Rating: 6/10 for a novel that provided a dose of escapism with a light plot, enjoyable characters, and a happy ending for all.
Available in paperback and e-book.