Penny, having inherited a garage in the south of France, discovers that the situation is far more complex than anyone knows. In a stunning sequence of action, the author kept me riveted as mysterious secrets came to light in an endless flow of family history, hidden affairs, alternate bloodlines, art theft, and continual savvy comments on life in the modern age. Just when I thought there were no more surprises, the next one would pop up - whether in London, Paris, Rome, the French Riviera, or on the journey somewhere in between. In fact, this is as much a mystery as it is a romance, combining both in leaps and bounds that vary between hilarity and mortal danger, yet always hopeful and with good humour.
This is delightfully written, light-hearted and sharp, witty and sassy, rather more like a movie than a book. It wasn't just the happy ending that satisfied me - it was the thoroughly enjoyable process of getting there and seeing each scene through the author's imaginative eye. Landscapes, cities, countries spring out of the pages.
A nice, light book that was easy to read and very enjoyable. The characters felt real with very few of those traits that make some characters annoying and formulaic. Even the "villian" seemed like a person you could care for given the right circumstances.
Overall impression...meh. Interesting story, has some good moments, but I didn't feel like anything was "real." And before anyone gets on me about it being a work of fiction, I know that, I guess so it's more the fact that it didn't really draw me into the story, get invested in the characters, or feel like hey I know someone like Penny, overall the characters were a bit static. What also killed it for me a little was it went about 2-3 chapters (I can't quite remember) too long. There was a great ending, but then the author continued the story with stuff that I saw as unnecessary and didn't contribute to the story arc at all.
If you have some time to kill and nothing else laying around, it'll work.
Reviewed for www.ChickLitClub.com - If you love Chick Lit, join the club!
A Rather Lovely Inheritance and A Rather Curious Engagement, both by C.A. Belmond, are wonderful books chronicling the story of Penny Nichols (Yes, that's her real name!) Penny is a charming, sassy and smart character that you'll root for even when you know she's going to get herself in trouble. In the first novel, Penny, a historical filmmaker, is whisked away to London after her great aunt Penelope's death. To her surprise, Penny is left quite a bit of her great aunt's items. All is not perfect in Penny's world however, as she soon realizes that her wacky cousin, Rollo, may not be the nice guy he seems to be. Rollo is after her inheritance but Penny doesn't know why - he has been left his own share of things, seemingly more valuable than anything Penny was left. Eventually, with the help of her other cousin Jeremy, Penny finds that there is something else more valuable hidden somewhere within her inheritance that Rollo wants. With breathtaking settings in France's Cote De Azur, Italy and London, Penny and Jeremy's quest to find the mysterious item is suspenseful and filled with excitement, leading them to one of the biggest historical discoveries of current time! In sequel A Rather Curious Engagement, you'll once again find Penny and Jeremy getting themselves in over their heads as they try to splurge with a little bit of the money left by great aunt Penelope. It's just as much fun as the first novel - with a few unexpected twists and turns. Belmond's creative style gives both books a nice mix of romance, mystery and humor.