But for some, these frivolous fancies are truth.
For some, they are real life.
On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, people have always treated me as someone special. All because of my ancestral name and legacy. All because of a connection I share to our home country’s most important family of all.
I am Caresa Acardi, the Duchessa di Parma. A blue blood of Italy. I was born to marry well. And now the marriage date is set.
I am to marry into House Savona. The family that would have been the royals had Italy not abolished the monarchy in 1946. But to the aristocrats of my home, the abolition means nothing at all.
The Savonas still hold power where it counts most.
In our tight-knit world of money, status and masked balls, they are everything and more.
And I am soon to become one of them.
I am soon to become Prince Zeno Savona’s wife…
… or at least I was, until I met Achille.
And everything changed.
As my papa’s G5 began its descent, I looked out of the window beside me and waited for the plane to break through the clouds. I held my breath, body tense, then suddenly the burnt-orange remnants of daylight flooded the plane, bathing the interior with a soft, golden glow. I inhaled deeply. Italia.
Fields and fields of green and yellow created a patchwork quilt below, rolling hills and crystal-blue lakes stretching as far the eye could see. I smiled as a sense of warmth ran through me.
It was the most beautiful place on earth.
Sitting back in my wide cream leather chair, I closed my eyes and tried to prepare myself for what was coming. I was flying to Florence airport, from where I would be swiftly taken to the Palazzo Savona estate just outside of the city.
I would meet Prince Zeno.
I had met him twice before—once when I was four, of which I had no memory, and again when I was ten. The interaction we’d had as children had been brief. If I was being honest, I had found Zeno to be arrogant and rude. He had been thirteen at the time and not at all interested in meeting a ten-year-old girl from America.
Neither of us had known at the time that that our betrothal had been agreed upon two years prior. It turned out that the trip my papa had taken to Umbria when I was eight was to secure a forever-bond between the Savonas and the Acardis. King Santo and my father had planned for their only children to marry. They were already joined in business; Zeno’s arranged marriage to me would also strengthen both families’ place in society.
I thought back on my New York farewell of nine hours ago and sighed. My parents had driven me to the private hangar and said their goodbyes. My mama cried—her only child was leaving her for a new life. My papa, although sad to see me go, beamed at me with the utmost pride. He had held me close and whispered, “I have never been more proud of you than I am right now, Caresa. Savona Wines’ stock has plummeted since Santo’s death. This union will reassure all the shareholders that our business is still strong. That we are still a stable company with Zeno at the helm.”
I had given him a tight smile and boarded the plane with a promise that they would see me before the wedding. And that had been that.
I was to marry Zeno, and I hadn’t protested even once. I imagined to most modern-day women living in New York, the process of arranged marriages sounded positively medieval, even barbaric. For a blue blood, it was simply a part of life.
King Santo Savona died two months ago. The shareholders of his many Italian vineyards, the stakeholders in Savona Wines, had expected his son, Zeno, to immediately step up and take charge. Instead, Zeno had plunged himself into the party scene even harder than before—and that was quite a feat. Within weeks my papa had flown out to Umbria to see what could be done.
The answer: our imminent union.
After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.
Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.
Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.
When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.
“Mi amore per sempre…”
A Veil of Vines is an extraordinary stand-alone contemporary romance by one of my all time favorite authors Tillie Cole. Set in Italy, the epic tale of Caresa and Achille is one that you will never forget!
“I felt like telling them there was nothing to envy.”
Caresa Acardi is the Duchessa di Parma. She is a member of an Italian royal family. Even though the official titles have gone away with the modern age, the blue blood Italian aristocracy still holds true to tradition. At a young age, Caresa was betrothed to marry Prince Zeno of the House of Savona. Leaving her Manhattan home, she flies to Italy to marry her prince.
“As I closed my eyes, tiredness sneaking in, I found myself picturing a pair of large, kind brown eyes, and a soft, gentle laugh catching on the breeze.”
Zeno and Caresa’s father manage the family’s wine business. When Caresa arrives in Italy, Zeno and Caresa meet, and Zeno is quick to leave her at the vineyard estate while he travels. With a few months before the marriage, it gives Caresa time to explore. Caresa befriends one of the winemakers and discovers a friend that will change her life forever. As time passes, Caresa and Achille spend their days making wine, riding horses, and connecting. When Caresa discovers her feelings for Achille are so much stronger than friendship, a line is crossed. Can Caresa turn her back on her family responsibilities to be with the man she loves?
“I kissed every patch of her skin, stroked every strand of her hair. We savored each second, nothing rushed, everything unhurried.”
Told in dual POV, A Veil of Vines is romantic and sexy read full of passion. The characters are complex, and this contemporary romance is reminiscent of a beautiful fairy tale. I loved the diversity between Zeno and Achille. Caresa is a strong heroine as she battles with her devotion to her family commitments and her desire to be with Achille. The natural writing is full of vibrant colors as this twisted tale unfolds. I was glued to my Kindle and enjoyed every single solitary moment.
With wine, Italy, and romance, Tillie Cole has created a sensational story full of tenderness, passion, and the importance of family. A Veil of Vines is an absolute must read!
*ARC graciously provided via ARDENT PROSE in exchange for an honest review!*