Wednesday, February 5, 2020

#BookReview – “The Scarletti Curse” by Christine Feehan


The Beast
Strange, twisted carvings and hideous gargoyles adorned the palazzo of the great Scarletti family. But a still more fearful secret lurked within its storm-tossed turrets. For every bride who entered its forbidding walls was doomed to leave in a casket.

The Bride
Mystical and unfettered, Nicoletta had no terror of ancient curses and no fear of marriage...until she looked into the dark, mesmerizing eyes of Don Scarletti. She had sworn no man would command her, had thought her gift of healing set her apart, but his was the right to choose a bride from among his people. And he had chosen her.

The Bargain
Compelled by duty, drawn by desire, she gave her body into his keeping, and prayed the powerful, tormented don would be her heart's destiny, and not her soul's demise.


Nicoletta possesses a strange, magical healing ability, so the people in her small Italian village always call on her for aid and protect her from outsiders. After Nicoletta is summoned to an aristocrat’s manor, known as the Palazzo de Morte (the Palace of Death) by the villagers, she and her mentor Maria Pia attend a sick child and the devilishly handsome don himself.
Don Giovanni Scarletti has watched Nicoletta from afar, wanting her but knowing he can never have her because of his family’s curse. Several women have died in mysterious ways at the palazzo over the years, and Giovanni knows something is terribly wrong with his household and the men in his family. He fears taking a bride but finally gives in to temptation. As the don, he has the legal right to marry whomever he chooses, so he takes a very unwilling Nicoletta home with him.
Nicoletta is both strong and smart, and also carefree. She’s only 17, after all. Giovanni is resigned to living with the curse but also determined to keep Nicoletta from danger, which proved difficult. He’s ten to twelve years older than her.
For most of the book, Nicoletta and Giovanni barely talked. Since she feared him and at times believed he was capable of great violence, she felt torn between her fear and her attraction to him, and she rarely demanded answers to her questions even though she was in constant danger. Giovanni kept his distance from her because he was constantly busy dealing with assassination attempts and battling Spanish forces, but he was extremely jealous when she would laugh and talk with his brothers and the guards he assigned to protect her. Once they got married, they finally started talking and getting to know one another. Their attraction bloomed quickly and love followed.
The scenery was breathtaking—the ornate palazzo and hedge maze, the rolling hills and trees, and the sea and caves—everything was detailed and described. I’m not sure when the story is set, but I think it was in the 1300s since the Black Death was mentioned.
The story was told mostly from the heroine’s POV, but often strayed into many other characters POV. There are some surprising typos that took me out of the story. Overall, I like it, but I really wish the H/h had spent more time together falling in love before they were married.
3.5 Stars

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