Welcome to another installment of Late Night Reading!
This evening, I had the immense pleasure of reading and reviewing the brand new release from Veronica Hardy entitled Riveted: For Love of a Soldier.
Veronica sets us up in the middle of World War II America, where a tantalizingly curvy riveter named Ava Dunn finds herself pursued - and pursuing - an Italian-American Army officer, Lieutenant Angelo Mascotti. Amidst their burgeoning love affair is the uncertainty of the direction of the war, Angelo's intentions, and even Ava's future. It's a complicated tale made delightfully simple by Veronica's romantic optimism and the characters' headlong plunge into each other (quite literally, in one scene!).
Sounds good, doesn't it? Let's break it down after the jump!
I love historical fiction of any kind, romance and erotic romance is included. Veronica really did her homework on this one, and she is able to drop you into a setting from seventy years ago and make it seem current. Even though most of us know what lies ahead for the pair (as far as the big picture goes, anyway), I found myself caring about their journey to get to that predetermined destination of Hitler's fall. Although these troubles seem so far away, Veronica also does a good job of making the threat seem imminent and real, which it was for the majority of Americans during those years.
There is one scene in particular I must mention, wherein Ava is attending a party. Veronica establishes the atmosphere in such a way as to make one hear the music playing and imagine the jostling of the crowd as you try to push through on your way to the bar. It was one of the best scenes in the book and I was able to completely immerse myself in it. Veronica's use of imagery is really well done.
While I haven't seen a lot of historical romantic fiction, or historical erotic fiction (and maybe I'm just not looking hard enough here), an American WWII romance isn't exactly unheard of. However, I've personally read very few stories in which we follow a bodacious riveter's point of view of the war and all it entails, especially one who is so outspoken and delightfully candid. There's even a bit of a twist at the end of the story that indicates we'll be opening up that viewpoint even more and discovering aspects about the war that aren't typically covered in novels or TV dramas. Again, Veronica has really done some stellar research with this one, including information about Italian internment camps in Canada and England (I certainly wasn't aware of that fact, and I had the additional satisfaction of feeling more knowledgeable after enjoying this book).
Character Development: ★★★★
Ava is very well-developed, and I don't just mean her voluptuous figure, either. She's obviously very smart, very well-spoken, and intuitive in ways that her peers aren't, which are all very attractive qualities and ones that make her unique in her setting.
Angelo is less-developed. He comes off as the perfect romantic interest, and unfortunately, there is less development of who he is and what he wants (other than Ava) in this book. We do meet his family and establish his feelings on certain aspects of the war, but I would have liked to have known what his larger goals were. What did he want to do after the war? Why did he fall for Ava so hard so fast? Is it because of the urgency of his duty? Is he playing her somehow? Lieutenant Mascotti seems earnest enough, but I would have liked a little more insight.
These characters complement each other very well, but their relationship feels rushed. I'm hoping to see more conflict between them in the next book as the story deepens.
Editing: ★★★★ (3.5)
Veronica's formatting is perfect, but I did notice some word repetition and a few grammar errors that served to snap me out of things once or twice. It should be noted that in more current versions of the work, these errors have been removed and the manuscript borders on flawless.
Story Satisfaction: ★★★★ (3.5)
This ended in a really weird place for me. I wasn't expecting it to drop off where it did, and I was so surprised that I actually went back a couple pages to see if I accidentally clicked too many times and skipped one. It's sort of an abrupt ending to a relationship we haven't fully delved into yet, and it was very jarring to me. It is part of a series, however, so there is the promise of additional chapters, which I am grateful for. I want more from this story, and I wasn't ready to let go of it at the point where it ended (for now).
The Sex: ★★★★
I am more of an explicit person than one who enjoys euphemisms. I like to see someone take a pounding, hear them moan and tease, experience their breaking point with them. Riveted does not feature filthy, dirty sex, as it were, but it does feature passionate lovemaking, which can be just as good.
Although this didn't thrill my particular fancy, it was still hot enough for me to be interested and to put a smile on my face at the end. Ava's inexperience is adorable and serves the scene well, while Angelo's attentiveness and restraint is appreciated. The sex leans more toward erotically romantic than it does stroke fiction, but that is in no way a detriment to its heat factor.
You can purchase Veronica Hardy's book by clicking the cover image at the top of this post. It is also available at Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and Smashwords.