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Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Secrets of Villa Rosso by Linn B. Halton - Book Review, Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Ellie is happily married to her soulmate Josh. For Ellie family always comes first and that's why she usually doesn't travel for her job. When Ellie's boss can't go on a business trip to Italy Ellie makes an exception and takes her place. She works for an interior design company and her destination is Villa Rosso in Italy. Ellie immediately feels a connection to the place and the people she meets. She also feels very much at ease with the man she closely has to work with, Max. It's like she's known him for a long time. Will Ellie be able to make the most of her stay in Italy? Her visit changes her, how will the secrets she's taking home with her influence her once so peaceful life?

The Secrets of Villa Rosso is a beautiful story about true love. I love it when souls connect on a deeper level and am a big fan of stories about this topic. Linn B. Halton skillfully writes about it and managed to captivate me from beginning to end. Her main characters are interesting and I immediately had the idea I could get really close to them. They have complex personalities with distinctive character traits, which makes them incredibly interesting to read about. Ellie is a kind woman with a big heart. She's always there for the people who need her and sometimes that makes things hard for her. She has to make some difficult decisions and reading about them kept me on the edge of my seat. Sometimes the right way to do something is also the wrong way, which is the exact thing that made me fall in love with The Secrets of Villa Rosso. I really enjoyed reading about Ellie, the important people in her life and everything they're going through together.

Linn B. Halton has a wonderful writing style. Her vivid descriptions make her characters and settings come to life in an impressive way and it's easy to lose myself in the atmosphere she creates. Her stories always manage to enchant me and I can't help but read every book she writes in one sitting, because she makes me too curious to put them down. Her stories are filled with magical bonds, love on many different levels, fascinating emotional layers and plenty of precious moments. The Secrets of Villa Rosso is a special story with a stunning emotional ending that moved me to tears. I highly recommend this fantastic book.


If you love reading about soul mates and like complex secrets you will definitely like The Secrets of Villa Rosso.

About Linn B. Halton

Bristol-born Linn B Halton lives in the Forest of Dean, in the UK.

"I'm a hopeless romantic, self-confessed chocaholic, and lover of strong coffee. For me, life is about family, friends, writing ... and house renovation! Oh, and the occasional glass of White Grenache..."

An Amazon UK Top 100 best-selling author with A Cottage in the Country in November 2015, Under the Stars and A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love also became best-sellers in 2016 & 2017. Linn's novels have been short-listed in the UK's Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.

Linn writes chick lit, women's contemporary fiction and psychic romance for Harper Impulse, Choc Lit and Endeavour Press.

Author links

Twitter: @LinnBHalton

Guest post

Setting the scene for ‘The Secrets of Villa Rosso’
by Linn B. Halton

Why Italy?

The idea for this story began three years ago, but it took a long time to find the perfect setting. Ironically, what led me to Castrovillari was an article I read about ‘the black year of Italian olive oil’ in 2014. It affected Spain, as well, but the olive fruit fly and a damaging bacterium, which lead to the loss of very many old trees, resulted in a disastrous harvest.

As I have often taken holidays in Italy over the years, it was already a place about which I was very passionate. Well, the food is amazing and the people are so welcoming, but it’s also a very atmospheric and stunningly beautiful country.

Castrovillari is a historic town in the foothills of Calabria and with a population of around 22,000 it was, I realised, the perfect setting. The unfortunately poor harvest of 2014 was the key to unlocking my story. While the novel is completely fictional, it deals with the aftermath of that unfortunate time. The livelihoods of so many families would have been drastically affected. It really was a poignant centerpiece to the wider story I wanted to wrap very gently around it.

I hope that what comes through quite strongly is the amazing connections people can make and how the results can ripple outwards with enormous effect. But also, the way in which some connections are more special than others and affect our hearts. Even when our heads are telling us it’s an impossible situation. This is a love story with an adventure and what better setting than amongst the wonderful olive groves of Castrovillari …


It isn’t just the sunshine and the electric blue sky, but the musical calls of the countryside that reach out to me. A chorus of low-level sounds play like a soft melody in the background. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and I feel like I’m watching a re-run of a favourite film. I could stand here for a long time simply taking in the detail and with each sweep of my eyes noticing something new.

Spinning around I look back at the villa, taking in the rustic beauty of the stonework and the pale orange-red hue of the sun-bleached roof tiles. This is, quite simply, unreal. It’s a little piece of heaven and, so far removed from my daily life that it’s hard to believe this is on the same planet. The sheer scale of the landscape literally steals your breath away. I’m a mere speck, small and insignificant in the grand scheme nature is presenting to me. But rather bizarrely, it doesn’t feel alien in anyway at all. The vastness isn’t overwhelming, but strangely comforting.

I walk back to a cluster of wooden tables surrounding a small fountain and take a seat. As I dive into my bag to extract some sunglasses, I hear a polite cough and look up at the face staring down at me.

‘Mrs Maddison? I’m Max, Max Johnson. Welcome to Villa Rosso.’

I stand, automatically plastering a pleasant smile on my surprised face as recognition kicks in. I know this man, I mean, I’ve met him before. At least I think I have, but there’s nothing similar reflected back at me, only a warm smile. The sort of smile that radiates out from mysteriously deep, hazel eyes. We shake hands. He’s younger than I expected, probably in his early forties and tall. Six foot something that’s for sure, because I feel he’s towering over me.

‘I’m sorry to disturb you. I just wanted you to know that I’m here at your disposal whenever you are ready to begin. Would you like me to fetch you a coffee so you can sit for a while and enjoy the view?’

Although I knew he was British, his tan and elegant demeanour lend an air of cosmopolitan sophistication. I would not have been at all surprised if he had been Italian. He’s hovering politely and I still haven’t answered him…


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One very lucky reader of With Love For Books will receive a signed paperback copy of Falling: Angels Among Us by Linn B. Halton.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are


  1. What a lovely book! I enjoy books about soul mates. Great excerpt and review. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Good luck with the book, it sounds intriguing!


  3. Sounds like an interesting read. Good luck with the book.

  4. I love books set in Italy.

  5. Would be lovely to win this book. Love the cover of The Secrets of Villa Rosso

  6. Wonderful author. Love the sound of Falling Angels among us.

  7. Judging by the excerpt, book sounds very intriguing, looking forward to reading it!

  8. Happy Sunday, Suze and thank you so much for your very lovely review - it made my day! I always love visiting and thank you to everyone who drops by!

  9. this looks great, and I do love your books! xx

  10. Your book sounds very good! Thanks for offering it in the giveaway!

  11. I'm looking forward to reading Linn's books. Thank you

  12. The descriptions of the Italian landscape are wonderful - I can almost smell it (of course the glass of Chianti in my hand might be helping!).

  13. Linn is a new Author fort me. I loved the excerpt and look forward to reading them. Thanks for the post.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  14. I love the sound of this book! My kind of read :)

  15. I would love to stay somewhere like this and love reading about beautiful places is the next best thing.

  16. I love your books and I can'twait to read more of them.

  17. Sounds good!


  18. Sounds fab and is now on my to be read list, thanks for the chance to win! Love discovering new authors.

  19. Added to my reading list! Sounds like an amazing book!

  20. Thank you so much.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  21. Thank you to everyone who took part! Wish you could all be winners ... x