I first published this review five months ago, back in May of this year. As always, I was excited to find a newly published author and was blown away by this, her first book. I am re-running my review to announce that FOR THE LOVE OF THE DAME and Miram Allenson have just been awarded the much coveted NJRW (New Jersey Romance Writers) Golden Leaf Award for The Best First Book! Way to knock it out of the park, Miriam! If you haven’t read it yet, now is the time to download a copy and sit back for a wonderful weekend read.
Italian opera singer Sofia de’ Medici wants one thing: to sing Carmen in a first-rate New York opera house. She has escaped the clutches of her domineering father to achieve her dream, but can she overcome her own sweet nature and voluptuous beauty to take on the role of opera’s greatest femme fatale? Major League baseball star Car Bradford wants one thing: to get his son away from his unfit ex-wife. In order to do that, he needs the help of her dad (and his boss) who demands a strange ransom — pretend to be having an affair with a beautiful, curvy opera singer to get her the media attention she needs to nab the part of a lifetime. The trouble is, they have nothing in common. She’s quirky; he’s conventional. He hates her shoes; she hates his truck. She loves food; he sees it as fuel. But as they spend more time together, their awkward charade grows into a passion neither of them expected. Can the star athlete and sensuous diva get past their differences long to realize that they’ve both found the one thing they never knew they always wanted?
I saw the review for For The Love of the Dame by Miriam Allenson on a friend’s blogsite and thought, I HAVE GOT TO READ THAT BOOK!!! Come on now folks, here is a book about a young opera singer from a very protective home who finds herself footloose and fancy free on the streets of New York City, trying to land the lead role in Carmen by George Bizet. Wide-eyed, innocent beyond belief and with the voice of an angel. I laughed till my sides hurt, just at the thought, or should I say memories of another young girl I knew very much like that?
Having been offered the opportunity to read this potential jewel of a book, I set aside a rainy Friday and settled in for an afternoon of pure enjoyment.
Give me a story of a little, hot Italian singer and a great big super-hot baseball pro and this alone is the makings for a great romance novel. Jealous ex-wives, conniving mother-in-laws, and Opera Directors who just are the donkey’s pa-toot, keep the laughs rolling as Sofia works to get an audition for the part of Carmen. Her love of Italian cooking and pasta has her shoving her derriere into skirts too tight, and too long (for her height) while putting on four and five-inch heels to overcome her feelings of inadequacy. She would the create scenes as she strutted down sidewalks and through buildings, with her dramatic Italian looks. Mama Mia!! I could see it all. LOL.
But then you add in all sort of delicious things like little wide-eyed boys who seem lost and alone and desperately in need of a caring parent, and-and this same little Italian who prefers cooking to singing, huh?, and the plot thickens.
But really beneath the fun of For The Love of the Dame, is another story. This story is about two people who have been hurt and pushed aside their entire lives. Two people who desperately want to love and be loved, who have been hurt time and again, and are afraid to let themselves discover what true love is. In the process, there is a very lost and scared little boy who is walking down the very path that they have walked before. Will they be able to find the resolution to their questions about life and love in time to help him find security and happiness in his life?
Even though written as a light romance novel, I found that the deeper second story was the true story of the novel. Of course, she is going to get the Opera part! It wouldn’t be the book without it. But there is a wonderful mystery written into the story that pops up and surprises everyone. OH! Well, that one, kept me from putting the book down and finishing it the next day. (Smile) The plot just kept getting thicker and thicker.
Yes, I was captivated with the storyline of the “lost” little boy needing love. I wanted to tell a few of the badly behaving adults a thing or two about their poorly chosen priorities. But, it was the third storyline that tripped me up and kept me turning the pages. The real mystery slowly started to reveal itself as Sofia’s story began to go back and unwind, revealing the life of this young opera protégé and her growing up years.
This third line added a depth to the story and added depth to the understanding of Sofia’s character. Miriam also took the time to create the backstory for “Car”, the male protagonist, adding good depth to him and his character, and answering a good many questions. She did the same for several of the main characters. By doing this, she created an intricate overlapping web of twenty years in the lives of the characters of the story.
By the time I reached the end of the book, I knew that this was one that would be going on my Re-Read Shelf. I knew that I would want to wallow through the fun, sorrow, laughter, and tears of this delightful story again and again.
I would give this novel a FIVE STAR rating.
Miriam Allenson is a marketing/public relations professional who thinks writing romance is preferable to writing press releases and website copy any day of the week. She and husband, Andy, live in northern New Jersey, just off the Garden State Parkway, which means she can get anywhere from there.