Feb 082016

Villa Fortuna Cover LARGE EBOOKSisters and Stereotypes

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice-Inspired, Modern-day Adaptation, Mature Audiences Only

SETTING: Modern-day Belmont, Bronx, New York


  • Dr. Elizabeth Fairchild/Lizzy Clemente/Doc Hollywood: Middle sister, is off in LA working as a podiatrist to celebrity clientele. Has some hang-ups about her family and their Italian-American stereotypical behaviors.
  • Regina “Gina” Clemente: Oldest sister, works as a hairstylist, is very sweet, but don’t underestimate her, she has a sharp mind and can easily disarm the enemy.
  • Nichole “Nikki” Clemente: Youngest sister, has a mouth on her like you wouldn’t believe, and dresses like a streetwalker. Also works as a hairstylist and is fiercely loyal and protective of her loved ones.
  • Dr. Michael Garin/Michelangelo/Altar Boy: A cosmetic surgeon who currently runs his father’s practice, where he spends most of his days doing injections and body-sculpting surgeries for the affluent and elite. A very admired and sought after bachelor, may also be a bit of a germaphobe.

SYNOPSIS: The Clemente sisters are brought together to inherit a desirable piece of property from their great-aunt. The Villa Fortuna building transforms Gina’s and Nikki’s lives by giving them a chance to open their own salon; it also brings Lizzy home for a long break where she makes some important discoveries about herself and meets an unbelievably amazing guy…


  • Utterly Charmed: The Clemente sisters have me completely and utterly charmed! Especially Gina and Nikki – they embrace their culture, have huge hearts, and display so many delightful personality quirks that one cannot help but love them! I loved seeing Lizzy’s generous act of charity to the homeless man and witnessing Nikki come to the rescue multiple times wielding her awesome weapon of choice!
  • Full of Heart: This story doesn’t have pride and prejudice as its main conflict. While there are misunderstandings and mistaken assumptions, the central themes are more about stereotypes and learning to accept who you are and where you came from. The lesson is an important one as many people can relate to the desire to leave home and feeling ashamed of one’s family and background.
  • The Community, The Family: The descriptions of Arthur Avenue, Messina Pastry Shop, and Palhairmo are colorful, vivid, and warm. The Clemente sisters are so lucky to be surrounded by such a loving and vibrant adopted family. Reading this book is like being invited to an Italian-American home, eating until all your buttons pop off, and feeling embraced with the fiercest love possible. I loved my visit to the Bronx and would gladly return, just for the food and characters alone!
  • Cat Gardiner Essentials: You may know from my previous reviews, that I adore all the little creative touches that Ms. Gardiner includes in the world of her novels (i.e. blog posts, spotify lists, etc.). I was so happy to see that continue in Villa Fortuna, with over half a dozen Italian recipes woven throughout the book and a very handy Italian glossary in the back (which I referred to often!) I love these clever little extras!


(Disclaimer: I was fond of everything, Cat Gardiner’s books are splendid!) But I will admit that about halfway through the book I found myself thinking the romance was too uncomplicated and lacking conflict. I’m not a fan of perfect, insta-love relationships, and Lizzy and Mike, while completely adorable, seemed to teetering closely towards perfection. I shouldn’t have doubted though, because Cat Gardiner definitely served a heaping amount of tension, heart-ache, and gripping uncertainty later on in the story! Well done!


Villa Fortuna is an amazing heart-warming romance of about finding yourself, finding home, and finding happiness! Filled with nods to Pride and Prejudice, personality, and passion this is an all-consuming reading experience you should not miss, whether you are Italian-American or not! I highly recommend!

NOTE: Due to suggestive language, adult situations, and some use of profanity, I’d recommend this for Mature Audiences only.

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  15 Responses to “Villa Fortuna – Cat Gardiner”


    I am so happy that you enjoyed Villa Fortuna, Meredith. It is so near and dear to my heart! I’m utterly blown away by your review and absolutely love that you fell in love with the secondary cast of characters. My family members will be pleased to know. LOL! Thank you again!!! And I’d love to know in pm if you understood Ann from the get go. 😉


      Thank you for sharing such a heartfelt and beautiful story with us, Cat! I love reading your books because I feel like the characters are so real and I become immersed in their world! 😉 LOL! Ann was definitely surprising!


    This book is definitely on my to-be-read list. I have absolutely adored everything that Cat has written, including her as-yet unpublished World War II stories and this one sounds like it will very enjoyable. I’m so impressed with Cat’s ability to create such a depth of characterizations as well as descriptive settings. When I read one of her books, I feel I’m right there with her characters, experiencing and feeling everything right along with them.


      She has a lot of talent doesn’t she? 😉 I am very excited about her next book! I can’t wait to see how she writes a story set in that time period. You said it perfectly, Jan. I love feeling pulled into the story!


    I love Cat and her books. She has such a warm personality and I know from experience and from reading blogs, etc. how she reaches out to all of us and pulls us in with her words of appreciation, with invites to join in various activities (her cookie exchange), her creativity (Spotify and Pinterest) with just WOWs me, and with such amazing books. All of her books are one that I not only highly recommend but also ones which I will read over and over again. She doesn’t miss a chance to give positive feedback which makes a person feel as if they matter…as they should feel. Thank you, Cat for sharing of yourself and your talents.

    Meredith – amazing review and excellent points about being proud of your family and where you come from – Elizabeth Bennet.


      Thank you for sharing such lovely comments, Sheila! Cat really does a marvelous job and its great to see how many people love and appreciate her works! Thanks for checking out my review, I know you read this awhile ago, but I’m glad you stopped by and shared your thoughts on mine. 🙂


    Just reading your review reminded me of all the things I enjoyed about this book. Personally, I was one who didn’t believe for a minute that the romance was going to be easy and I was antsy waiting for the other shoe to fall. 😉

    Nice review!


      Thanks for reading my review! 😉 I’m glad it reminded you of your enjoyment! LOL! I knew that the other shoe would fall, but I didn’t know how badly it effect their relationship.


    Am reading this now and really enjoying
    it SO much!


    This is definitely on my wish list. I have just read Denial of Conscience and loved it so have now bought Lucky 13 which will be my next read. And after reading your fab review Meredith I will be buying this one next. Thank you


    Great review Meredith! I am looking forward to reading this book in the near future. I loved ‘Lucky 13’ and just bought ‘Denial of Conscience’ last week. Hope to start reading that one this week.

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