When Hollywood heart-throb Sam Carlton sees his name splashed across a gossip rag, all he wants to do is hide. That’s how he finds himself travelling to Italy, deciding to spend the summer in his family’s empty villa on Lake Como. Except when he arrives it isn’t as empty as he’d hoped.Over the course of the hot Italian summer, Cesca and Sam have to come to terms with their pasts. What begins as a tentative friendship quickly grows into an intense attraction – and then a scorching fling. But they can’t hide from reality forever . . . as their different worlds collide, Sam and Cesca face a choice: is this just a summer romance, or could their love weather even the coldest winds?
Hate-to-love romances are definitely my weakness, and Summer's Lease is no exception. Down-on-her-luck Cesca is a character that I really rooted for. Despondent and disillusioned, she deserved a break, and I willed her to turn her life around. Sam, true to form as a romantic lead, has the looks, wit and charisma to melt even the coldest of hearts. He and Cesca had explosive chemistry from the off, and it was clear from relatively early on, in spite of their intense dislike for each other, just how their story was going to end. But this is so much more than just a love story. Over the course of the summer under the Italian sun Cesca rediscovers herself, and her talent for writing. She realises that a change really can do you good, and that it's never too late to chase your dreams.
If had any criticism it would only be that I wanted to see more of Italy. The majority of the action takes place in and around the villa, and whilst Sam was essentially housebound in avoiding the paparazzi, a little exploration of the local area and culture from Cesca would have made for interesting reading. The novel also treads a very fine line between contemporary romance and erotic fiction - those steamier scenes hit me from nowhere, and whilst I'm not complaining, up until that point I was planning on letting my mum read this book after me!
That being said, nothing can detract from what was in essence a great story. Heartwarming, escapist and fun, Summer's Lease is the perfect summer read, no matter where you're bound!
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