The Bellini Bride
Author: Michelle Reid
Genre: Category Romance
Series: Mediterranean Marriage #1
Rating: B –
I’m in one of those moods where all I want to do is sit around watching campy 1950’s horror movies, like Them!, and reading ridiculous melodramatic Harlequin romances. (Even though I’m convinced that nothing can beat Lightning That Lingers, which featured a male stripper with a heart of gold, who owned a pet owl and used his g-string dollars to fund a nature preserve.) However, The Bellini Bride managed to come close by straying spectacularly into crazy soap-opera territory .
The heroine, Antonia, once posed nude for a painting that became famous and brought billionaire Marco Bellini to her door. When the book opens it’s been a little over a year since they got together and things look to be going sour. Marco’s father is dying and wants to see his son married before he kicks the bucket. So, Marco is working up the courage to either break things off with Antonia or marry her.
Marco, of course, is a douche. The way he handles the stress coming from family and society is to verbally lash out at Antonia. His favorite barb is to constantly remind her that everyone thinks she’s a big ole’ ho-bag because she’s naked in some fine art painting drawn by her ex-lover. His other favorite thing to throw out is that pretty women are a dime a dozen and he can replace her with a snap of his fingers. Such a dreamboat, eh?
For the first half of the book I didn’t find Marco’s behavior all that infuriating because Antonia bit back just as hard and made him apologize. And for a moment I thought that I had stumbled across a Presents title that lacked the wonderful flavor of absurdity that I had been looking for. After all, I had an awesome heroine who was sexually experienced and unashamed of her past, despite the fact that everyone wanted to shame her. Then I hit the halfway point and Michelle Reid pulled the rug out from under Antonia’s character.
The crazy hits the fan when Antonia and Marco attend her ex-lover’s newest art exhibition. Suddenly everything’s flipped on its head and Reid takes the easy way out by revealing that nothing is as it seems about the heroine.
After the crazy art exhibition, the plot is all about Antonia groveling for Marco’s forgiveness for not trusting him. Marco’s sense of entitlement knows no bounds here. It’s insane how we’re supposed to believe that Marco deserves Antonia’s trust and commitment despite him never having done anything to earn it. At one point Antonia is close to leaving Marco when she thinks, “He wanted her. What more could she ask of him, for goodness’ sake?” Uhhh… maybe his respect or, you know, love? But nah, she’ll settle for him just wanting her around. She needs to find that self-esteem she lost somewhere around the halfway point.
Honestly, I really enjoyed this one. I was in the right mood for the ridiculousness that this book dished out in spades. I’d recommend it if you’re in a similar mood.