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Feature book: Love, Lust and Lies

25 May 2011

Love, Lust and Lies by Cathleen Ross

Gabriella Vitadini is a very angry woman. She has just found out that her husband, Tony, is cheating on her, so she kicks him out of the family home. Gabriella is an Italian-American Catholic woman and according to the social mores of her culture, she is supposed to ignore her husband’s womanising and be like the ideal of the Madonna. However, Gabriella has other ideas! In walks a gorgeous client, Dave, who quickly ignites her lust.

The ties to family in her culture are very strong and Gabriella has to put up with a lot of pressure to take her husband, Tony, back. Gabriella’s mother-in-law has put up with her cheating husband, Pinto, for years. Gabriella tries to date her new boyfriend, Dave, in secret, and this leads to some quirky misadventures. Somehow, Gabriella even ends up taking her husband’s scary grandmother, Bisnonna, on a date with Dave, with whom Bisnonna develops a crush!

Dave is eleven years younger than Gabriella, but has no inkling of the age difference. He sees a sexy Italian mother who can give him lots of children. Gabriella is aware of this, but doesn’t want anything permanent with Dave. Meanwhile, her husband begs Gabriella to take him back. What a quandary! There is also a secondary romance between Gabriella’s best friend, Lucy, and another Italian, Riccardo. Lucy is a divorcee and must get Bisnonna’s blessing to marry Riccardo or she will be cursed.

Love, Lust and Lies is the latest novel by award-winning author Cathleen Ross. She has written this novel in the first person, and I must admit that, at times, I found this to be quite confronting. The reader is privy to all the main character’s thoughts without any filters and this made it difficult for me to empathise with her. However, the novel gives the reader a great insight into the double standards inherent in many cultures, in this case, the Italian-American culture. Gabriella is a feisty heroine and has the courage to stand up for herself against cultural pressure. She deserves to have respect from her husband and family and to make her own choices in the way she lives her life.

reviewed by Nicola S

The author provided a copy of this book for review.

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8 Comments
  1. aimskye permalink
    8 August 2011 1:12 pm

    Great Review Nicola!

    Aimee
    (nonmoty)

  2. 27 May 2011 8:35 am

    Excellent review, Cathleeen. I really enjoyed reading LOVE, LUST & LIES–it is warm, funny and sexy.
    There’s a lot of tension in the book as Gabriella is so conflicted with her ties to her family, gorgeous young lover and the husband who hurt her. I enjoyed some real LOL moments in this story, especially when you are writing about the heroine’s interactions with the older generation!

  3. 26 May 2011 11:19 am

    Thanks Anna, Mel and Vanessa for your thoughts. First person is confronting and some readers don’t like it, but I enjoyed writing it because when some friends of our Italian family introduced me to the concept of the Italian Marriage – the husband does what he wants and the wife does what the husband wants – I realised how wrong this concept was and wanted to turn it on its head. I think when writing about an affair there is always the risk that the heroine can seem unsympathetic, but when Gabriella goes on a downwards slide, she learns so much about herself.
    Best
    Cathleen

  4. 26 May 2011 10:10 am

    Great review Cathleen!

    I agree, first person pov is much more confronting, almost like reading someone’s diary, but it works so well when done properly– like this book!

  5. 26 May 2011 7:31 am

    Terrific review, Nicola! I agree with Anna–lots of high stakes to keep us cheering for Gabriella and Dave.

    First-person really works for me. It gives me the feeling that I’m truly living the story through the heroine’s eyes.

  6. 26 May 2011 7:25 am

    Wow, what an interesting premise and what an interesting review! Sounds like some really high stakes conflict in that story! Well done, Cathleen!

  7. 26 May 2011 5:33 am

    I’m part of one. When I sent this to an agent she said no one lives like that anymore, then I sent it to my current agent, an Italian/American working mother and she signed me on it. I wanted to write this book because it occurred to me that the next generation, my daughter’s, wouldn’t know what it was like for my mother-in-law’s generation and for me, growing up in an Italian Australian family where women don’t have the same value as men. Thanks for stopping by Barbara.
    Best
    Cathleen

  8. Barbara permalink
    25 May 2011 9:35 pm

    Good review Nicola… Sounds a very interesting book … I know some Italian families like this

    Barbara

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