TBR Day: India Grey’s “The Italian’s Defiant Mistress”

This is posted as part of Keishon’s TBR Day challenge, which is aimed at encouraging us readers with the towering TBR piles (you know who you are) to start tackling the books that have been languishing in there for eons.

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51ZUCDyoG6L._SL160_Book: The Italian’s Defiant Mistress (contemporary romance)

Author: India Grey

Copyright Date: 2007

Why did I buy this book? I heard good things about India Grey’s debut novel on the various review sites, so added it to my Amazon cart when shopping one day.

Why did it sit in my TBR pile for so long? The only Mills & Boon’s author I read with any regularity is Lynne Graham – for some reason, I’m a sucker for her stories.  So Ms Grey’s book kept on being pushed to the bottom of my TBR pile… until I needed a slim book for TBR Day (yes, this is a very last-minute thing).

What is it about?  Standard M&B back-cover blurb:

The Italian billionaire’s inexperienced mistress Eve Middlemiss has come to Florence desperate for information.  And only darkly good-looking multimillionaire Raphael di Lazaro, heir to the Lazaro Fashion House, holds the answers she’s searching for.  Surrounded by glamour and decadence, Eve is totally out of her depth – until she realises she is the one Raphael wants! If becoming the Italian’s mistress is what it takes to find out the truth about her family, Eve realises she must feign the sophistication and experience she’s sure Raphael is accustomed to – but that means making herself available to his every desire…

So what did I think of it?  Standard M&B title, standard M&B back cover blurb, standard M&B characters and plotline?  Pretty much so – Eve is an inexperienced virgin who just happens to be incredibly sexy and beautiful, Raphael a drop-dead gorgeous Italian billionaire.  Having said that, I think when you pick up an M&B, you expect a certain type of story, and this definitely ticked all the boxes.

My main bugbear with this story was the plot.  I hate the Big MIS plot device, which provided the main conflict in this story – Eve thinks Raphael is a drug-dealer, while Raphael thinks Eve is a not-to-be-trusted journalist.  And towards the end, even more misunderstandings ensue.

However, I thought Ms Grey’s writing was strong and I loved the background and settings.  I thought it had a very British feel to the story – it’s hard to pin down exactly why, but I definitely knew Eve was British.  Not knowing many Italians myself, I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the Italian characters and settings, but certainly they felt real to me!

My conclusion?  Despite using the Big MIS plotline, I thought the writing was strong and the characters believable.  I’m always impressed by how much story M&B authors manage to cram into a 200-page book.  All in all, it was an enjoyable quick read and I will probably be looking out for Ms Grey’s next books.

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