Review: Emerald Coast by Anita Hughes


Love the luxuriousness and glamour that this book exudes – like Hughes’ others. Lily and Oliver were a cute couple, even divorced, so I enjoyed their banter and rapport. 

Unfortunately, Emerald Coast was a little too predictable even for me, and I wasn’t a fan of the cliched reasons why Angela and Ricky were looking for a mate. I’ll always love Anita Hughes for her rich descriptions, beautiful writing, and memorable scenery. I just wasn’t cut out for the plot of this particular story.

-calliope 

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Review: White Sand, Blue Sea by Anita Hughes 

Anita Hughes does it again – takes me on a luxurious vacation where ladies drip with diamonds, succulent dinners abound, and you can almost taste the salt of the sea. 

Olivia and Finn vacation in St. Bart’s with Olivia’s mom and step dad… and Olivia hopes Finn will finally propose. But the love story is just part of the plot. There’s Sebastian, the long-absent father making an insincere attempt at redeeming himself, Felix the stepdad, trying to be perfect for everyone, and Hadley the mom, a little bit jaded and disappointed about the way her golden years are turning out. 

Hughes did a great job with the characters of Olivia, Hadley and Sebastian. It was harder to get to know the others, but I don’t know that character development mattered too much in this story. I like to read Hughes because she whisks me away from real life — April showers, bills to pay, and a house to clean – into the luxury of a fancy vacation. Reading Hughes, I get to virtually stay in the best villas, go to the best beaches, wear the most expensive cocktail dresses, and eat the fanciest food. 

I’ll take that escape any day. 

-calliope

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Review: Christmas in Paris by Anita Hughes


This is how you know we muses (and Pegasus) post honest, unbiased reviews, folks: 

There I was reading this lovely story, not remembering the title or author, but impressed with the writing and basking in extravagant descriptions of Parisian food, shopping, and architecture. I thought, “Wow, this book reminds me of Anita Hughes’ novels. Everything is so luxurious and magical. The romance is subtle, slow, and authentic.” 

And I kept reading, enjoying the serendipitous meetings of Isabel and Alec. Balconies, cobblestones, gardens, restaurants. I loved the magic of the fortune teller and her adorable daughter. Mathieu was the PERFECT wingman, and Bettina the perfect wicked stepsister. 

I just couldn’t get enough. 

After a satisfying happily ever after I finally checked the title and author. 

Christmas in Paris. Anita Hughes. BOOM. 

Mais, oui, I should have known. 

-calliope

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Review: Santorini Sunsets by Anita Hughes


Brigit is preparing for her dream wedding … to a dream guy. Blake may have come from modest beginnings but he’s rich and famous now. And he gets along well with Brigit’s family (but maybe too well).  

As Brigit, Blake and their families wrap up the last weeks of planning in picturesque Santorini, Greece, Brigit’s broody ex-husband shows up. 

Nathaniel still loves Brigit, but she’s pretty focused on Blake. I liked that Brigit stayed true to herself the whole time. She didn’t sell out or lie or betray. And neither did Blake and Nathaniel. Hughes wrote some terrific characters that didn’t compromise their own values. Each man and woman acted authentically, and the chips fell where they may.  

As always with Hughes’ exotically set novels, she richly describes landscape, sea, people, food, and clothing.  Reading Santorini was luxurious and satisfying, right up through the happily ever after. 

-calliope

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Review: Island in the Sea: A Majorca Love Story by Anita Hughes


Juliet is a record label executive who gets sent to Majorca to light a fire under Lionel’s songwriting behind. While she’s there she enjoys the seaside, the luxurious food, the shopping, and the sun. Best of all, Juliet meets Gabriella, who turns out to be a good friend, a beautifully talented singer, and the salt of the earth that helps Juliet stay grounded. 

I scoop up Anita Hughes’ novels because of the lush food, extravagant shopping and stunning locales. The Island in the Sea love stories are icing on a cake that’s a feast for the senses. 
-calliope

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Review: Rome in Love by Anita Hughes 

  
I loved Lake Como by Anita Hughes and was so excited for another great summer read set in Italy. 

Rome in Love is the story of Amelia Tate, movie star on location in Rome. She meets a handsome man, and then needs to resolve a couple of challenges: one, she told him she was a maid; two, she has a fiancé; three, she keeps drinking too much champagne and passing out in the handsome man’s presence. 

Hughes includes flashbacks to Audrey Hepburn via letters from Hepburn to a friend, and she also writes a subplot involving a princess who falls in love with someone other than the pre-arranged Prince-to-be. 

I loved the on-location descriptions and “seeing” the sights with Amelia, Philip, Sophie, Theo, Veronique, and Greg. Traveling in Italy was wonderful — and no jet lag for me! 

While I enjoyed all the threads of Rome in Love, it could have used some editing. It seemed every chapter began with a description of someone’s attire, with lots of brand-name-dropping… and most chapters ended with Amelia falling asleep. Too repetitive for me. Also, how many times does a young woman get drunk, pass out, and find herself in the same strange man’s apartment before she decides to stop? She was in a foreign country! I had to suspend my disbelief just a little too much.  

Nonetheless, I was so enamored with the romantic gazes over espresso and the delicious food descriptions that I’ll be reading the next Anita Hughes novel, for sure!

-calliope

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Review: Lake Como by Anita Hughes

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I loved this book so much! I just saw that NetGalley is offering another Anita Hughes novel, so be on the lookout in early August for a review of Rome in Love. ❤️

*original blog post November 2014*
Lake Como has been on my wish list for months. Yesterday I saw it was on sale for $1.40 so I scooped it up as any book lover would. It’s STILL ON SALE TODAY, and worth every penny & more!

Reading Lake Como was like sitting in the lap of luxury. You wouldn’t know Hallie was born with a silver spoon in her mouth unless you met her grandmother Constance, a well-connected part of San Francisco society. And you wouldn’t know Hallie was related to royalty unless you visited her half-siblings in Italy. She’s down-to-earth and still finding herself among families who have hidden the truth for years.

Anita Hughes introduces the reader to the worlds of cocktail dresses, gala balls, charity events and exclusive restaurants. We see that no matter what the wrappings are, people are still people underneath – with wants, needs, fears, and flaws. In Lake Como we meet Hallie’s potential love interests, her Italian family, and her loving American mother, Francesca. We see Hallie develop her professional life, connect with her half-sister Portia, and experience personal growth.

My heart broke for Hallie and Portia when they endured break-ups with men they thought they’d be with forever. And I almost cowered when the grandmothers barked their orders. But I smiled with contentment when Hughes brought me to the shores of Lake Como, with its dazzling reflections and dancing eddies.

Full of exotic romance, hyped up family dynamics, and luxurious settings, Lake Como is one of my favorite light reads of the year.

–Calliope

Buy it now Lake Como