At the end of last month, one of our favourite writers, Cristina Hodgson, released the third part of her Chantelle Rose series: Isabella.

This instalment in the series follows Chantelle as she receives a surprise invitation that opens up the door to her long-since deceased mother’s past. New love challenges old, bonds and formed and broken, and Chantelle’s quest for the truth may destroy everyone she loves. Or maybe it will bring her peace at last. You’ll just have to read it to find out!

This week we’ve got the lovely Rachel Joyce reviewing Isabella in a bullet review, a style we’ve never used before. So, curl up, check out Rachel’s review, and then get yourself a copy of Isabella and unlock the Sicilian mystery right along with her.

Prologue

  • I liked how the prologue immediately drew you in creating intrigue, a hint of romance and suspense making you want to know the identity of the woman who was frequented with such vivid and tension filled dreams.
  • The dream occurring every full moon gave the suggestion of the supernatural and would it play a part within the story?
  • It made me question whether this was a hint/potential premonition of what was to develop within the novel. It made you want to delve deeper into the story and uncover the mystery of the man who visited her in her dreams.
  • The format of the prologue was perfect and managed to hook you in with the details without being too lengthy.

Chantelle - Present Day

  • Italian heritage, the daughter of Isabella.
  • Invited to a family wedding in Italy despite being estranged for a period of time and wanting to know about her family roots.But who has extended the wedding invitation to her? It doesn't seem to be the bride to be or groom, adding another layer of mystery to the evolving story.
  • Told of her late mothers fortune telling although somewhat sceptical despite events which unfolded after she was aware of the information.
  • Chantelle is a relatable character who doesn't take herself too seriously and finds humour in her negative qualities.

Isabella - 1980's

  • She is the woman who has been having the vivid dreams. Tries to identify the man consequently she is drawn to the sea as referenced in the dream.
  • Has a vision of the man and learns he is not of her time but of a century before. She wants to solve the mystery of who he is? Why he appears to her? What he is searching for?
  • Meets a local boy who has rescued her and feels drawn to him although in a different sense not one which has her longing for the sea nor feeling like it is luring her to it.
  • In her search for her rescuer she meets an elderly lady who tells her the boy’s name is Marco and to follow him. This interaction has you questioning the motives of the lady and creates a hint of suspense and atmosphere of unease making you wonder if all is as it seems. As well as the true nature of the dreams and "vision" she had witnessed.
  • Isabella tries to piece the information she has discovered about the man in order to gain better understanding over her visions and their purpose.

As A Whole

  • The pace of story is mixed well with past and present day told primarily by Isabella and Chantelle. The mix of narrative keeps the reader interested and left wanting to know more.
  • I like how the background information is included without detailing everything over a number of pages. It is concise and to the point while being informative.
  • A compelling story which grips the reader and leaves them wanting to know more about the mysterious characters.
  • All the details were explained well and background knowledge was good and well-paced.

Overall

A well written and well paced story with combinations of love, humour, mystery and intrigue. The story unfolds well and the balance of past and present day helps to maintain the tempo and deliver the facts discovered without overwhelming the reader. I couldn't put this book and read it in a couple of days. A recommended must read and I can't wait to read more of Cristina's work.

 

To get your hands on a copy of Isabella, click here.