12 Days to Love (Destined for Love: Europe)


Lily has recently sold her company. With her friend Maggie, she heads out on a dream vacation to cruise the Italian coast. The trip should give her time to relax and figure out the next phase of life. The problem is, she has no clue what that might be.  On the night before boarding, Lily dances with a handsome man named Zander but is rebuffed when she tries to kiss him. Her humiliation is complete when she discovers he is on the same cruise. Lily and Zander are continually thrown together both by their meddling friends and by circumstances.  Both being artists, they begin to find common ground, but Zander’s past and Lily’s confusion about life (and Zander’s refusal to kiss her) keep getting in their way. Will the romantic settings and their determined friends succeed in pushing them together?  Only the Mediterranean fates know for sure.

This entertaining novella is just right for the reader longing for a vacation cruise in Italy. Each chapter gives the reader a new destination to explore: Florence, Rome, Pompeii and many more.  Ms. Swinton paints wonderful pictures of the sights, sounds and tastes of Italy as Lily and Zander stroll the streets and alleys of ancient cities.  The characters are just unique enough to feel lifelike, though they lack much depth — especially Zander. The romance between Lily and Zander hums rather than sizzles, and their almost-kisses seem a bit contrived. At times, Lily seems too easily swayed by Maggie or Zander’s insistence that she can’t explore on her own. Overall, "12 Days to Love" is a sweet tale of likeable people in beautiful settings.

Marc Joseph