Alessia is busy taking care of her family and doesn’t have time for romance, even though her mother is pushing to use some of their hard earned coin to go to the matchmaker. Massimo is a new count visiting their village, despite his fae heritage, and under pressure to get married within a year. As soon as they meet for the first time, Massimo’s smitten. But Alessia has plenty on her plate despite her attraction to Massimo, and he’ll have his work cut out for him if he wants to convince her he has a place in her life.
This is a lovely, light, Italian inspired cozy fantasy. Both Alessia and Massimo are working through very relatable things like the fear of change and discovering one’s own dreams. They both are charming characters, though I did get frustrated with just how deep Alessia was in denial about both needing help and her feelings about Massimo. She does a fair amount of sabotage to their relationship multiple times, and her inferiority complex can be annoying at times. I suppose it adds some tension, but it got to feeling like they were stuck in the same holding pattern.
The supporting cast is lovely as well. Alessia’s sisters certainly feel like sisters with that odd combination of bickering and defensiveness if someone outside of their siblings picks on one of them. Massimo’s charming warlock friend is delightful as well. The world building is fascinating, and I would love to see more than just the one main setting of the story. But the little touches like Alessia’s villa being mildly sentient to the magical mishaps with strawberries really make the world come to life.
Probably my biggest complaint is the fact that the story alternates points of view every chapter between Alessia and Massimo. While both points of view work, it often kills the story’s momentum. It works in some places, but in others it would have been better to have an unbroken point of view for longer to help things build. Still, it was an enjoyable diversion, and a good addition to the ranks of cozy fantasy. It’s the first in a series which each book following one of the sisters, and I’ll probably pick up the second one when it comes out. Three out of five stars.