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The Merchant of Venice Beach by Celia Bonaduce
ebook, 230 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by eKensington Originals
Age Group: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: The Venice Beach #1
The Rollicking Bun—Home of the Epic Scone—is the center of Suzanna Wolf’s life. Part tea shop, part bookstore, part home, it’s everything she’s ever wanted right on the Venice Beach boardwalk, including partnership with her two best friends from high school, Eric and Fernando. But with thirty-three just around the corner, suddenly Suzanna wants something more—something strictly her own. Salsa lessons, especially with a gorgeous instructor, seem like a good start—a harmless secret, and just maybe the start of a fling. But before she knows it, Suzanna is learning steps she never imagined—and dancing her way into confusion.
The Merchant of Venice Beach turned out to be totally different than I expect it to be. But in a really good way. I expected this book to be a fun romance story heavy on the romance and it way more of an adult coming of age story with a hilarious main character/narrator and while romance was a main theme throughout this book, I found it to be so much more about the characters and how they got to where they are in Venice. Celia Bonaduce did such an excellent job letting Suzanna tell her story. I loved her voice. We saw everything through her head and her thoughts and her thought process is so funny. I just found her so relate-able.
When I first started reading Suzanna was instantly taken with the hot dance instructor, Rio. So much so that she decided to take salsa lessons just to try and get to know him. When I first met Rio, I wasn’t impressed. He kind of seemed like a jerk. But as I read on, I realized that wasn’t even the point of the book. The Merchant of Venice Beach was Suzanna’s story. Celia Bonaduce created such an awesome group of characters. Suzanna, Eric and Fernando have known each other since high school, and they live and work together now. They are like a little family. They annoy each other sometimes, but at the end of the day you know they will be there for each other.
The Merchant of Venice Beach is divided into different sections. The story starts out in the present tense when Suzanna is 33. And then it “flashes” back to their high school and college days. But they were much longer than typical flashbacks. I felt like we were told two stories. The then and the now. It helps to make sure that you really get to know all of the characters so well. And I thought that Suzanna was the perfect voice for this story. She was so very relate-able. I could just picture so many of the things she was going through and doing, actually happening.
When I was about half way through the story, I realized that I still didn’t know who Suzanna’s love interest was going to be. There were so many possibilities. Was it going to be the life long friend? The hot dance instructor? The “office-cute” guy from dance lessons? I’m used to having some idea of how a story is going to unfold by the half way point, but I found myself even more excited to read the second half of the book because I didn’t know. So much of Suzanna’s life was up in the air and I had a blast going on this journey to figure some things out with her. This book wasn’t anything like I thought it would be, but it turned out to be even better! Character driven readers will enjoy this book.
Currently a Field Producer on HGTV’s House Hunters, Celia Bonaduce’s TV credits cover a lot of ground – everything from field-producing ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to writing for many of Nickelodeon’s animated series, including Hey, Arnold and Chalkzone. An avid reader, entering the world of books has always been always a lifelong ambition.
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