Having grown up in her family’s gardening shop, Meg Imsey has developed a passion for plants and horticulture. Her plans to branch out fall through when her father becomes ill and she has to give up her dream job working with the British royal family to help run her parent’s shop. Just as she thinks she will never get another chance to reach her potential, the Count of Castelfino hires her to redesign his gardens in his palazzo in
Tuscany. However, when Meg arrives she is welcomed with some startling news. The Count has died unexpectedly and his son, who’s just taken over his duties, is none other than the man Meg hasn’t been able to stop fantasizing about since she laid eyes on him at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Gianni has reluctantly taken upon the burdens of his father’s title. Much is expected from him and he approaches his life with a somber attitude. He has plans to renovate the estate, doing away with some of his father nonsensical possessions and implementing some of his own more practical ideas to raise the property’s value. This doesn’t include catering to a private horticulturalist for his father’s fantasy garden, no matter how alluring she is. However, he finds Meg’s honesty and approach to life refreshing and gives her a chance to prove her worth.
Gianni is soon convinced keeping Meg around is one of the best decisions he’s ever made. She is brilliant, charming, and so tempting. Thanks to her, some of his ideas with her own added touch have become a success and she eases his tension. Meg is drawn to her stern yet captivating boss. She’s enjoyed working with him and getting to know him better. Meg can’t help but wish for more, but the proposition Gianni approaches her with isn’t what she quite had in mind. He desires her as a mistress and possibly a wife, but for convenience only. Meg would trade everything for his heart, but is she asking the impossible?
THE COUNT OF CASTELFINO is a charming romance with a classic Harlequin feel, modernized with a bit of spice. I enjoyed the premise and the little things added in to accentuate the plot. The setting in which the story takes place is brilliantly described and I loved the heroine Meg. She is such a well rounded character. The hero, Gianni, comes off as arrogant and distant in the beginning but, as the story progresses, his reasons for such actions are revealed. I look forward reading more of Christina Hollis‘s work. This is the perfect read to drag along on vacation.