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Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas Extravaganza: Bella Natale!: A Florentine Christmas Romance

by Marianne Evans

When the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true…

Ashley Coratini is bucking her family, and the odds, by embracing the chance to pursue a dream. During a three-week trip to Florence, Italy, she’s determined to immerse herself in the world of art and to explore the gifts God has given her.

Widower Luca DeRosa owns and operates a premiere art gallery at the heart of Florence. He’s just over a year away from turning forty, but doesn’t mind the milestone. He enjoys a life spent raising his five-year-old son and scouting artistic talent. When he comes upon Ashley, he’s captivated by her artistic skills and fluid grace, and he sees to it that Ashley’s dreams take off at high velocity.

But as love blooms, questions mount. Will Ashley embrace her gifts and a life in Italy that’s worlds different than the one waiting at home in America? Can Luca trust his heart and instincts enough to embrace the love of a vibrant young woman whose spirit speaks to him so deeply?

What comes next when the dreams they dare to dream really might come true…?

About Marianne Evans

Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create.

Readers laude her work as “Riveting,” “Realistic and true to heart,” “Compelling.” Her Christian women’s fiction debut, Devotion, earned the Bookseller’s Best Award as well as the Heart of Excellence Award. Hearts Communion earned a win for Best Romance from the Christian Small Publisher's Association. She is also a two-time recipient of the Selah Award for her books Then & Now and Finding Home.

Marianne is a lifelong resident of Michigan and an active member of Romance Writers of America, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President. You can connect with Marianne at

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A young woman, alone in Italy. An older man, suave and charismatic, with promises that seem too good to be true. All the earmarks of danger…and all the expectation and excitement of love and a beautiful future.

Charcoal artist Ashley Coratini made a promise to her beloved grandmother. That’s why, despite a myriad of questions, doubts and uncertainties, she makes a gigantic leap of faith and hope when a handsome stranger offers to take her and her drawings of the city of Florence to a level of success she’s only ever dreamed of achieving. Those dreams were part of the promise she made to her grandmother. She has this one chance to make them a reality.

The lightning-quick sweep of feelings between the hero and heroine in this novella is lovely—and exciting—as are the glimpses of Florence the author shares in vivid, beautifully portrayed detail. Bella Natale is a sweet, heart-stopping romance with additional touches of beauty provided by the historic and picturesque setting. Florence is as much a character as are the people who make up the “cast.”

Marianne Evans loses none of her signature style of smooth writing full of deep emotion and vivid personality, woven throughout with subtle strokes of incredible spiritual wisdom. Bella Natale may well be my favorite of this author’s works to date.


What inspired you to write BELLA NATALE?

I wrote Bella Natale following a trip my DH and I took to Italy. We began our voyage in Rome, which took my breath away. After that, we headed north, to Florence. We intended to take a day-trip to Venice via train the following morning, but once we hit Florence, we literally looked at each other and without even speaking a word, we knew we were going to stay put in Florence and savor. It’s ancient, and gorgeous, and compact enough for wonderful walks and eating, and meandering along the Arno River, or going still before dazzling window displays, or listening to church bells sing out at noon across the city. The history is so rich and so ever-present that you can’t help but stop every few feet and absorb. It was truly the trip of a lifetime and I wanted to commemorate a slice of that journey for readers.

What smell do you love most, and why?

It’s a dead-heat tie between two: Freshly-buttered, stove-top prepared popcorn and the aroma of my family recipe onion bread baking in the oven. Both are heavenly!

Do you usually insert a spiritual theme into your books? If so, do you have a favorite?

A good number of my books center on the theme of redemption, and the return of the prodigal. I haven’t done so by design—it’s all God’s handiwork, which means there must be a reason for it! I do love a good reclamation story, don’t you?

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