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March 1, 2012

RHA Presents Written In Stone by Viviane Brentanos

 Dumped five days before her wedding,

Cassandra Hall decides not to waste the honeymoon.  She sets off to London. What was supposed to be her dream week turns into a nightmare time of introspect, self-doubt. Then she meets James, literally falling at his feet in an attempt to save his Afghan hound from colliding head on with the traffic.

James is witty, charming, too good-looking and also--not available. Despite this, Cassie is captivated by him. What follows is a week of fun, companionship and a bonding that Cassie has never experienced.
James, sensing Cassie’s unhappiness, goes out of his way to make up for her jerk of a fiancé’s rejection.  He is drawn to her vulnerability--something he finds disturbing, threatening to shatter all he thought he knew about himself.  Cassie, he senses, is falling in love with him. He ought to back away but cannot. Cassie bravely makes her true feelings known and when he rejects her, he knows he has broken her heart. He is left confused, guilty because....James has a secret.
(Please read excerpt after About Author)
My Review

Written In Stone
Viviane  Brentanos

First of all, my favorite line in the whole book was when James said to Cassie "I am going to love you my Snow White". That one statement sent my blood to boiling over, and believe me, it didn't help any that I had no 'other' here with me. 

I want to tell you firstly, you cannot predict in which direction this book will take you, no matter how many books you have in your library or how many romance books you've read, there are parts in that will totally make your jaw drop, and say, "no way"! It has so many things going on emotion wise, it's and I know this is 'atypical' like a roller coaster ride! I was happy, then I was shocked, a few times I wanted to cry and some times I wanted to yell.  I don't get to read and review romance novels real often not because I don't like the genre, but because I have no 'other' in my life and frankly sometimes they can pull on the heart strings. And believe me, Written In Stone just about pulled mine out completely! I felt so exhausted by the time I was done reading it, and yet I felt a large fluttering in my heart and stomach, and that feeling stayed with me all day. It made my day a melancholy day, and brought bad feelings of old, and even made me miss a few people in my life.

Viviane Brentanos, I give you a round of applause for the imagination and the heart you put into this book. You put the reader so very deep into the book, you make them feel the joy, the pain, and the tears they feel. You put twists and turns in this book that I never saw coming and I can usually predict how they are going to turn out or who is going to do what. But you had me holding my breath right up until the end.

I HIGHLY recommend this book if you want to experience all of the things I have written here. And needless to say, you will not  regret it!!

I without bow without hesitation and give Written In Stone five stars *****

Reviewed by
Nora Chipley Barteau
Reviewers Helping Authors

About the Author Viviane Brentanos

 I was born in Reading UK in 1958. My father is English and my mother is French although there is a strong vein of Spanish on my maternal grandmother's side. I was educated at various schools before completing Sixth Form College at St Peter's Huntingdon. I somehow managed to collect A levels in English, French and History and I subsequently won a place at Sheffield University where I decided to read Classical Civilization. Once there, however, I decided that I had had enough of the academic life; I found the student mentality rather false and having been brought up in student circles, rather boring.
Much to my mother's horror, I gave up my studies and went to London to begin a course as a Canine Beautician. In 1984, my first husband and I parted ways amicably and I decided to visit the Ionian island of Corfu to celebrate my new freedom. It proved to be a life-changing decision. I still remember to this day, sitting in a café-bar, overlooking the crystal clear azure sea and saying to my friend. "I never want to leave here". And here, I still am. I am now married again, to a Greek, Alexander {not the Great}, and I have two teenage children, 2 dogs and 4 cats and I absolutely love the life-style here. I would recommend it to anyone.

In 2005,I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer - for the SECOND time in 5 years. It is when you are faced with your own mortality that one begins to put one's life into perspective. Thankfully, God was yet again on my side and I am now in full remission. But I decided that there was more to me than being a mother {although, I hasten to add, it is a worthy assignment.} I decided to finally get my head down and do what I'd always promised myself; I was going to finish a novel. I have been writing romance since my early teens, mostly for my own satisfaction and for my friends but now I really want to work at it. Writing has become my passion. I have always been a "Romantic", often accused of not living in the real world but who wants to do that? I like to call my work Romance with a quirky, humorous Brit twist and I am always striving to make my characters real, characters we can all relate to.

I still fly back to the UK at least twice a year - especially if Darren Hayes {my other passion} is performing but I have to say that my heart is now in Greece. I suppose with so much Mediterranean blood flowing through my veins, I didn't stand a chance against this magical Island. The imaginary island of Kuros, featured in my new release Dreamweek has been inspired by my beloved Corfu and I hope it will inspire you all to visit..

Excerpt from Written In Stone 

 Watercolour grey light filtered through the gap in the partially drawn curtains, collecting pinpricks of dust in its shadowy fingers. Despite the warmth of the room, Cassie shivered. So much for the promised Indian summer. Served her right for believing the Channel Four weather girl. Perhaps if Annika—or whatever her name was—spent more time on studying the met office predictions than on her daily wardrobe, she might occasionally get it right.  Cassie sniffed. Not that the weather mattered. She wasn’t going anywhere—except perhaps home. Staying in London was a stupid idea.
Glancing at her watch, she winced. Ten a.m.? She’d slept through breakfast and dinner. Her grumbling stomach was proof. For the first time in days, a dreamless slumber had left her strangely calm. She was done reliving that nightmare of a week. Swallowing against a parched throat, she rubbed at gritty eyes. Knees folded under her butt, she shuffled across the bed and reached for the phone. “Okay Martin,” she punched down to reception, “let’s see if this hotel is worth the price you paid. Hello… I would like some coffee sent up, please. Java, naturally and some fresh croissants—French. Yes now! Thank you.” She fell back against the mountain of pillows and giggled. Well Martin did say she had to learn to be more assertive.

Hands folded, her arms behind her head, she stared up at the nymphs and cupids frolicking in Arcadia. Someone’s idea of tasteful art? She wanted to vomit. “Well, Cass.” She wriggled her nose. “Today is the first day of the rest of your life, so what are you going to do about it?”
Perched on her left shoulder, Miss Self-Doubt whispered gleefully in her ear. “Nothing, you pathetic, weak creature! As always.”
She was right, of course. All Cassie’s life she’d been a doormat, first bending to her mother’s will and then, although he’d been more subtle, to Martin’s.

A faint tapping inside her skull made her sit up.
Miss Kick-Ass shoved Self-Doubt off her perch. “Oh pur-lease!” she hissed. “Get off your cross, you poor excuse of a woman. Take control. You’re young, bright. Tell the world to go and screw itself.”
Cassie chortled. She liked this new inner voice of reason. Swinging her legs round, she jumped to her feet. “You are so right.”

She wandered over to the dressing table mirror, feet buried in thick cream carpet. Dragging her fingers through turbulent tresses, she frowned. “Oh well, that’s a hundred quid’s worth of extortionist stylist down the drain.”  But then she doubted even ten cans of hairspray could have saved her coiffure from the ravages of her mad flight across the rain-battered park. She couldn’t help a glimmer of mean satisfaction from sparking. If her mother could see her now, she’d reach for her happy pills.
A too pale face jumped out at her, making her draw in her breath. Dark smudges betrayed the days of fitful sleep and endless tears. “Damn you, Martin!” Reaching out, she stroked the cheek of this stranger staring back at her. A sigh clawed its way to the back of her throat.  Clenching her fists, Cassie swallowed it away, banishing it, she hoped forever, along with the fresh wave of loneliness lapping at her heart. “I can do this,” she whispered. “I know I can.”

She dressed with meticulous care, as she laid out outfit after outfit on top of the bed. Most she discarded into a crumpled heap, throwing them back into her suitcase. She didn’t have to dress to please Martin any more. Adrenalin kicked in as she reveled in her newfound freedom. Grabbing her much beloved and missed worn and scuffed jeans, she held them against her chest, glad she’d sneaked them in when Martin’s back was turned. He abhorred her in trousers of any shape or size. Well there was no more Martin, and as she wriggled her legs into the skinny jeans, she began to wonder if it was such a bad thing after all. Pulling the ecru polo neck over her head, she decided not. At least she got to wear her worn and cracked tan boots—flat boots.

Next, hair. She gathered her unruly mane back off her face and tamed it into a sleek French plait. It was a look Martin hated. He was more of a catwalk siren man. “Mmm,” Cassie twisted and turned. “Very ‘Town and Country.’”  Reaching for her make-up bag, her hand hovered over the expensive array of beauty products. Mouth twisted into a rebellious pout, she tipped the entire contents into the wastepaper bin. Some chambermaid was about to have her day made. “I am no one’s mannequin,” she whispered.

The mirror challenged her. A salon perfect eyebrow arched. “Are you sure about this?”
“Okay so I am not a total masochist.” Rummaging in the basket, she retrieved the mascara.
Five minutes later, she studied her reflection, satisfied. A confident, poised young woman met her stare head on. Cassandra Hall had neither room nor need of men in her life. Placing her fingers against the doppelganger image, she smiled. “Me, myself and I. That’s how it’s going to be.”
The internal phone rang out, and she jumped back into uncertain reality.

“I am so sorry to disturb you, but there is a Mr. McIntyre in reception who wishes to speak to you.”
Cassie froze. Was Martin up to his old tricks again? She wouldn’t put it past him to send someone to check up on her. He treated her like a child. “I don’t know any Mr. McIntyre,” she snapped.
“One moment please.”

She strained to hear the muffled conversation.
“Yes, sir…certainly, sir…Hello? I am sorry, madam, but Mr. McIntyre is most insistent. He wishes me to tell you Madonna is anxious to thank you for saving her life.”
Cassie’s fingers tightened around the receiver, her knuckles white against the oyster pink of her French manicured nails. How had he found her?


  1. What a marvelous review for Viviane's book! Definitely will have to read this one. I appreciate twists and turns too. I love the phrases you used in your review--putting the reader deep into the body of the book and pulling out your heart strings..That is powerful.

  2. I enjoyed the excerpt. Way to go, Viviane!

  3. Congratulations, Viviane!! It's been on my TBR list. And 5 stars is always terrific to get!! Hope you enjoy your new home for awhile. Not sure I want the flying haggis though.:)