Tess Delaney, a professional treasure hunter, loves her job and her life in San Francisco but everything is turned upside down the day she discovers the grandfather she has never met intends to leave her half of his estate in his will. Tess is also shocked to learn she will be sharing the land with her half-sister, Isabel, someone else she never knew existed.
When Tess travels to Bella Vista to meet her ailing grandfather and sister, she discovers the estate is on the point of bankruptcy. While going through their grandfather’s papers, Tess and Isabel uncover secrets which lead them back to Denmark during the Nazi occupation and the possible existence of a lost Faberge egg that just might save Bella Vista. Tess must use all of her skills to track down the egg before the bank forecloses on Bella Vista but she has precious little information to go on and the only person who can help her is in a coma.
As well as tracking down the egg, Tess finds herself being drawn into the way of life at Bella Vista, something a self-confessed city girl like her never would’ve imagined, but she cannot deny her outlook is slowly changing. However, Tess has no plans to stay permanently at Bella Vista despite her growing attraction to their very handsome neighbour, Dominic Rossi, who just happens to work for the bank trying to foreclose on them. Tess doesn’t really understand the concept of family as she was raised by her grandmother in Ireland while her single mother travelled the world but seeing Dominic with his children awakens a yearning within her.
I have to admit to being a wee bit confused about Tess’s ancestry as she seems very American in the story despite having being raised in Ireland and only having come to America to attend college. Being in Ireland until her late teens, I would’ve expected Tess to have had an Irish accent, yet it is never mentioned. In the same way, Tess wistfully remembers all those Thanksgiving dinners she missed out on having with her peripatetic mother, but why would she even care since Thanksgiving is not an Irish tradition?
The romance between Tess and Dominic is engaging enough but it takes a backseat to the family dynamics. I have to say a lot of the secrets are telegraphed making the plot very predictable at times but it didn’t spoil my overall enjoyment.
This book should also come with a warning as there is a great deal of food prepared throughout, complete with recipes, all of which made me incredibly hungry while reading.