Ariana by Emma NicholsAriana by Emma Nichols is a second chance romance story that underscores the importance of letting your heart guide your decisions instead of financial gains and reconnecting with your soulmate.

Ariana Carter-Cruz is tired—emotionally, physically and financially. After her long and drawn out divorce, she is just happy that she can finally move on with her life and get as far away as possible from her domineering mother and her ex-husband. Ariana saw the answer to all of her troubles when she learned that her grandmother Sophia had left her entire estate to her. Ariana decided to claim her inheritance, sell the estate and use the money to give her daughter and herself a new beginning and the life they have always dreamed about. Nikki Kefalas was the last person Ariana expected to see because she thought that Nikki would have left the island of Sakros years ago and she would have moved on with someone else.

The passion Nikki and Ariana once shared is far from over. A young couple has just set out on the journey of love and their budding romance is in full bloom but Ariana’s plans for her grandmother’s estate could threaten their relationship, the island’s stability and tear families apart. Will Ariana allow the history of heartbreak and loneliness to repeat itself? Will Ariana allow her financial situation to cloud her judgement or will she open her heart to Nikki and let love lead the way?

The Characters

Nikki Kefalas is a harbor master and she also owns a cozy tavern on the Greek island of Sakros. Her tavern is the place where all the locals and tourists go to whenever they want a good meal and great company. Nikki is so passionate about everything she does and she cherishes the people who are near and dear to her. I just love Nikki’s feisty and fun-loving personality! She wears her heart on her sleeve and she is not afraid to go after what she wants and I admire her selflessness—Nikki really loves her home and she would go above and beyond to see the island thrive.

Ariana Carter-Cruz owns the beautiful white house on the hill and a bountiful olive plantation. She has been under so much stress because of her recent divorce and she has a very strained and hostile relationship with her mother. I’m going to be totally honest here, my first impression of Ariana was not a good one because she came across as a fickle and unreliable person. My opinion of her changed when I learned more about her past and I realized that she is a very strong and phenomenal woman who has carried so much pain in her heart for such a long time.

The Writing Style

Nothing beats a vivid description of a breathtaking tropical island! (Wait a minute, I take that back… a detailed description of any culinary delights along with wonderful descriptions of the sun, sand and sea will take first place!) The author did a fabulous job of bringing all of the characters to life for me and she also gave me a peek into the hearts and minds of these amazing women.

The Pros

The laid back and quiet life on the island made me want to see it with my own eyes and the lovely descriptions of the beach and the harbor is so similar to the island where I live. I just have a thing for sprucing up stuff and making them look brand new again and that’s why I enjoyed reading this story. I got to learn about the time-consuming process and the steps that should be taken when someone is renovating a boat or a beautiful, historic house.

The Cons

There were one or two lags in the storyline that could have been tightened up a bit.

The Conclusion

aprils favourite booksThis novel gave me way more than I expected because it is so much more than a tale about love and loss. There are so many life lessons and nuggets of wisdom thrown in here for good measure. At first, I was a bit overwhelmed by Nikki and Ariana’s turbulent emotions and their confusing behavior but the more I read, the more I came to love these adorable, vulnerable and flawed women.

Excerpt from Ariana by Emma Nichols

With fury driving her, she marched out of her apartment, across the beach ignoring Pops, and started to climb the sandy path. Reaching the top, the lights from the house guided her to the front door. Her eyes fixed on the blue wooden door, her fist thumped down repeatedly, until it opened.

“Nikki!” Ariana gasped, her hand swiftly covering her mouth, her eyes wide.

Nikki froze, the wind knocked out of her sails. Her mouth tried to move, but the words she had wanted to scream out were stuck, and she couldn’t swallow. Ariana’s dark brown eyes, peeking over the hand clamped to her mouth, had locked onto hers and took her breath away. The ash-blonde hair, resting lightly on narrow shoulders looked a little better coiffured than she remembered. Nikki’s racing heart surprised her too. She hesitated, trying to gain some sense of composure, a jelly-like feeling starting to challenge the muscles in her legs.

Ariana released her hand from her mouth and tried to stand taller than her five-feet-six-inches. It took all her resolve, and she still felt small, weak, and strangely confused.

The momentary distraction, which had thrown Nikki off course, lifted. “You’re selling,” Nikki asserted, her hands finding their way to hips and resting there, the tone in her voice a surprise. The anger that had driven her to stand at the blue door this late at night had shifted to something less intense, something far more vulnerable than she would have liked to admit.

“I err… Umm.” Ariana stood, dumbfounded, avoiding direct eye contact. Guilt warred with her desire to pull Nikki into her arms. Her hands were trembling. Her whole body was shaking. Guilt was winning.

“You’re selling?” This time it was a question and the tone more determined. Nikki stood her ground, her hands remaining steadfast on her hips, her eyes seeking the answer.

“Yes.” The response was timid, remorseful even. Ariana’s eyes lowered, and her hand lifted and rubbed at the back of her neck.

“Why?” Nikki asked.

The resonance in Nikki’s voice caused Ariana to flinch. It wasn’t just that she never justified her decisions to others, except perhaps to her mother, and then, of course, there was her ex-husband. There was something else though, something more profound and hauntingly pure in the tone that touched her. She gulped. She moved to speak but was interrupted.

“Hey Nikki,” Soph said, a broad grin on her face, rubbing at her hair with a towel, her presence instantly defusing the tension between the two women.

“Hi,” Nikki responded, more curtly than she intended.

“Mum, this is Nikki from fishing.”

“Yes.” Ariana said, trying to smile with her daughter, heat flushing her cheeks. She had known who Soph was referring to when she arrived home wet from her walk babbling about being bitten by a fish, but she hadn’t expected Nikki to turn up on their doorstep tonight and neither was she willing to engage in a conversation with her about the sale of the house in front of Soph.

“Did you catch any more fish?” Soph asked, enthusiastically.

Nikki smiled weakly. “No, I think you shocked them more than they shocked you,” she teased. She started to chuckle as the image of Soph sliding into the water and her response to being up close and personal with nature softened the atmosphere. Ariana was smiling, and the soft lines accentuating the almond shape of her dark brown eyes caused Nikki’s breath to hitch.

“Would you like to come in?” Ariana asked against her better judgement.

“Umm, no. It’s late. I umm, shouldn’t have come,” she added, starting to babble again. The conversation they needed to have could wait.

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781983251061
  • Publisher: Britain’s Next Bestseller

Emma Nichols Online

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Note: I received a free review copy of Ariana by Emma Nichols. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site.

About the author

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My name is April Adams and I am an accountant at a civil service office. Even though I read a wide variety of lesbian fiction, I enjoy mystery and thriller books the most because I love the state of suspense the stories have me in until the end and I find out “who’s done it.”