"Moonlight on the water, champagne, soft Mediterranean nights..."
The French Riviera beckons enticingly in summer to those who travel
by private luxury yacht and to those who are armchair travelers.
Sailing to Capri aboard the megayacht Blue Boat will spoil
the reader with decadent luxury --- a wine cellar, "a
glass-enclosed piano bar, which slowly revolved to take in the
view," and Picasso and Matisse art enhancing the pale aqua and
tawny sand and ivory color scheme.
New York Times bestselling author and world traveler Elizabeth
Adler has established a niche of romance novels set in the
luxurious destinations along the Cote d'Azur. SAILING TO CAPRI is
the latest in her series, including SUMMER IN TUSCANY, INVITATION
TO PROVENCE, THE HOTEL RIVIERA and THE HOUSE IN AMALFI.
Sailing to Capri millionaire-style would not be complete without
romance, mystery and fine wines. Adler describes lavish suites
aboard the yacht with private stewardesses to cater to every
desire, a master chef to prepare the freshest catch from the local
markets of the ports in Monte Carlo, Saint-Tropez and Sorrento.
This cruise, however, has an added bonus of $100,000 for each guest
on this invitation only trip to "celebrate the life of Sir
Robert Hardwick." At the end of the cruise in Capri, Hardwick's
will is to be read at his Villa Belkiss. Each guest has reason to
believe he or she will be the recipient of one of Forbes's richest
English mega-tycoon Sir Robert Hardwick begins receiving
threatening emails and suspects someone from his past may harm him.
Before his mysterious and sudden car accident, he leaves
instructions with a private investigator and friend, Harry Montana,
for six people to be invited on a Mediterranean cruise aboard a
private yacht to celebrate his life --- and to reveal his killer.
The guests include his ex-wife, his ex-mistress, his first true
love, an ex-business friend, an ex-business partner, and an
ex-friend. The characters are a diverse group whose secrets and
vices have nearly destroyed them. "Each of them has a flaw. And
each one resents me, even though I did what I thought best for
them." Bob's influence on the people in his life is explored and
the effect money plays in relationships, friendships and
Daisy Keane, Bob's personal assistant and best friend, is to host
this luxury cruise along with Harry Montana, the "kind of man you
could put in any town in the world and he'd know the best places to
go." And because every good beach read is expected to contain sex
and sizzle, those "places to go" would include Daisy's cool suite
aboard the Blue Boat with "curtains drawn against the
afternoon sun." As Adler assembles the characters for the five-day
cruise to Capri, including Daisy's best friend Bordelaise, we are
treated to the scents, sounds, mist, café's and palazzos of
Nice, Venice and Málaga.
The romance between Harry Montana and Daisy Keane sails along
slowly but surely. There is no dynamic meeting of the two as in one
of Adler's previous novels, THE HOTEL RIVIERA, where Lola
Laforêt is privy to a naked man --- the intended love interest
--- diving into the cool, blue Mediterranean sea. In a novel with a
stop at the port of Saint-Tropez, France, the destination
"synonymous with sex, sun, and sand," I would have liked a steamier
romance, but Adler chooses to focus more intently on the suspects.
"All the suspects were beginning to reveal their true selves. And
their motives for murder."
Listed by Concierge.com as one of the World's Sexiest Beaches 2006,
and known for topless bathing, leather-skinned Lotharios and
pert-breasted starlets, Saint-Tropez is beach chic, the
ultimate Mediterranean destination, appropriately spotlighted in
SAILING TO CAPRI. Daisy invites best friend Bordelaise for "Beach.
Swimming. Lunch. Wine drinking. People watching. Maybe a little
light shopping later..." Adler's writing is so vivid that the
"ambience of pampered wealth and power" transports the reader to
their very own coveted spot on the "umbrella-dotted beach" among
the "beautiful people."
Daisy makes a reservation at the infamous Le Club 55, made famous
by Brigitte Bardot and her film crew when they were shooting And
God Created Woman. Adler provides an insider's experience of
what a day on the Riviera among topless Bain de Soleil mistresses
and jet-setters at "the classiest and most popular beach club in
Saint-Tropez" is like --- pure indulgence mixed with pure sensual
pleasure. These scenes were among my favorites.
Equally magnificent is Adler's description of a restaurant in
Sorrento. "The inn was swagged in purple bougainvillea, with lemon
trees in pots and tables under shady red awnings." The aura, the
flora and fauna, and food of the Mediterranean sparkles through the
chapters of SAILING TO CAPRI as brilliantly as the sun reflects off
the azure waters.
The murderer is an unexpected surprise and the final letters to
Bob's guests revealing. As a result of their relationships with
Bob, each is given a second chance, courtesy of Bob's will. "Bob
was always there with a helping hand when a guy needed it." In the
end, a letter from Bob to Daisy affirms the role money can play in
a person's life. "Let me tell you what money does. It buys freedom.
Freedom from want and freedom from worry. It does not, as they
always so rightly say, buy happiness." SAILING TO CAPRI is a
sensual beach read, Riviera-style.
Reviewed by Hillary Wagy on January 23, 2011
Sailing to Capri