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Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
Cadenza is the sixth book in the Rockliffe historical romance series by Stella Riley, a novel with a web of complex relationships and fascinating characters. While the story explores different romantic developments, it centers on Julian, a virtuoso harpsichordist and handsome young man who is conned by an unscrupulous law firm into leaving his musical career, the one thing he lives for, and to return home “briefly,” but it is too late when he notices that he has been tricked. Now a reluctant young earl, he inherits a crumbling estate. Can he pay off the debts and restore the estate to its former glory? Follow this character as he learns to live and work with his tenants, building new relationships, and transforming life around him one day at a time and from one crisis to another. Also discover as his heart opens to a love he never saw coming.
Stella Riley has the gift of engaging readers with very sophisticated and realistic characters. The premise is strong: an introverted young man who lives for music is uprooted from his world and entrusted with a responsibility he has never dreamed about. Julian is a character that will fascinate readers; he keeps to himself, speaks little. He is ruthlessly honest and has a unique sense of fairness and justice. The romance between Julian and Belle develops at a speed that keeps the reader very interested. The author uses subplots to create suspense, shifting from one story line to the next. While readers are delighted to follow Julian and Belle, there is the evolving romance between Belle’s sister, Lizzie, and Ralph, Earl of Sherbourne. Backstory is intelligently written to enrich the narrative and it never comes across as a distraction from the main story line. The prose in Cadenza is gorgeous and it combines with the interesting cast of characters and the compelling themes to make for a delightful read.