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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Guest Post by Ella Quinn! + Review of Desiring Lady Caro

I have the pleasure of welcoming author Ella Quinn on my blog again, for her new release Desiring Lady Caro! Ella will be sharing a fantastic recipe today. ^_^

Desiring Lady Caro by Ella Quinn
Release Date: April 1st
Amazon | Goodreads
Haunted by her past, Lady Caroline Martindale fled England for the solace of her godmother's palazzo in Venice. But if Caro was hoping to escape the charms of marriage-minded men, she's come to the wrong place. And she'll resort to extreme measures to spurn the advances of a dangerously determined Venetian marquis... 

Though most of his friends have married off, Gervais, Earl of Huntley, remains bent on eluding the parson's mousetrap. But his convictions begin to falter when he arrives in Venice and meets his match in the alluring Lady Caro. What began as a hastily concocted lie to save her from the marquis may become a chance for them both to relinquish their fear - and embrace what they can no longer deny...

Hi Mary, thank you so much for having me back on your blog!

As you know, because you’ve already read the book, there is a lot of food. As anyone who has spent great deal of time traveling knows, one almost lives for meals, when you can take a break. Since Caro and Huntley spend most of their time on the run, food plays a prominent role.
The first meal they have together after leaving Venice is in Padua, which part of the Veneto. They specialize in rice dishes, commonly called risotto. Here is a recipe for mushroom risotto, Veneto style that tastes almost exactly like the risotto I’ve eaten in a restaurant on the road between Vicenza and Padua. Note the difference in spelling due to the dialect.

Risoto de Fongi
6 oz Arborio rice
3 /4 oz dried Porcini mushrooms
1 medium onion – finely chopped
3 oz butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 glass of dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a starter

  1. Soak the wild mushrooms in 1 pint of boiling water and leave to stand for at least half an hour.
  2. Melt 2 oz of butter with the olive oil in a heavy saucepan.  Soften the onion.
    1. Carefully strain the mushrooms, and heat the soaking water, plus a further 1 /2 pint of water and 1 /2 teaspoon of salt in a separate saucepan. Chop the mushrooms coarsely, and add to the softened onions and fry for 2 minutes.
    2. Add the rice and stir over medium heat until the grains become translucent (about 2 minutes).Add the glass of wine and pour one for yourself, while letting the alcohol evaporate and absorb into the rice.
Mary: Ooh, what a lovely recipe! I'm not much of a cook (okay, I don't know how to cook), but I think I can make this. Hopefully. :D Now, for my review...
Gervais, Earl of Huntley, plans to marry only when he is coerced into producing an heir for his future marquisate, which is to say, not in a long while. The recent marriages of his friends (fellow heroes of Ella Quinn's previous books) had him wanting to escape England for a while. So, why not tour the Continent and visit his Aunt Horatia in Italy as well?

Upon arriving at Horatia's residence, he sets eyes on Horatia’s goddaughter, the most beautiful woman he had ever met – Lady Caroline Martindale, who is repelled by his touch, but her frosty demeanor only makes him more intrigued by her. While Gervais is curiously ready to abandon his bachelor state and court her, Caro simply wants him to go away. Yet, when a powerful, determined suitor (stalker) comes to claim Caro, she and Gervais must embark on a journey together to Paris, en route needing to get married, with Gervais the difficult challenge of convincing his bride to give him a chance.

If you’re in want of a fast-paced book, then look no further. Time in this novel is shaped like a “U,” fast paced in the beginning and end, but slower in the middle to allow for more character interactions. This technique is nicely utilized here, as Caro and Gervais are quickly thrust together with only each other on whom to depend. Gervais’s ploys to melt his Ice Maiden are coupled with his wishes to protect her, and under his care, Caro’s true self slowly emerges. For years, Caro was repulsed by a man’s touch, after being raped by a scoundrel (this is known early on). She repressed herself, lost the joys of life, only to be brought alive by Gervais’s rakish charm and caring heart. Of course, her being a chocoholic and Gervais’s Food Temptation plan must have helped. ;-)

The characters, while not overly complex, are a delightful treat in this Regency romance. The most remarkable aspect of Ella Quinn’s writing is her focus on a greater scale of characters, such as the giving the widowed Horatia her own secondary romance, and painting the villain as a kind father, making me wonder if the villain might possibly be redeemed at the end of the book.

In essence, this book feels like one of Heyer’s Regencies, set in a more exotic locale and with a distinctly European flair that suits both its setting and the characters, and enliven those readers who have found Regency England de trop.

Side note: If you’re feeling hungry, you can go look up some of the recipes mentioned in this book, and satisfy your physical hunger as well as your hunger for great reads. 
I hope you've enjoyed the recipe! Do share your own favorite treat/food/snack in the comments below! 


  1. The recipe sounds wonderful, except for the mushroom. Can't stand them. So excited for your release Ella!

    1. Hmm, add some parmesan and asparagus, Collette.

    2. Haha, Collette. :) I've actually been eating only mushrooms for two days....

  2. Wonderful review! Loved the excerpt-recipe sounds good too! Sounds like another fabulous release, Ella!

  3. Congrats on your release. I loved the review and such a great author!

  4. Wonderful interview, the recipe will find its way to my dinner table this week! For me Quinoa has become a big part of our lives...Here is a link to my favorite lunch/snack to have on hand or in the fridge. Very yummy. I am very excited about your book!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your recipe, Lisa!

  5. This book is next on my TBR list. Can't wait! We make risotto frequently at our house, so I'm excited to try this recipe.

  6. Thank you, Ally!! The recipe is really good!

  7. Love books that have something a little extra - especially food! Looking forward to reading the book and trying the recipe, Ella!

    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Lana!! I hope you enjoy both the book and the recipe!

    2. Thanks for coming, Lana. Hope you make a delicious meal. :)

  8. When I read it, I'll make sure that I've eaten. :) Sounds like another winner Ella. Thank you Buried Under Romance for the review. It's on the TBR pile.

    1. LOL, Eileen. I'll be posting recipes for several of the dishes mentioned during the blog tour.

    2. Thanks for coming, Eileen! :)

  9. Ella, do NOT redeem your villain. Yes, you gave him a moment of humanity with his son, but let's not forget the young girl he harmed. I can't follow recipes, too rule binding for me, but I do love this book.

    1. My thoughts exactly, Liza. :) Thanks for visiting.

  10. It's too late to redeem him now anyway, Liza, and I'm not going back. Thank you for loving the book and for commenting!

  11. Hi Ella!
    I'm sure that you already guessed that I already pre-ordered Desiring Lady Caro but what you may not know is that my other favorite thing to do (after reading your stories) is to cook and I love the recipe for Risoto de Fongi (and hopefully the Porcini mushrooms will be on sale for a change when I go grocery shopping this week!). My husband is Italian so I'm sure you already know that he's going to love when I make it for him! The best thing is that means he won't even complain when I'm more interested in reading Desiring Lady Caro than cooking so hopefully he'll forgive me when it "magically" appears on my Kindle in 2 days!

    Actually (besides cooking Italian recipes for him) my favorite thing to make is cherry-covered Cheese cake! I'm a Type I diabetic so I can't eat it myself but it's everyone's favorite treat during the holidays and believe me his family loves to celebrate holidays! PS: The "secret" ingredient is using crushed zeybach crackers instead of graham cracker crumbs in the recipe!).

    Congratulations on your up-coming release of another great book!

  12. Loved the recipe! I'm a nut for all kinds of Chinese food; preferably fried dumplings..and, same with Italian. Homemade gnocchi are my favorite.

    This topic is dangerous (Especially close to supper time)...I just sent my husband out for food. ; )

  13. Now this is a recipe I can try with no guilt :) And congrats on this review. "this book feels like one of Heyer's Regencies"?? Terrific!!

  14. Mmmm Risoto! Another great recipe!! Thanks Ella!



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