Review: When in Rome by CJ Duggan

The fourth standalone novel in CJ Duggan's Heart of the City series takes us to Rome. Twenty-two year old Sammi (who is the younger sister of Clare, whose story is told in Paris Lights,) has just impulsively booked a tour of Rome through a dodgy travel agent, but has no idea just how awful her stay in a backpackers hostel will be. While Sammi is a bit on the quiet side, the others on the tour are younger, heavy drinkers and worst of all, Jodie, the group's mean girl has it in for her. And then she meets Marcello, a handsome local. But what they have can only be a fling, can't it? And is Marcello the cause, rather than the solution, of her problems?

Although this was enjoyable lightweight reading, this one felt to me like the weakest so far of all of the Heart of the City novels. The chemistry between Sammi and Marcello never felt quite as strong as it could--in places it felt as though the characters were simply going through the motions because this was a romance novel. I also felt that Jodie's character was never properly explained--there were no reasons given for her nastiness and nor did she get any real comeuppance. On the other hand, there were a few moments that made me smile and the author has a real sense of fun.

For fans of the series.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2018

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