In 2013 Mills & Boon relaunched their RIVA line with Modern Tempted (called Harlequin KISS in the States), an imprint that held echoes of the Temptation novels of the 80s and 90s, and the sexiness of the Modern Heat series from the 00s.
Whether as RIVA or as Modern Tempted, I adored the books and was incredibly upset when the line stopped publishing two years ago.
So this month I’m taking a look back at the authors of Modern Tempted, at the books they wrote then, and what they’re up to now…
I’m half-Italian, so it makes perfect sense that my favourite Liz Fielding Modern Tempted would be Flirting with Italian:
Could stepping into the past make your future perfect?
Sarah’s been dumped. Unceremoniously. Painfully. A romantic at heart and a historian by profession, Sarah has always wondered about her grandfather’s wartime romance in Italy. Who was that brave woman who cared for him during the war? Clearly this is the time to heal her wounds with the trip of a lifetime to Rome.
Armed only with a photo of the house her grandfather stayed in, the village, and the name Lucia, Sarah sets out to find her…and meets the beautiful Italian count Matteo di Serrone there. Now here’s a man who could move Sarah on from her broken heart! It’s a fairy-tale romance, until Sarah realises she’s made the most rookie mistake of all: falling in love with her holiday fling…
Setting is so important to me in a novel; perhaps more so than the different tropes that there are… I can get behind any trope if it’s written well, but setting? Setting is key.
And particularly so for novels set in Italy. It’s such a part of my heritage and my heart, that when done well, it feels like I’ve come home. And Fielding does this perfectly in Flirting with Italian. She captures the vivacity of Rome, and the tranquility of Italian villages in way that’s really quite remarkable.
And married with the characters of Sarah and Matteo, it makes for perfect reading. Sarah’s been dumped and so she’s decided to take a holiday; to get away and explore the old wartime romance story that her grandfather told her. And when she meets Italian count Matteo, she can’t help but fall for him, just as she’s falling for her surroundings…
Fielding’s other Modern Tempted books include:
- For His Eyes Only (When Natasha’s professional reputation ends up in tatters, she’ll do anything to restore it, even if it means trying to persuade gorgeous artist Darius to sell his ancestral home. But he’ll only do so if she poses for him…)
- Anything but Vanilla (Sorrel’s determined to make her summer event a success, and she’s sure that champagne sorbet is the answer! But when the owner of the ice cream palour disappears, it falls to Alexander West to try and help pull things together!)
- The Last Woman He’d Ever Date (Claire will do anything to put bread on the table, even if it means selling her soul and working as a gossip columnist, but when her subject is Hal, will she be able to compartmentalise work and play…?)
- Tempted by Trouble (When playboy Sean turns up on Elle’s doorstep with a pink and white ice cream van for her, Elle’s tempted to run like crazy!)
So what’s Liz been up to since the end of Modern Tempted?
Both Sorrel and Elle’s stories have spawned spin-offs and sequels:
- Vettori’s Damsel in Distress (When Angelica Amery arrives in Milan, she discovers to her horror that the apartment she rented in advance just doesn’t exist! Lucky, Italian bar owner Dante comes to her rescue…)
- Rosie’s Little Book of Ice Cream (Filled with fun facts, recipes and quotes about ice cream, Rosie the ice cream van from Tempted by Trouble, is back!)
- Melting Mr Frosty’s Heart (We first met Ria and Graeme in Anything by Vanilla, and Sorrel’s parting gift to them both was to tell Graeme of Ria’s love for the opera… This novella catches up with them when he decides to ask Ria to accompany him to the opera in Covent Garden…)
Liz Fielding’s also written a book about writing:
Focusing on the romance genre, Fielding takes us through her dos and don’ts of romance: from honest emotion, touches of humour, to adding that little bit of sizzle…
And she’s also recently published a delightful romance, set in the grounds of Beaumont Court, A Summer’s Lease:
When Charlotte meets Matthew Ryan, the new baronet of Beaumont Court, she can’t believe that he’s got no interest in the beautiful Tudor building that he’s inherited. He’s also horrified when he realises that he’s stuck with her and the house until the end of the summer…
She’s also got a new Cherish, due out in February, that is available for pre-order now, The Sheikh’s Convenient Princess:
In order for Ibrahim to reconcile with his father, he must find a wife – and fast! His assistant, Ruby, seems perfect, but will his temporary marriage turn into something a little more permanent…?
Liz Fielding met her husband when they were working in Zambia and were both members of the Lusaka Theatre Club. He was playing John de Stogumber in St Joan, and she was the pageboy to the Earl of Warwick. He swore it was the purple tights that got him. She wishes she had a photograph. Sadly none exist.
They travelled a lot in Africa and the Middle East then they had babies and settled down back home, first in Wales and now in Wiltshire.
She started writing when the children were small and her first romance, An Image of You, was set in Kenya, in a place where they’d spent many happy weekends on safari. It was plucked from the slush pile because the feisty heroine made her editor laugh. Emotion touched with humour has been the hallmark of her work ever since.
They now live in Wiltshire, within the magic circle of Glastonbury, Stonehenge, Avebury and the ancient hot springs at the heart of the city of Bath.