Author: Phillipa Fioretti
For One Night Only is Phillipa Fioretti’s latest release, available through Momentum Books. It weaves the tale of Ornella Ortenzi, an Australian actress with Sicilian roots, and British Hugh Calthorpe. Ornella is in Sicily on holiday before an important screen test in Rome when she meets the dashing archeologist Hugh. The two share an unorthodox first date on Stromboli to trek to the top of an active volcano and then spend one rather explosive night together before Hugh disappears from breakfast the next morning, leaving behind his phone and sunglasses.
Ornella is certain that something has happened to him, he hasn’t just run out on her, but she’s having trouble getting anyone to believe her and he can’t be reported as missing for at least 24 hours. Ornella is right, Hugh has been kidnapped and it is quite clear from the beginning why, and to an extent who, but Hugh does not put the pieces together. The things that go through his mind are utterly ridiculous in the circumstances and you have to wonder how he could possibly be so dense.
It may have only been one night that Hugh and Ornella shared but we soon discover that it was more than just a one night stand to both of them. The more we get to know them it seems that Hugh is capable of falling in love very easily and Ornella is scared to love because her career most definitely comes first. She needs to retain a bit of distance so that she can always put her career first.
Ornella knows that as an actress she very much has a shelf life so she is determined to make the most of her talent while she still can and everything else can follow. Her time in Sicily is limited because of a very important screen test, which she then throws away to try and track down Hugh which seemed very out of character for her.
There is such a lot of history in Italy and Fioretti writes the place, the people and the food beautifully. Her descriptions are rich and she certainly made the food sound mouthwatering but the sense of history is breathtaking. Hugh is working on a newly uncovered mosaic on the site of a luxury hotel development. The mosaic is a priceless ancient artefact that deserves recognition and preservation, it deserves a chance to see the light and be appreciated by the people but it is also a huge drawcard for rich collectors and art thieves.
Ornella’s behaviour seems out of character in her putting a man before her career but in some ways the way we learn to see her through the eyes of her childhood friend makes it seem less out of character and more an unwillingness to believe that she has been dumped. Her behaviour has her coming across as a little unhinged so it is easy for people not to take her seriously though she fast comes to realise that Hugh really is in danger, as is she.
For One Night Only was steeped in rich scenery, filled with action and quite fast paced yet there were times that I found it quite tedious. Hugh for one was painful at times, for a seemingly intelligent and knowledgeable man he was quite thick and his imagination is ridiculously fanciful. On the other hand he is resourceful and had some hidden talents that certainly came in handy.
The set-up and all of the behind the scenes info was quite well laidt out, there were some definite twists in there which I wasn’t expecting. An exciting escapist read to take you to far away and exotic locations filled with history, romance, intrigue and good food.