Floria (Book 1: The Levanté Sisters Series)
There were several factors that came together to inspire Floria, and indeed the Levante sisters series. I live in beautiful Surrey (in the U.K.) and wanted to set a novel amongst the rolling hills, sprawling properties with their golden facades and quaint little villages with picturesque churches and twinkling streams. With Floria (and the subsequent books, I was given the chance.)
One hazy afternoon last summer, I was sitting on a bench in the terraced gardens in Richmond, and thought of a story about a famous opera singer. Someone who put their career before anything else, even her own children. Someone who was so driven to succeed that music became her only love. Her name became Serena Levanté.
This woman had two facades, a public one and a private one. Publicly, she was a brilliant singer, world renown, a ‘National Treasure’, but privately she held dark secrets…
Pregnant at seventeen she gave her twins up for adoption, not knowing or caring where they went. Then again, a few years later, she abandoned her third daughter to her Spanish lover, compensating him financially to raise their child. It was only Floria, several years later, who grew up in the family home in Surrey, but who suffered cruelly due to her mother’s neglect.
Floria was raised by au pairs and the kindly Italian housekeeper, Violeta, then sent off to boarding school at a young age. Despite all this, Floria has a happy, breezy manner, a bubbly personality and is socially very well-liked. She is something of a wild child though, a flamboyant party-girl, with a desperate need for attention. It’s no wonder, really, given her upbringing. Too much money, too little love.
I also made her voluptuous, not your normal skinny IT girl. This was so she could learn to shine, as herself, and succeed in her own right. Her journey is one of self-discovery and self-love, as well as a romantic one.
When Serena Levante dies under mysterious circumstances, her past is revealed in a blaze of publicity. Who murdered her? Was it for a missing painting? Who are these illegitimate children she left her fortune to? The press have a field day and Floria is caught in the middle of it. On top of all this, she’s still reeling from her boyfriend dumping her for being a ‘bimbo’, and a liability to his politicking career.
At her mother’s funeral, Floria meets her half-sisters, Mimi, Donna and the feisty Carmen, all very talented musically (of course). Mimi is a pop singer, Donna a violinist and Carmen opera (like the mother she hates). Floria is the only one who does not posses their mother’s phenomenal talent.
So the first book in the series, Floria, starts with the heroine in a state of devastation. Dumped, dumbstruck by her mother’s death and the subsequent revelation of her three half-sisters… And of course, then there is the hunky finance whizz, Josh, who has the potential to make everything better… or much much worse, and send Floria flying into a downward spiral – which is why it would be much better for all concerned, if she could just stay away from him. But we all know that’s never going to happen… 🙂
Floria is out 7th March!!
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