Blurb: Socialite Bellina Mazzanti Forde was the ultimate party girl—until she disappeared with Byron Brantley five years ago. Determined to find his brother, Jonathan Brantley has tracked Lina to a café in Naples and demands answers. Certain she's hiding something, Jonathan vows not to let Lina out of his sight until she agrees to help him, even if it takes all night. Though he doesn't trust her, he can't deny that he wants her—has always wanted her...
Happy in her new, simpler life, Lina didn't want to be found. Now that the past has caught up with her in the form of the sexy tycoon, she's torn between exploring the passion he arouses in her, and facing the secrets that caused her to flee New York.
The tension between them soon leads to a scorching affair, one they both know can't last. But when their search for Byron finds them tangling with the mob, Jon and Lina learn they have no one to trust but each other...
Learning to Trust is another superb read by Lynne Connolly, one I found very hard to put down. This is a cinematic read and I can easily see it as a fantastic movie. It has all the elements of wow-OMG-I-love-this-book syndrome, where I bit my nails several times and jiggled in my seat when the tension mounted, just like I would when watching a film.
The theme struck me particularly--wrong perceptions. Just because someone appears one way because of their actions or outside appearance, it certainly doesn't mean they are "that type of person". Learning to Trust brought that home extremely well without it being "in your face". Bellina is known for her crazy lifestyle, famous for it, in fact, but it isn't who she is inside and who she is allowed to become once she takes herself into hiding and out of the spotlight. She's one woman who thought she wanted to be famous and then when she was realised it wasn't for her. The simple life is more to her liking, and going back to the limelight isn't something she can see herself doing. She's a strong woman forced to face hard facts and sorrows, yet she carves a life out for herself despite it all. I loved her for that.
Jonathan, intent on finding his brother, meets up with Lina again, and finds he's still in love with her--more so as they spend time together. His brother's death isn't as simple as it first appears, and with amazing clarity, Lynne Connolly splashes a fantastic plot onto the pages that is thick with tension, rife with twists, and I was left breathless by the end of the book.
Verdict: A staggering book, one of the best for me this year. If you don't pick it up, you will, in my humble opinion, be missing out on one of the most professionally written books of 2011. She's on a whole other level.