Orphan of the Olive Tree
A blood oath to wed their first-born children binds the Benevento and Ventura families. When Prudenza Benevento learns her nemesis, Felicia Ventura, is pregnant, she curses her with the evil eye. Later, Felicia gives birth to twin sons. Jealous, Prudenza resurrects an ancient superstition that unidentical twins can only come from different fathers. The scandal tears apart Felicia’s marriage and makes her an outcast in the small village where they live.
Soon Prudenza becomes pregnant. To her horror, she gives birth to twin daughters. Desperate to save herself from the same scandal that ruined Felicia, she swears the midwife to secrecy and forever banishes one daughter. With only a gold ring and a brocade blanket as clues to the infant’s past, the midwife leaves the child and the items in an olive tree in front of a small convent. The nuns lovingly name the child Olivia and raise her.
Years later, in a shocking encounter, Olivia meets a young man named Luca Ventura. When an act of God nearly kills her, it is Luca who comes to her rescue. Soon, neither can deny their love for each other. When she learns she is with child, Luca vows to forever care for her and the child, but cannot wed her because he is already betrothed to Giustina Benevento. Despite Olivia’s disappointment, their love for each other proves strong. Olivia places her faith in Luca and goes with him to his new villa to start a new life. Luca loves Olivia more than life itself. He is desperate to break his betrothal, but the blood oath and Church laws make it impossible.
As the date of Luca’s wedding draws near, the secrets of Olivia’s secret past surface. Long buried secrets are exposed in a twist of fate no family member can anticipate.
(123,000 words; e-book $3.99 USD, paperback $16.99 USD)