I’d like to continue my series on the inspirations behind my stories today and in honor of Fathers’ Day, talk a little about my motivation in writing “My Heart Still Surrenders.” Three incidents in the life of my great-great grandmother, the Contessina Carolina Antimori, provided the major plot line. Those three incidents included her father’s actions in disinheriting and disowning her after she acted contrary to his dictates. Family mythology has always branded the Count as a first rate SOB. He may well have been, but since I’m talking about a very distant grandfather here, I’d like to take a broader view. Admittedly, his actions are not those of a loving caring father, but it’s important to remember nineteenth century Italy was not kind to women and the Count was a man of his times.
Italian women born into upper class Italian society had no value as anything but chattel. They had no say over their lives. Women of that time possessed very little education beyond the basics and their expectations for their adult lives didn’t go beyond marriage to a man chosen by their fathers and the production of children. When Carolina took matters into her own hands, her father’s actions matched those of any man of his times. His character provided the perfect inspiration for my fictional heroine’s father and a foil for the hero who comes to her rescue. Navarre is my favorite character. He is a Basque who is a hired mercenary of questionable parentage, but he is the true gentleman while Carolina’s father, Count Aurelio who is born a nobleman, is the true bastard.
Emily-Jane hills Orford of Readers’ Favorite reviews awarded five stars to the story saying, "This is a thrilling historical romance set in late nineteenth-century Italy. Author Robbi Perna has taken aspects of her great-great grandmother's life, another Carolina, the Contessina Antimori. The historical facts that surround the story are very well researched. With a flair for artistry and the dramatic, the author has provided the reader with a very fast-paced plot that is also very informative. A great read. Well done!"