FeaturedContemporary Romance

Bella Cigna

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Fast-paced, fun, once in a lifetime escape filled with incredible characters, sights, and sounds. A leap of faith romance readers will love.

Wendi Dass's Bella Cigna is about Sarah Flynn, a government worker living in D.C., 33, married, and struggling with infertility.


The story starts with Sarah sitting in her cubicle at work regretting having ever left her dream job to work in a government office in Washington D.C. Once home for the night Sarah thinks she's alone as Philip her husband isn't expected home for another hour. Then a floorboard squeaks, a dresser drawer thuds, and Sarah rushes upstairs to find Philip home. Within seconds Sarah is left speechless as Philip tells her "I'm leaving you." Sarah asks "Is there someone else?" Philip nods as if to say yes. Her lips numb with tears burning her eyes she struggles to say something but nothing comes out. Finally, she yells "jerk" and throws a trinket box at him and he seems to smile, and then with tires squealing he's gone.


Three days later and everything has changed. No calls from Philip, no babies, and for Sarah her dreams gone forever. Thank goodness for Meredith, her best friend, and her mother who have offered to keep her company "while she gets settled."


After a day spent in one of her favorite museums, Meredith reminds Sarah of another dream she once had of traveling across Europe. Sarah had given up on that dream the day she married Philip. Meredith has a plan for her friend. Sarah doesn't know it yet, but in just a few days her life is about to change forever.


With their house under contract and separation papers in hand, Sarah sets in motion a plan to travel to Italy and teach English grammar for a year at Saint Theresa School. Upon arriving in Rome, Sarah meets Sister Maria, the head of the school, and fellow teacher Anna who is much younger and more carefree than Sarah. Later that day she tours her sparse classroom that she has just days to get in order and her modest one-room living quarters where she'll live for a year. In a couple of days, she'll meet her students and then Marco and Eduardo and begin to enjoy all the sights and sounds of Rome. Did I also happen to mention her mother is planning a visit soon? 


Wendi Dass's Bella Cigna is a luxuriously written escape to Rome. From the very first paragraph, I was 100% committed to Sarah's story and wanted the absolute best outcome for this carefully created and intensely drawn character. All the characters in Bella Cigna are rich in detail so much so you are instantly acquainted with them. I loved that she was teaching abroad and enjoyed the sight and sounds of life in Rome. I love her friendship with Anna, her respect for Sister Maria, and the fact her mother travels to be with her in Rome. Bella Cigna is a mix of fairytale and slow-brewing romance all wrapped up with a pretty bow and the feeling deep down in one's soul--that dreams can come true.

Reviewed by

Avid reader with a master's degree in strategic design and management working in accounting and finance. I live in Wisconsin with my husband of twenty-six years and a very energetic/comical tabby cat named Gabe. When not reading and writing reviews, I enjoy cooking, gardening, and nature.

About the author

Wendi Dass is a math professor and author from Virginia. Her writing interests include literary short stories, flash fiction, and novel-length women's fiction and romance. When she's not devising deceptively delicious problems for her students, she can be found drafting her latest story. view profile

Published on September 30, 2020

Published by The Wild Rose Press

80000 words

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Reviewed by