REVIEW: Secret Santo by Carla Caruso

Published: December 2. 2014

Publisher: Destiny Romance (E-Penguin)

Pages: 54

Format: e-book – purchased

RRP: $1.99

5/5 Stars

Holly Plume is a bookseller by day and a romance blogger by night, dishing out scathing reviews under her pseudonym, Sultry Scarlet. When she scores an invite to the publishing event of the year, Holly couldn’t be more excited. Finally a chance to meet her favourite author, the mysterious thriller writer known only as AJ Ruffo.

When Holly literally falls into the arms of the mysterious and charming Santo Randolfi, she’s sure it must be AJ. After all, Santo has tousled good looks, dark curls, luscious lips . . . He’s exactly what she’d imagined. But when Santo reveals he’s actually the author of a romance novel Holly recently slammed on her blog, keeping her online identity a secret becomes vital.

As Holly struggles to keep Santo from learning the truth, she realizes just how much she likes him. But when he discovers who she is, will their relationship be over before it’s even begun?


Holly Plumb is a book shop assistant by day and a budding (anonymous) book blogger by night. So when she gets invited to an exclusive Christmas Eve party for Cisswood Publishing in Melbourne you can just imagine how excited she is. Add in to the mix that Christmas is her favourite time of the year and she hopes to meet her favourite author (A.J. Rufflo) at the party, and this is bound to be the best and biggest night of her year. But when her friend calls to say she’s sick and can’t make it,  Holly is forced to go to the party alone. Shy Holly’s confidence and comfort zones are quickly tested, as just by walking in through the doors sees her falling (literally) into the arms of one of the Publishing house authors. Only time will tell if she gets to meet her idol A.J. Rufflo or if the night is going to be yet another disaster.

It’s going to come as no surprise to anyone that knows me that this is exactly my kind of book. Being both a book shop assistant (in a big chain and thus sort of) and a book blogger I was able to easily identify with the main character Holly. Combine this with Carla Caruso’s creative storytelling and the seasons festive and romantic feel, it’s not hard to see why I loved it so much. That said, you don’t need to be either of the aforementioned positions (book shop assistant or a blogger) to appreciate this book, in fact I think every book enthusiast out there will smile like a crazy lady when they read it simply for the fact that someone out there gets it, get’s their passion for books. It’s short, it’s simple, but it relies on the passion that the reader has for the industry and it is after all every book lovers dream to be in Holly Plumbs shoes!

As well as being a short, sweet and fun Christmas read, Secret Santo delivers some clever messages from an author in the industry to the readers. The first one being on the dangers to place your favourite author so far up on a pedestal where you are likely to lose the notion that they are simple everyday people. Secondly it highlighted the notion of being deceived and lied to by taking on pseudonyms and false identities, an issue that has been shed a lot of light on in recent times based on a couple of online articles. Cleverly Carla doesn’t say that writing under a pseudonym as either an author or blogger is a good or bad thing, just that it’s a fair call for both sides to choose. It’s their right too, and no one should be pulling them up on that. Through the characterisation of both Holly and Santo we are able to see both sides of the issues and I just think it was very cleverly done, without being too over the top or preachy.

One thing I really wished about this novella was that it was longer. At 54 pages in total it’s easy to read the story in a spare few minutes (you won’t regret it if you do) and although the story is well rounded and highly entertaining, I just wanted more. That said I didn’t feel as though anything was missing from the story and it did end at a very natural spot. Another slight personal thing I had with the narrative was the cutesy Christmas names that everyone had (Holly, Santo, Merry, Star etc..). It wasn’t something that I couldn’t overlook for the sake of the story (clearly because I did love this narrative), nor is it something that only Carla Caruso is doing – It seems that almost every Christmas novella is taking the cliché Christmas names to whole new level these days.

Secret Santo is perhaps my favourite Christmas read this year and I can not recommend it enough to avid readers out there. It’s cute and a bit of fun, full of Carla’s trademark humour and whit and just plain old good storytelling. It’s not hard to tell that Carla Caruso had a lot of fun writing this narrative, nor how passionate she is about the industry and it’s people.


To learn more about Carla Caruso and her writing, check out the following sites:

Carla’s Website | Destiny Romance’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

To purchase a copy of Secret Santo visit the following retailers:

Amazon AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK iBooks | Destiny Romance Website | Goodreads




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