Monday 26 June 2017

Review | One Summer in Tuscany by Domenica de Rosa

Published by Quercus on June 29, 2017

One Summer in Tuscany is perfect by-the-pool reading. With its stunning Tuscany location, the interesting characters, the romance and the atmosphere, this is a book best served with a glass of wine on a hot summer’s day.

Set in an Italian castle is a writer’s retreat organised by Patricia. It might not be a cheap retreat to get onto, but Patricia is still struggling to keep it afloat, as all the costs are racking up and the interest in the course is running low. She likes to keeps the number of writers small, so the writing is more productive, and the mentor can give them one-to-one sessions, but still, the writing retreat is under threat.

When I started reading this book, I was thinking there were quite a lot of characters to keep up with and sometimes, in other books, I struggle to keep up with a lot of characters and find myself losing track of the story. One thing that I loved about the amount of characters in One Summer in Tuscany was that the author cleverly kept the reader engaged and in-the-know about each character and their personal lives. For example, we could read entries from Mary’s diary, or read Anna’s emails to her husband. Jeremy's responses to the writers’ stories, his guidance and suggestions – they all gave an insight into his character too, as well as being a great way to start off some of the chapters. Then then were the postcards sent, and the snippets of their WIPs that we read. There are so many things the author does to keep the reader engaged with her characters, and not at any point did I feel there were too many, or that the book would have been better off without one of them.

Each character is different and there were no cookie cutter characters. Though I liked most of them, my favourite was Mary. I felt like she was underestimated by the group. She’s older, so Jeremy has already written off her book, expecting it to be trivial romance and uninspiring. She loves to swim, but people write that off too because of her age. They expect her to be less interested, less talented, and yet she could have shown them all a thing or two. I felt like she got pushed aside quite a bit by other people in this book and would have loved to stand up for her as she had so much to give.

I also loved the writing retreat format to One Summer in Tuscany. I loved that, though the characters’ lives are central to this book, the writing on their retreat is not forgotten. Though of course, like any good writing retreat, there is a beautiful location and plenty of food and alcohol to distract from the stresses of writing. Each chapter deploys a day on the writing retreat, and so the timeline is easy to follow. The book begins slowly in that we are getting to know the characters at the same time other people on the retreat are getting to know them but the characters do all blossom and their feelings develop and they face challenges which may or may not change the course of their lives forever.

There was a lot to enjoy about this book. It’s great escapism, but also as someone who loves to write, it was also interesting and inspiring too, seeing all these writers achieving varying degrees of “success” with their books, picking up on the advice and criticism they receive. I found One Summer in Tuscany to be utterly fascinating, and from the very first chapter I was hooked and had no intention of putting it down. Obvious given the title I know, but it really is a brilliant book to read over the summer. It will have you dreaming of your own sun-kissed holiday, new adventures, new friendships and it will have you unable to resist the urge to check out some travel brochures looking for your next escape.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, this looks like a goodie. Please bring this over to Books You Loved: July so everyone can see it. Cheers from Carole's Chatter


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...