One Summer in Tuscany by Domenica De Rosa
Published: 29th June 2017
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
BlurbPatricia Wilson's carefully composed ads for the writers' retreat she runs at her thirteenth-century Italian castle promise so much. But while the splendour of their surroundings and chef Aldo's melanzane never fail to wow the guests, huge maintenance bills and bad news from the bank threaten to close Patricia down. It's make or break time for the Castello.
Each of her seven aspiring authors arrives with the inevitable baggage alongside their unpublished manuscripts. But this August something is different, and soon lifelong spinster Mary is riding on the back of Aldo's vespa, and smouldering odd-job man Fabio has set more than one heart racing.
As temperatures rise, the writers gossip, flirt and gently polish their prose by the pool. But with ghosts, scorpions, and some unexpected visitors to contend with, one thing's for sure: neither the Castello, nor Patricia, has ever seen a summer like this.
One Summer in Tuscany by Domenica De Rosa tells the tale of Patricia who is struggling to keep hold of her beloved Castello de Luna by running various retreats for artists. This summer seven aspiring writers have gathered at the Castello to learn from published author Jeremy Bullen. As the guests take up residency at the Castello some of their secrets become exposed and romance begins to blossom in the most unlikely of places, but will any of them achieve their dream of publishing the next best seller.
I loved the idea of this book, for me a writer writing about writing is a comforting thing, I’m not really sure why. Domenica De Rosa has brought together a varied mix of ten main characters in this book and given them all a unique voice. I did find the first couple of chapters a little tricky to work out who was who but it wasn’t long before each character and their stories were easily recognisable.
Of all the characters my two favourites had to be Anna and Mary. Anna because she seems so unsure of herself and willing to accept how talented she is as a writer. She seemed to spend most of her time in Cat’s shadow, propping up her ego. I was longing for Anna to become more confident and see herself as the others did. Mary was a joy to read about, despite being in her seventies she has such joy and enthusiasm for new experiences and I was glad when she was able to grab hold of some happiness. Some other characters such as Sally and Dorothy seemed to add very little to the story.
There are some lovely descriptions of the Castello itself and the surrounding Tuscan scenery which along with Aldo’s delicious meals make the essence of Italy come through the book. I feel this book would make an ideal holiday read as despite being on a writing retreat the characters seem more like they are on holiday themselves with the tourist trips, huge meals and lazing by the pool.
I felt this was quite a light-hearted easy going read mainly because there were so many little dramas with various characters it became funny rather than more emotional as it was perhaps intended. I enjoyed Domenica De Rosa’a writing and can see myself picking up one of her books again as a holiday read as Italy is somewhere I long to go. If you’re a fan of Nicky Pellegrino or Santa Montefiore than I’m sure you will enjoy this book too.
Thank you to the publishers for inviting me to be part of this book tour and sending me a copy of the book to review.