I’m returning to my blog after a gap of quite a few weeks, as I haven’t been in the frame of mind to write a blog since my grandfather died. But I have been reading a lot so there’s lots to catch up on. It seems fitting to start with the book I read whilst sitting in his bedroom holding his hand the weekend before he died. It was the first weekend of July, the weather was bad and whilst he drifted in and out of sleep I read The Italian Girl by Lucinda Riley.
I have very much enjoyed her previous books (see my blogs on The Midnight Rose and Hothouse Flower) and Lucinda Riley was kind enough to send me a review copy of this book, which she first wrote as Aria in 1996 and which she has subsequently re-written and has just re-released. It is a great love story between a young Italian girl and a famous lothario opera singer. It has everything you could possibly need in a doomed love story. Beautiful settings in Italy and England, wonderful music you can almost hear rising from the page, the heroine swept away and acting against her better judgement, destiny unfolding in its predictable and unstoppable way, chances for redemption not taken, unfulfilled potential and aching sadness.
Yet despite all that it is a very enjoyable read. I particularly liked the relationship between the heroine and her brother who is struggling to follow a life in the Church, the growing estrangement from her family as her life takes her further and further from her roots, and the touching and genuine goodbye between Rosanna and Roberto as a lifetime bond holds to bring them together again at the end.
I told my grandfather what a lovely weekend I was having and how much I was enjoying my latest escapist reading. Some of my happiest memories are of reading in his house where he lived for 58 years, a house and garden made for reading as I’m sure you’ll agree from the picture above. I still can’t believe I won’t be able to arrive for the weekend and tell him all about my latest book anymore.