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The majority of my book case at home is taken up by thrillers and crime novels. However, occasionally I do like a good 'Chick Lit' book to break up all the suspense and tension :)
I picked up a copy of Tell Me Something by Adele Parks from a second hand book shop. I have read a couple of Park's other novels and so was drawn to her name initially and then after reading the blurb on the back decided I would give it a go.
The story, without giving too much away, is based around Elizabeth - a die hard romantic who wants for nothing but a handsome Italian husband and lots of babies with said husband. It seems her wish is soon granted as she meets and falls in love with Roberto and they rather quickly get married. Unfortunately, even though they seem to try A LOT they do not have any joy in conceiving.
When discussing their lives/parents/jobs etc, Roberto informs Elizabeth that his parents 'have a business in the wine trade' in Italy. Elizabeth thinks this fits is perfectly with her dreams of marrying into an Italian family and imagines Roberto's parents on a Vineyard, crushing grapes with their feet. She is therefore delighted when they decide to move to Italy to help with the family business, which unfortunately since the passing of Roberto's father, has not been doing so well.
However, upon arriving in Italy and moving in with her mother-in-law, Elizabeth soon discovers that she will not be getting the perfect Italian life she was hoping for and doesn't have time for baby making as most of her time is spent working in the 'family business' (which is not quite what Elizabeth was expecting) and enduring her mother-in-law's evil rants.
This book was a very easy read and for the most part was enjoyable enough. The ending of the book was obvious to me from about halfway through so there were no surprises in that respect but I still felt happy with the ending. I liked Park's description of Italy from Elizabeth's eyes and although I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting Italy, I could imagine it would be how it was described in the book.
The one part that did get on my nerves a bit was Elizabeth's attitude to getting pregnant. She came across completely desperate and in a few places I took Roberto's side when they were arguing about it. I am sure this was how Park's intended to portray her but I did find her so completely pathetic in some places and as a result found it hard to warm to her. I do understand a woman's desire to have a baby and frustration in not being able to conceive but it seemed to take over her whole life so that she couldn't focus on anything else.
However, having said that, I did completely take her side where her mother-in-law was concerned. Raffaella was portrayed perfectly as the strong Italian mother, revelling in the return of her prodigal son but failing to hide her absolute distaste in the wife he has brought along with him. She appeared to have 'selective language understanding', ignoring Elizabeth when she spoke to her insisting that she couldn't speak English very well but then understanding perfectly when listening in to Elizabeth and Roberto's conversations/arguments or when explaining to Elizabeth just how beautiful and wonderful Roberto's ex is and oh by the way, she happens to live practically next door.
The other characters in the book are conveyed clearly enough, if a little stereotypical at times (such as 'Chuck' the American stranger who just happens to be everywhere at the right time).
As I have already said, I found this a very easy read. A perfect 'beach read' book, not too though-provoking, annoyed the hell out of me in places but warmed my heart in others :)
I paid 75p for this from a second hand book shop but it is available new in most book shops and you can get it from Amazon from £1.69 new and 1p used.
Thanks for reading
(This Review is also on Ciao)
I have often seen books by Adele Park on the shelves whilst browsing for a new read but they never seem to jump out at me so I had never bothered to pick one up. Recently since reading reviews on Dooyoo about Adele Park books I have noticed the majority of the reviews are all very positive so I thought it was about time to give Adele a chance.
There were only two of her books in the Library so I decided to try Tell Me Something.
The cover didn't give much away, dark grey fading into white with a picture of a woman's leg and purple shoes!
The story is about a lady named Elizabeth who from a very young age knew there were two things she wanted in life and that was to marry an Italian man and have a large family!
When we first meet Elizabeth she works as a waitress and there is a very quick start to the story, as she soon has an Italian man named Roberto enter her life at work.
She knows instantly this is the man she is going to marry.
After she has ticked the first part of her to do list the second part of her goal in life is to have many children but this becomes a problem after many years of trying to conceive they still have no bambinos they hoped for.After Roberto loses his job they have no option but to return to Italy and help run the family business.
Elizabeth hopes that they may start a fresh in Roberto's home town in Italy and believes this will be where she will conceive.
What Elizabeth did not expect was to have the trouble with her mother in-law from hell and to see her husband change in front of her eyes.
She feels very alone and isolated in Italy as she doesn't speak Italian and Roberto is busy working on their new bar so Elizabeth finds friendship with Chuck who is an American guy who helps Elizabeth to find her feet and make a life for her in Italy but this ends up turning the story into different twists and turns.
Adele Park has a wonderful way of gripping you in the first chapter and making you instantly warm to the main character Elizabeth but also only giving just enough information about Roberto which gives you a slightly cold feeling about him when he is mentioned.
Adele uses normal every day feelings which we have all felt at some point in our life to connect with the story and the character.
Although this book is meant to be a chick-lit book it is not like other chick lit books I have read. I didn't find the usual light hearted humour in the book there were many deep parts of the book for a chick-lit book. All that aside I did actually enjoy this book. It was an easy read but it was also a book you could put down and come back to.
I would read another of her books and I have also recommended this to a few of my friends, but not quite your upbeat holiday read in my opinion.
Tell me something is written by best selling author Adele Parks, who also wrote playing away, young wives tales, husbands, still thinking of you, the other woman's shoes, larger than life and game over.
Elizabeth has always been in love with everything Italian since her parents took her on her first trip abroad. When she meets gorgeous Roberto she instantly falls in love. She cant wait to get married and have loads of children, she imagines working in the family business, which she believes to be a wine vineyard, and having a heart-warming relationships with Roberto's big family.......
As always things do not go to plan, they do get married, they do move to Italy with Roberto's family, and she does work for the family business... but the family business is in fact a run down bar, her mother in law is a witch, she cannot speak the language and she and Roberto are unable to conceive.
As Elizabeth really wants to make an effort she puts in gruelling hours at the bar, unpaid, whilst Roberto is constantly on the go trying to get publicity for the bar and making new contacts, she also meets a handsome American stranger who help her to learn Italian.
Elizabeth ends up spending most of her spare time with the American and their teacher/student relationships turns more serious when Elizabeth finds out that Roberto, the love of her life, is not making new contacts but liasing with an old girlfriend.
The novel is honestly funny, and has the same wit about it as all of Adele Parks' literature does. The book is an absolute must read and does not disappoint, it completely lives up to the expectations and is a truly rewarding read.
I bought this in Sainsburys, when it had been mispriced down to a £1. It was definitely worth it! Adele is almost back to her best with this entertaining book.
Elizabeth has always wanted two things...a sexy Italian husband and lots of babies, and when she married the handsome but moody Roberto, she thought her dreams had come true. Years have passed, though, and she hasn't managed to conceive...the couple just seem to be padding on in their world, with no inkling of a child. Until Roberto loses his job, and decides its time he went home to Italy to take over the family business...
Elizabeth is obsessed with the idea of warm days and vine yards, friendly Italians, hunky men and, of course, her beautiful gurgling babies that are sure to appear soon! The reality is much different, however. Italy, while still being a lovely place, has just as many faults as home. The family business is falling apart, and demands huge amounts of unpaid work, and Robertos family are very strange and dislike Elizabeth alot.
Things just get worse when Robertos svelte, sexy ex makes an appearance, living on their doorstep...so who could blame Elizabeth for having a coffee with a gorgeous, understanding American? And when he offers her the chance of a brand new life...well, I won't ruin the ending, but its unpredictable and entertaining!
The mother in law is very funny, trying to use every opportunity to destroy her sons marriage and demean Elizabeth. She's even cunning enough to involve his ex! Roberto's sister is a good distraction through some of the book, and Elizabeth is a brilliant main character. She has such a brilliant personality, but her baby obsession is pushing her to the edge...
I'd recommend this to anyone, it's an excellent book, with just the right amount of humour.
Since Elizabeth first stepped off the plane into Italy on her very first holiday abroad when she was 14 years old, she has been in love with everything imaginable about the country. She dreams of one day marrying the perfect sexy Italian man, having gorgeous dark haired babies and living in a small and friendly Italian village. When she eventually meets Roberto, all her dreams come true. That is until they have trouble creating all those gorgeous bambinos they dreamed of.
After several years of trying unsuccessfully to conceive, they make the decision to move to Roberto's home in a small village in Italy where Elizabeth has high hopes of starting afresh. Surely the smell of Italian coffee, the taste of rich ice cream, the hot rays of the sun, the small and beautiful buildings and the charming gentlemen can't fail to bring them a little ray of sunshine of their own. But instead Elizabeth ends up meeting Raffaella, the mother-in-law from hell, slaving away 7 days a week in the family's rundown bar and having nothing in common with the locals in the tiny little boring village. Raffaella seems hell-bent on destroying their marriage and doesn't fail to mention Roberto's beautiful and graceful ex at every spare opportunity, who seems to keep Roberto curiously busy in his spare time.
When Elizabeth finds companionship in Chuck, a gorgeous American guy, they quickly become great friends and she finds herself turning to him for support in a country where he seems to be the only one who understands her. Surely her filthy and completely inappropriate thoughts about him are just because they have their language in common and because he manages to cheer her up every time she's down? Plus, he's not Italian, so he can't be her type ... can he?
I've never read any of Adele Parks' books before but I stumbled upon a whole bundle of them at a boot fair and the covers all caught my attention with pictures of women's legs making it look like a sexy chick lit. I read the blurbs on each one and quickly bought them all but Tell Me Something sounded like the best read out of the lot.
Straight away, the very first page captures your attention with Parks' great wit and humour and this continues throughout the entire book providing lots of laughs. You immediately fall in love with Elizabeth who's only ever followed her dreams and you so want her friendly and loving character to get everything she wants and to be happy. When she first starts to have feelings for Chuck, both her husband and this new stranger seem to be the perfect men and I found myself not wanting her to choose one over the other. However, as the book goes on, certain characters show their true colours as some of their actions are revealed and you end up desperately wanting her to choose the right guy.
This isn't really a completely chick lit story as it seems from the outset. There are a lot of difficult real life issues which Parks outlines and writes about really well so that they actually quite get to you. I'd say it was a chick lit book but with a lot of more in depth and real issues being tackled. Because it seems more real than some other silly chick lit books, the humour is much funnier and the book is so much more captivating and it grabbed my attention so that I couldn't put it down.
This is the first book I've read by Adele Parks, I have heard of her as an author and found her reviews to always have been fantastic, so when I saw 'Tell me Something' on the shelves I thought I had to give it a try.
The cover makes it clear it's obviously a chick-lit book. I am not a huge fan of chick-lit books, as I find them a bit samey, but they are easy read and a nice break from books with maybe a slightly heavier plot line, so I picked this one up. The cover boasts "Another gem from Parks" by Heat Magazine and a 5* rating, so I thought this is definately going to be a good one!
The story is about Elizabeth. She's a 30-something who is absolutely desperate to have a baby, with no real career aspirations or goals. She's a total dreamer, and is intent on getting her dream life. After visiting Italy as a teenager she falls in love with the place She wants a life in Italy and a huge Italian family.
She gets her wishes when she marries Roberto, her real-life Italian stallion and then gets the chance to move to Italy with him. Life couldn't be better for her, well... until she gets there!
Life turns from bad to worse in Italy, her tries for a baby are hopeless, her mother-in-law Raffaella is an absolute dragon who plots against her all the time and her dream career on a vineyard in the sunshine is far from what she gets..
In my opinion this book has been a bit of a dissapointment. It's quite slow to read, everything being very descriptive, there is a huge huge emphasis on Elizabeths efforts to try for a baby and the emotions involved. The book really begins to drag and I find myself skipping the odd page here and there, as it would be another page her Elizabeth's 'whining' - It's pretty depressing.
Elizabeth as a character began to grate on me as she is extremely self-centered and boring! She is hell-bent on getting her dream of a life in Italy - all because she went there on holiday as a child. All she wants is her perfect Italian husband, and children. She doesn't seem to have any other interests and lacks personality as the main character. She is hard to relate too and it makes it less enjoyable to read a book where you don't connect to the main character.
Some of the other characters are a little more interesting - Rafaella the mother-in-law absolutely despises Elizabeth and goes out of her way to upset her, these stories can be quite funny. Maybe as Elizabeth is so annoying it makes it interesting to see her get even more upset!!!
The book seems to plod along, with no real drama to the story, and finally in the last few chapters a lot happens, it almost seems too unrealistic and unbelieveable. Overall a really predictable story line.
Overall, I don't regret reading this book, it's easy to read with a mind-numbing storyline. Fine for a rainy Sunday afternoon, or a boring commute to work but I wouldn't recommend rushing out to the shops to buy a copy... there are far better out there!!
If you do want to buy a copy you can from Amazon for £3.86
I think maybe Elizabeth has been reading one of the same management books as I have recently. She is certainly on board with those ideas of goal setting, focussing on what you want and making it happen. When she was fourteen years old she went to Italy for the first time and was so taken with the place that she decided then and there that her life's goals would be: find an Italian man, marry said man, move to Italy and have lots of dark-haired bambini. A girl with a plan, that's what I like to see. And, a few chapters into the book, she's also managed to follow through on many of the goals. She and Roberto have been married for years, but are just now moving to Italy together. The bambini have proved elusive until now, but since test after test at the doctor's have revealed no reason why they can't conceive, Elizabeth is determined that if there's one place they can overcome their unexplained infertility it will be in glorious Italy, where they can have a fresh start, escape the stresses and strains of London life and sink into parenthood as if it's the most natural thing in the world.
That in itself would be a nice book. Not a lot of a plot, but when the writing's this good, and the descriptions this beautiful, you don't need much else. That's just the first 50 pages, though, and there's plenty more drama to come as the couple move in with Roberto's mother and help to turn the family business around. As Roberto becomes more and more engrossed in the bar, and Elizabeth becomes more and more obsessed with her inability to get pregnant (if that's possible...she's always been rather obsessed about this) things start to change and Elizabeth begins to realise that some things really are better in the imagination. It reminded me of that line from Desperate Housewives where an unhappy Gabrielle says Carlos gave her everything she ever wanted, but it turned out she wanted all the wrong things. The arrival of the dashing young American, EFL teacher Chuck, and the beautiful young Italian, Roberto's ex Ana-Maria, only add to the confusion with exciting, if occasionally predictable, consequences.
Without trying to make this sound too much like a beef-stew, the book has a meaty story-line, some wholesome characters with both juicy indiscretions and tender moments, and is a chunky book that will take you a reasonable length of time to get through and will fill up a bit of space in your bookcase. The descriptions of Italy are full of flavour (and you get the impression the author has actually visited the region, which always helps) and the sex scenes sizzling. I'd love to see a sequel that picks up where the epilogue finishes because it sounded like there was a whole other story waiting to be told.
The book appealed to me because it seemed real. At times is was raw, and times funny, and at times just so, so honest. I liked the background characters - Alison, Paolina, the evil, interfering Raffaella - who were just as interesting as Elizabeth and Roberto at times. I don't think Elizabeth always acted her age, but then maybe that's because I saw her as old(er) and she saw herself as still relatively young, and I didn't really understand the significance of the title, but this is just nit picking, because I couldn't fault the content or style of the book. This is the perfect book to read on a beach, or even in the garden on a British summer's day, should one every arive, though if you too are currently desperately longing for a baby I don't know whether you'd find it reassuringly familiar or a little too close to home.
This was my first Adele Parks title, but I'll certainly be looking out for others, since she clearly writes the short of chick-lit I like, with its easy reading style, but great story development. Now if only we could recruit some teachers like Chuck at my Mexcian English school, I'd be a really happy chica.
The paperback (ISBN 0141024798) is currently half price on Amazon, and is a worthy investment of £3.86.
This is a slightly amended version of my review originally published on www.thebookbag.co.uk
I am not a big chick lit reader (I much prefer a juicy horror, or historical fiction), but when stuck with no book to read, I often pick up whatever is currently in the latest book displays in Asda/WHSmiths.
As a result, i have read all of Adele Parks books, so quite happily picked up her latest.
Elizabeth is 30 something, married and a bit aimless as far as careers go.
She has only ever had one burning ambition...to marry an Italian, move over there, and to have babies.
She has suceeded in marrying the Italian, and moving to his mother country, but the baby issue is coming less easily.
After six years of marriage, Elizabeth and Roberto are childless, and things dont look like they are going to change.
Isolated in Italy, struggling to get along with Robertos domineering Mother, and feeling more and more distant from her husband, Elizabeth has to decide whether her yearning for a child is more important than anything else.
What did I think?
Unfortunatly, not a lot. This book dragged so much, if it had been longer, I would have given up on it.
The main character Elizabeth, isnt particularly likeable. I find this to be a massive flaw. If I cant relate to the heroine, then I struggle to enjoy the book.
Elizabeth, to me, is a bit of a plonker. She decided in her teens to marry an Italian....because she had a nice holiday there. To me, this doesnt seem like a very logical, or intelligent life plan.
She meets and marries the Italian, but doesnt seem to know very much about him at all. After six years of marriage, she has never met his Mother, has no clue about his past relationships, and has no clue what his family business is.
Surely this kind of stuff should be done by the beginning of the relationship?
Elizabeth ups sticks and moves to Italy with her husband, only to be tortured by his over protective Mother. This is where I saw a new weakness in Elizabeth. Robertos Mother treats her so terribly, yet it takes her until the end of the book to stick up for herself...and even then, not very convincingly.
Elizabeth, to me, was a kind of none entity. She doesnt seem to have any interests, beyond an idealised opinion on Italy, and the need for a baby. It doesnt make her a very interesting character, and by the end of the book I couldnt care less what she did and didnt do.
Roberto her husband is equally done. We never find out very much about his personality, other than an endless stream of stereotypes about Italian men. Again, he was so boring, and I knew so little about him, that I really didnt care.
The supporting characters are more interesting. Robertos Mother is fantastically described, and Elizabeths new friend Chuck (another irritating stereotype) is quite charming, if a little dull. These characters however, dont make up for the lack of personality between the two main characters.
The plot was dull and utterly predictable. I knew what was going to happen after a few chapters.
Everything is resolved very neatly and prettyily by the end, which to me didnt seem particularly realistic.
The writing is solid, and sometimes amusing, but never gripping. As I said, I struggled to turn the pages as the same thoughts and scenes were replayed in various different ways.
Parks has written better books, and I felt that with this one, she wasnt even trying.
You can buy from (if needs must) from here,
In paperback for
Despite working in quite an academic field and considering myself more intelligent than my hair colour would suggest, I love a good chick-lit novel! I've read all of Adele Parks'other books and consider her the best author in the genre - her books draw you in with their clever plots and well-developed characters, and I've found all of them totally addictive. So I was very keen to read this new one, 'Tell Me Something', which published in Jan 09.
The cover is typical modern chick-lit, with a sexy photograph featuring some desirable shoes and the title in swirly pink writing. I got hold of this from a book-swapping website, but it's available on Amazon priced £3.86.
I have to say I was underwhelmed initially, after the first couple of chapters.
I'm always a bit ambivalent about books set in foreign countries as sometimes it seems that the author just wants to show off with irrelevant knowledge of a country they know well (the only thing that spoils Tony Parsons' otherwise fantastic stories...) and I got this impression here. The Italian village that the main character, Elizabeth, finds herself in is described by Parks in heavy detail, but I felt I was somehow reading the author's own passion for the country rather than through Elizabeth's own eyes, and this somehow just didn't click for me. Elizabeth is obsessed by her desire to have a baby with her Italian husband Roberto, and I found her very self-centred and disappointingly two-dimensional. Roberto is a bit of a cliché - the typical Italian stallion, all macho and tanned and muscly and also a bit unbelievable. However Raffaella, Elizabeth's mother-in-law, is described perfectly. I could picture her clearly in my head, as a terrifying dragon of a matriarch who thinks no-one will ever be good enough for her beloved son.
As the plot developed, I found myself enjoying this book more. I did begin to skim the bits where Elizabeth is pondering yet again about her chances of having a baby, but I enjoyed the development of her relationship with Chuck, a sexy American (did he have to be called Chuck though!?) I don't want to spoil the book for anyone else, but there were enough twists and turns to keep me guessing right up until the end. I also found myself in tears at one point, when Elizabeth is grieving for her father. This doesn't often happen to me, so it proves that Parks' writing did get more believable as the story warms up.
However, I certainly wouldn't say this is one of her best books. I read it to the end, and if you're a fan of hers I would say read it, but it's unlikely to win her many new fans.