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When I was in Asda with my mam last week, I noticed they had lots of books on sale for £1. I immediately noticed this one as it had the Colosseum, Rome on the front. As Rome is one of my favourite cities I've been to, I decided to give it a try.
~ The Author ~
Domenica De Rosa was born in London in 1963 and wrote her first novel at 11 years old. She read English at King's College in London then went on to work in publishing. Her first book, The Italian Quarter, was published in 2004. She lives in Brighton with her husband and two children.
~ The Plot ~
"The De Angelis sisters - holier-than-thou Anna, beautiful Maria and tomboy Gaby - have always been competitive, never more so than for the affection of their father, Enzo"
Sadly, on the day that Gaby's first baby is born, Enzo dies. The sisters start to plan the send off that their father deserves, in his native city of Rome.
As the family plan to go to Rome with Enzo's ashes the sisters all have different ideas about where they should scatter them. Gaby is finding it difficult being a new mother and coping with the death of her beloved father and on top of all this she encounters the man that she once thought she would marry...
"A charming tale of family secrets, lost trust, and learning to forgive" Good Book Guide
~ My Opinion ~
I bought this book purely as it's set in Rome and only cost £1 but I was not disappointed. The book is written from Gaby's perspective in first person and I quickly got involved in the story.
The book quickly introduces us to the family and although there are a lot of characters, I did not find myself confused and I felt I knew who they all were. The characters are described well and I could picture them vividly in my mind.
As the story unfolds there are some flash backs detailing some of the history of the family based on Gaby's memories. I thought these were the highlight of the book as it allowed me to see what kind of man, Enzo was when he was alive, as well as see the sisters when they were children.
A lot of the book focuses on religion, as the De Angelis family are Catholic. This theme has quite an important role in the story, especially later in the book.
Although this book starts with the death of Enzo, it is by no means a sad story. It is obviously sad in parts but the book focuses much more on life than it does on death.
Anna is the eldest of the sisters and is a devout Catholic. She is married to David and they have two sons. Maria is the middle daughter and is quite rebellious, having her first child when she was still quite young. Gaby is the youngest and feels she has always been in her sister's shadows as they do everything before her, as they are older.
Most of the book is set in Rome and I loved it for this. Having been to Rome, I could picture lots of the places that were described but I think this book could be equally enjoyed if you've never been to Rome. I felt like I was there with the characters.
The sisters and their families (including their mother) stay with Enzo's brother when they are in Rome. I enjoyed reading about the Italian lifestyle as it added authenticity to the book.
I loved all the main characters in this book and it illustrates just how important family really are. The book moves at a nice pace and was extremely easy to read.
Although the plot itself wasn't page turning, I found it difficult to put down once I started it as I wanted to know how the story would unfold and I wanted to get to know the characters better.
~ Overall ~
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I would read it again in the future. The characters were well developed and the storyline was good. The book was easy to read and was well worth the £1 that we spent on it!
Publisher: Headline Review 2005
This is a story of three sisters, and the magic of Rome. As the youngest de Angelis daughter, Gaby has always had to vie for attention with brainy, holier-than-thou Anna, and bohemian, beautiful Maria. Yet, in her heart, she cherished the hope that she was her father, Enzo's favourite. On the day Gaby's first baby, Kitty, is born, Enzo suddenly dies. Before the new family have had chance to bond, they are plunged into the thick of the wider clan, as Gaby's sisters devise a plan to bid their father farewell in his native Rome. But their interpretations of his wishes differ as much as their wildly conflicting advice on the fraught early days of motherhood. And in the heat and bustle of Rome itself, Gaby encounters once again the man everyone thought she would marry. Suddenly, all Gaby's certainties are shaken.