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October book club - An Italian Summer

(59 Posts)
LauraGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 01-Oct-18 11:21:34

Hi everyone! Official October book club thread here smile

You should be starting to receive your copies of Fanny Blake's book so, once you've read it, please do leave your questions and comments for Fanny below.

If you've borrowed or bought a copy yourself, you're very welcome to join the conversation too.

Happy reading!

Marydoll Mon 01-Oct-18 14:45:25

I can't believe I won a copy, thanks GN. I was feeling quite low and receiving this book has cheered me up.
I am a retired teacher and I love Italy, what more could a girl ask for? grin

Pittcity Mon 01-Oct-18 15:25:52

I am a few chapters in and am already missing the Summer.

nahsma Wed 03-Oct-18 11:02:36

Got my copy, thank you, a lovely treat in the post. I had a minute of total confusion “I don't remember ordering anything....” and then was amazed to have been so lucky. Will start reading tomorrow.

trisher Wed 03-Oct-18 11:04:09

Well I have finished it and have been roughly transported from the heat of an Italian summer back to the cold reality of NE England. It is that sort of a book. It gives you a real feel for Italy, Rome and Naples in particular.
Spoiler Alert!
I did wonder about happy endings and people getting their just deserts and if Fanny feels this is one of the requirements of her novels. Everything does seem to work out for the people you come to like in the book.
I did like the friendship which developed between Alice and Sandy helping them both cope with their problems.

LynnKnowles Wed 03-Oct-18 11:49:03

Thank you - received the book yesterday. Looking forward to time-travelling back into those warm balmy days !

Truffle1 Thu 04-Oct-18 19:14:08

I thought I had won the competition shock but just getting the book was a prize as well. Quite enjoyed the book but never having visited Italy some of the places rather confused me - I do like to be able to picture what I am reading! I might just have to book a holiday now to look for some of these sights.

Harris27 Thu 04-Oct-18 19:29:33

Thanks have revived the book will let you know after I've read it.

Harris27 Thu 04-Oct-18 19:29:53

Sorry received.

cornergran Fri 05-Oct-18 19:41:55

Arrived back home today to find my copy. Thank you GN, looking forward to settling with it as soon as there’s time.

mbody Mon 08-Oct-18 14:02:06

Enjoyed the book, loved the tour of Italy and descriptions of places.

Marydoll Mon 08-Oct-18 14:20:37

Well I've started it and so far I'm enjoying it. It's an easy read.
What I like about it most, is it's accurate in its description of Rome. Often authors set books in a city they don't know very well, but Fanny Blake is obviously familiar with Rome.
I've just returned from my annual visit to Rome and the book has brought back happy memories.

Purpledaffodil Tue 09-Oct-18 14:08:36

I really enjoyed this book, enough twists and surprises to keep me engrossed and the characters were well drawn too. The settings were nicely described and I noticed that the author thanked her husband for his patience on holidays that were actually research?I don’t know Italy that well and the descriptions certainly inspired this reader to plan a visit next year.
Yet again, I can imagine this would make an excellent film or TV serial. Does the author think that this may be possible?

matson Tue 09-Oct-18 17:47:05

Not my usual cup of tea, very mills and boon, with predictable story line.
The Rome and Naples sightseeing descriptions were interesting, an easy holiday read maybe.

Pittcity Wed 10-Oct-18 15:31:13

I was exhausted by the heat and the pace of the Italian tour and I was sitting reading in the autumnal UK.
The plot was predictable. I was rooting for Alice to get back to a life she'd love. Not so much for Sandy as her Italian adventure was not so easy to believe.
There was an emphasis on same sex couples having children...did the author add this to make the story contemporary?

Dadima123 Wed 10-Oct-18 21:32:29

Thank you Gransnet for the book.
I enjoyed reading it.
It was slow to begin with- I found it did not hook me, but I persevered and got into it.
It was a nice light read. The Italian backdrop was interesting. Apart from the sights, I loved the food! I was constantly hungry whilst I read!
The characters were developed well, Fanny had me rooting for the goodies and wanting comeuppance for the ‘baddies’.
The slow reveal of the mystery kept me turning the pages and I appreciated the neat happy ending.
(I grew up on a reading diet of fairy tales,).
Thank you, Fanny, I would certainly pick up more Fanny Blake books.

Writerbird Thu 11-Oct-18 07:39:50

Hello. I'm new to gransnet and really like the look of your book club. Please tell me how I can join it.

Greenfinch Fri 12-Oct-18 09:41:43

About the middle of the month click on Books and it will tell you what the book for the next month is to be. Read the blurb and it will tell you how to apply.Good luck!

Writerbird Fri 12-Oct-18 10:04:29

Thank you Greenfinch

Mapleleaf Sat 13-Oct-18 09:40:45

Well, I've just finished reading this book, and found it an easy going read, though it took me a while to get going with it as I expected it to be mostly about Susan and her search rather than lots of threads involving different characters and their issues. It was a nice bit of escapism, but rather too neat at the end which I felt was not really very realistic, with everything clicking into place for all concerned, with those needing their comeuppance getting it and those needing reward getting it. Not sure real life is quite like that.
I would like to ask Fanny if she has spent any time living in Italy, especially around Rome and Naples, or has it all been thorough research, as she seems to know a lot about the areas she covers in the book?

GeminiJen Sat 13-Oct-18 19:44:43

This is the first book I’ve read by this author. I found it a pleasant holiday read: light, enjoyable and an effortless way of savouring Rome and Naples without having to endure the scorching heat of high summer! Having been on a few small group holidays over the years, I thought that the author captured the experience beautifully: the different alliances formed, secrets shared, problems aired. The characters are immediately recognisable: the cheery and over-enthusiastic tour guide, the predators (both male and female), the know-alls, the show-offs, the fun-lovers, the insecure. The Italian setting is perfect too: one feels that the author really knows the country well. The book could almost be used as a guide: the “must see” locations (and some of the “maybe don’t bother” ones) described in vivid detail.
Spoiler alert - As for Sandy, I found her very likeable and wanted things to turn out well for her. Her sadness over the loss of her husband, death of her mother, uncertainty about her new relationship, her work and family concerns, all were sympathetically and realistically portrayed. I enjoyed the storyline too, even if it did all come together rather too neatly for me in the end.
My question for the author: I found the attention to detail quite impeccable and should like to ask about the nature and extent of your research, beyond the “relentless fortnight” referred to in the Acknowledgements!
Thanks to Fanny Blake for a good read and to Gransnet for introducing me to this author flowers

Marydoll Sun 14-Oct-18 07:08:36

I too have just finished it and enjoyed it. As Geminijen has said, it's a good holiday read, pleasant and non taxing, with a good mix of characters.
I enjoyed the attention to detail in the descriptions of Rome. I know Rome pretty well and her descriptions were so accurate, that I could visualise myself walking with Sandy through the streets of Rome.
I didn't find Sandy portrayed as the strong character she was meant to be, a bit bland for me and definitely not like the depute heads, I've known.
Also, I had hoped for a twist in the tail at the end, so found the ending a bit too predictable. However, I do like a happy ending!
This type of book is not my preferred genre, I like reading crime stories, but I did enjoy it. Thanks GN and Fanny Blake for the copy.

kyalami Sun 14-Oct-18 13:59:57

Thank you so much for this delightful read! Having visited Rome, Naples & the Amalfi Coast at different times it was a delight to be able to reminisce & revisit a lot of the places mentioned in the story. Although a lighthearted story I enjoyed it very much as a bedtime read & was easy to pick up & put down, I don’t like anything too gritty.
I think it’s fascinating that Fanny was able to research the places in Italy for her story & ask if there is anywhere else in the world she would like to visit & maybe use as a location for future books. Does Fanny always have a few ideas/story plots on the back burner ready to be expanded?
Having not read any of Fanny’s books before it’s something I intend to remedy & will be purchasing her past books, a delightful author. ?

Grannyknot Sun 14-Oct-18 15:11:39

An enjoyable read for someone like me who loves Italy (although I've never been to the areas mentioned in the book but now definitely plan to do just that).

I found myself stopping the book every so often to Google and read up about a place, a painting or a sculpture.

The characters were well-drawn, I liked (understood) the friendship that developed between Sandy and Alice. I really liked Steven smile

My question to the author is - how long is a book like this in the making? As someone else has said, the research seems pretty extensive.

Mapleleaf Sun 14-Oct-18 18:11:43

Not sure where the name "Susan" came from in my thread! I did, of course, mean Sandy. ?