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October book club - An Italian Summer

(60 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!

otherwiseknownasGrandma Mon 15-Oct-18 10:41:45

Thanks for my free copy of the book. I thought it was an enjoyable, light-hearted read.

I liked the fact that the main characters were older - children leaving home, spouses and parents dying, marriages ending, unconventional family groups, new relationships in later life, competing against younger blood for promotion, returning to work after raising a family and changing career are all interesting topics easy to relate to.

I felt that the author had done her research on Rome and Naples, especially the details about the food and the heat! It would have been a great holiday read, especially if you were lucky enough to be holidaying in Italy. It did make me want to go back.

janiceanne Mon 15-Oct-18 15:01:15

Thank you Gransnet for introducing me to Fanny Blake. I found the novel 'An Italian Summer' enthralling and thoroughly enjoyable.
I will certainly be reading more of her books.
The composition of the story reminded me very much of Joanna Trollops's style of writing in dealing with relationships. Absolutely loved the story-line and the wonderful descriptions of Italy.

Harris27 Mon 15-Oct-18 21:18:16

Thank you gransnet loved the book transported me back to Rome and the summer! It was a easy read and liked the characters felt it mixed on really well. First time with this utter but won't be my last enjoyed it. Passing it onto my sister.

Harris27 Mon 15-Oct-18 21:19:04


nahsma Wed 17-Oct-18 19:29:27

An enjoyable holiday read. The characters were well drawn and the descriptions of Rome and Naples were wonderfully vivid. I thought the way everything suddenly came together and got sorted out at the end was a bit glib - did Alice really already live so close she could stay at Sandy's home while still getting to her new job? But a minor quibble! I would be interested to know if Fanny Blake plans everything before she starts to write, or whether once the characters are coming to life, she lets them take over and lead the story along?

Hellsbelles Fri 19-Oct-18 10:30:34

Have just finished the book. It was such an uplifting read, at the beginning I wasn't thinking I would like Sandy but a few chapters in I was certainly hoping she was going to get her 'happy ending'. I agree with other readers that the friendship with Alice was also a lovely aspect of the book. Fanny Blake catches the essence of Italy perfectly and whilst I've never particularly felt the need to travel there from holiday programmes the words on the page and the love you can feel she has of the place has added Italy as one of the places I'd now like to visit. A very good read.

cornergran Fri 19-Oct-18 16:23:48

This was just the right type of book for me at the moment. Concentration and time are both limited and this was ideal as I could read a few pages and easily return a day or two later.

Trips to Italy are among my favourites, it was good to be able to see it again through the descriptive passages. The friendship between Sandy and Alice seemed both feasible and very real. I would have liked Sandy to be a little tougher earlier in the book, she irritated me in the beginning but I warmed to her later.

My ‘wonders’ for the author echo many others expressed here. Has Fanny lived in Italy, how was the research carried out? Might there be any plans for a sequel or even series? Either focused on Italy, Sandy or other characters from this book?

Thank you GN and Fanny, this book was well timed for me.

emmasnan Sun 21-Oct-18 19:14:02

I loved this book, very easy to read with a story line I enjoyed.
Wonderful descriptions of Italy, very accurate and she even mentioned the heat which can be quite tiring. Its made me want to go there again and visit more places.
I'll certainly look out for more books by Fanny Blake.

Greenfinch Mon 22-Oct-18 12:38:57

It took me quite a while to get into this book and consequently quite a long time to read it. I couldn't really identify with any of the characters and I felt the liaison between Mark and Lia was a bit far fetched. I would have liked a twist in the tale at the end.However,I did enjoy the last 100 or so pages and agree with others that it was a light holiday read.

Greenfinch Mon 22-Oct-18 14:56:53

Is there a November book yet ?

Mapleleaf Tue 23-Oct-18 21:53:41

Not seen one mentioned yet.

Greenfinch Tue 23-Oct-18 21:55:35

Just on today I think.

Mapleleaf Tue 23-Oct-18 21:57:22

Actually, I've just been scrolling down "latest" and seen the November book advertised there.

Mapleleaf Tue 23-Oct-18 21:58:18

Crossed posts, Greenfinch ?

Greenfinch Wed 24-Oct-18 06:57:17

Let's hope we are both lucky.grin

Lkilby Wed 24-Oct-18 15:19:59

Great book and a lovely holiday read. I've never been to Italy but I'm sure I would love it after reading this book. Not only the historic sites but also the delicious food! I would also like to hear from Fanny about how she researched it and how long it took.

Patsy70 Wed 24-Oct-18 16:22:12

Just downloaded to my Kindle, on your recommendations.

Miniperson Fri 26-Oct-18 14:13:39

Thank you for my copy of Italian Summer. I really enjoyed reading it. I visited Rome, Sorrento and Pompei about 15 years ago and Fanny Blake’s descriptions of those places took me straight back! Sandy was a lovely character and I am glad she had some answers to her questions. An easy read, perfect holiday reading especially if visiting Italy.

Candelle Mon 29-Oct-18 18:56:02

Oh dear. I’m in a minority - I didn’t really, really enjoy the book! I found it very ‘wordy’, as in too much unnecessary dialogue (he said, she said etc.) and detail.

Lia was a monstrosity and surely Alice would have said something /done something /killed Peter (whose characterisation I did enjoy)!

‘An Italian Summer’ did give an excellent flavour of Italy reprising memories for those who have visited and providing a tantalising glimpse of what is in store for those who have not. Fanny Blake’s food descriptions made me yearn to jump on a ‘plane back to Italy!

It was the characterisations I didn’t enjoy; I wanted to tell Sandy to get a grip, shake Alice, and kill Peter (and Lia, too - maybe at the same time)... all too pastiche, too Mills and Boon.

Thank you Fanny for ‘An Italian Summer’ for I now know that I could never ever join a group holiday!

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 30-Oct-18 16:21:02

Quick note for those who received a free copy of Fanny's book - please can you leave your thoughts and questions on this thread asap and we will send them over to be answered

Candelle Mon 05-Nov-18 16:54:33

Am just musing on the thought that perhaps Fanny has actually met a Lia/Peter or seen such a 'relationship', fleeting 'though it actually was, develop. Or, perhaps the ideas are all in the mind of an fiction-writing author.....?

Proseccomimama Sat 10-Nov-18 09:44:37

Thanks for the book. I enjoyed it. I liked the characters and they seemed very credible and accurate in their presentations. I particularly liked Sandy's choice of men-both Matthew and Steven and wish that I had chosen so well in life! The book depicted the good and bad of group travel and anyone planning a group holiday would be well advised to read this..

FannyBlakeAuthor Mon 12-Nov-18 14:12:55

First of all, thank you everyone who’s read An Italian Summer with Gransnet and sent in questions. I’m delighted that you’ve enjoyed it.

FannyBlakeAuthor Mon 12-Nov-18 14:14:23


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?

Thank you. I would love this to happen of course but there are no plans as yet. Sometimes I amuse myself by dreaming up a wish-list for a cast, but that’s as far as it’s got.

FannyBlakeAuthor Mon 12-Nov-18 14:15:06


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?

I’ve never lived in Italy but I’ve visited it often. We have relations who do live there who we see every year, but we’ve also explored a lot of the major towns and had family holidays in the country. I’d been to both Rome and Naples before, both favourite cities of mine, but I went back last year to revisit the places I love and in doing so discovered some new. We spent a couple of weeks travelling around, seeing the sites, sitting in cafes soaking up the atmosphere and taking notes and photos. Without going, you can’t recreate the sounds and smells and little details that make the places so special.