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3.6 out of 5 stars58
3.6 out of 5 stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2009
OK, so some readers have found plenty to criticise, be it the Italian grammar, stereotypes, or Elizabeth's character. I would agree Elizabeth can get on your nerves, however, Parks spells out for us the shallow, lazy, hopeless romantic that Elizabeth is. Yes, she uses stereotypes, but she is chastised for this and for wallowing in her own self pity. As a character she is completely self absorbed. And yet this is what makes this book so compelling. I took it on holiday and read it over 3 days. Elizabeth is quite capable of a lot of things like most of us, yet most of the time she simply cannot be bothered. I should imagine that not everyone who visits Italy as a teenager gets to go back? What's wrong with that? The ending has a nice twist although I found the final chapter to be without much substance and playing into the stereotype of 'happy ever after'. I have read several of Parks books and enjoyed them for what they are. Don't over analyse and you will find the story a very enjoyable read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 August 2009
An entertaining and very readable book. I do agree with previous reviewers that the central character can be very tiresome and drippy, but I'm glad things all work out for her in the end! There are quite a number of very basic inaccuracies about aspects of Italian life; clearly the author hasn't spent much time there. This might sound pedantic, but it does detract from the 'sense of place' somewhat. The evil mother-in-law is priceless though!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2010
For a chick lit read - this book is brilliant.

It has a few errors, particularly Italian dialogue etc but if you're looking for chick lit (but not mushy or silly) than this book is for you.

Its not a typical chick lit either so don't worry.

The one thing I liked about this book is that the characters aren't usually what you would expect a a hero and heroine to be.

The book starts off as though it will be a Mills & Boon with a rather pathetic and silly blonde heroine who is swept off her feet by a dashing dark Italian....

And then reality hits and we see that life isn't like a fairytale...

The heroine isn't anything extraordinary and the hero isn't the dashing dark Italian you'd expect.

The book is emotional, funny and sweet

It has lots of chick lit moments but it also defies the chick lit genre because the dashing handsome Italian isn't the Mills & Boon hero we thought he'd be...

5 out of 5


Elizabeth has wanted two things her entire life to keep her happy and fulfilled - an Italian husband and lots of rosy-cheeked bambini. The first is ticked off now she's bagged dark and sexy Roberto, the second is proving harder to achieve. But when Roberto loses his job and decides to leave London for Italy and the family business, Elizabeth hopes the change in lifestyle might help her relax and boost her chances of conceiving. Except, no matter how much ice cream she eats in the sun-drenched piazza, it's impossible to relax when her wily mother-in-law (the original black widow) seems hellbent on destroying her marriage.The language barrier is tricky, as is Roberto's beautiful, significant ex who practically lives next door. Is Elizabeth's desire for a baby enough to hold her marriage together or is it ripping it apart? And why is she suddenly craving the company of a gorgeous, blond American stranger? Her filthy, flirty thoughts about him are totally inappropriate. Yet undeniably temperatures are rising ...and it's nothing to do with the Mediterranean sun.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Adele Parks is a superb author of contemporary women's fiction and her latest book, Tell Me Something, tells the story of Elizabeth whose desparate need to have a baby with her Italian husband Roberto over-rides every other aspect of her life. Parks' prose, as ever is punchy and excellent and the novel zips along well, but I must confess that I got rather annoyed with Elizabeth's self-centred approach to life and it made her rather shallow as a result.

On the plus side, the descriptions of Italy are fantastic and the character of Elizabeth's fearsome mother-in-law are well-crafted. Actually, apart from Elizabeth, all of the other characters are fairly believable and have the requisite amount of personality to appear believable. There are a few twists and turns towards the end of the book to maintain interest and overall it's a good read, but not one of Parks' best works I'm afraid.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2011
This is the first book i read by Adele Parks, and I have already ordered several other of her titles. 'Tell me something' is an exciting journey of a women who longs for her baby. Elizabeth's life is centered around her need for a child, and this is eventually shown in her marriage. Park's descriptions of her feelings really emphasises the story and really makes the reader relate to her.
The story is a rollecoster ride full of ups and downs for Elizabeth, and Parks clever and unpredictable twists and turns are throughaly enjoyable. From the very beginging we already feel like we know the characters and the novel almost feels real. This makes the reader feel emotional for Elizabeth through the good and bad and also was written in way that makes us know exactly how Elizabeth is feeling.
The book is full of susupension and i felt it extremly difficult to put this book down! An excellent read and i recomend it people who love a good romantic but thrilling storyline!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 August 2008
I wouldn't say that this is my favourite book by Adele Parks, but I enjoyed it more than I did her last one (Young Wives' Tales). I had a little trouble with the character of Elizabeth. I did warm to her, but she was obsessed with having a baby, to the point of only seeing her husband, Roberto, as the means of making a baby. I did feel a lot of sympathy for Elizabeth, however, because she does have a difficult time in Italy, and Roberto does not really help. The characterisation of Elizabeth's mother-in-law is excellent. I'm glad my mother-in-law isn't like that! Then there's Chuck. His friendship with Elizabeth is developed in such a nice way. I was kept guessing about which man Elizabeth would end up with. There are some other clever twists too, which I won't spoil. I particularly enjoyed the description of various parts of Italy.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 18 March 2009
I was initially a fan of Adele Parks, but have been gradually finding her books less entertaining. This one however is the final straw, a complete insult to anyone's intelligence.

The teenage Elizabeth goes on holiday to Italy with her family and falls in love with the country and thereafter makes it her life's ambition to marry an Italian man, have lots of children and live in Italy. Not that she actually does anything constructive about this, like studying Italian at university, or even night school, or travelling back to Italy.

Her only efforts are to have flings with a string of Italian boyfriends she meets through her bar job till she eventually settled down with Roberto and marries him. Even then she barely makes an effort to learn the language and they don't visit the country until moving there some six years post wedding.

Their relationship becomes strained by her all consuming obsession with getting pregnant and things only go down hill when, her husband having lost his job, they move back to Italy and in with the "wicked mother in law" - no stereotyping there eh! The mother in law clearly would prefer Roberto to have married his ex girlfriend - and given she is educated and intelligent, it is not hard to understand why.

Elizabeth shows no real sign of caring about anyone other than herself and her fantasy of being a mother. Her husband is treated like a sperm bank, denied sex when it is too close to her fertile time and told he owes it to her to have IVF.

Elizabeth ultimately gets her happy ending, but it's hard to say she deserves it. It is hard to imagine a more dull and silly character - she's about as two dimentional as the various stereotypes she gets accused of believing in throughout the book. If it wasn't for the fact I was stuck on a train journey without anything better to read I would have thrown this one away without finishing it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2009
The story of Elizabeth, who since she was young, has dreamed of marrying an Italian and moving to Italy. Her dreams come true and she marries Roberto and does indeed move to Italy. However the Italy of her youthful memories, although there in the background, plays no part in her life...instead she has a battleaxe of an Italian mother-in-law, a disinterested husband and no friends. Worn out by long hours in the family business and desperate to have a baby this is not what she had thought her future held. Enter a handsome young American and life changes for the better. This book has a happy ending and is a fun read. The author holds your interest from page one to the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2008
Adele Parks writes really entertaining books - of that there is no doubt. But they usually have a grittier under-belly of social conscience as well. This one, although v entertaining, was more chick lit than the others I felt. That said she really gets into the head of Elizabeth and her 'beyond everything' desire for kids, but it feels more superficial (or at least it did to me). In short, yes you will be entertained, no you probably won't be caused to think too much - and worse case, the simpering Elizabeth could really get on your nerves. This isn't the strongest of Adele Parks books, but it's better than lots of others in this genre.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 September 2014
I was impressed by a short story by Adele Parks in an anthology, so decided to try one of her books. Unfortunately on the basis of this novel, it may well be my first and last experience of Parks as novelist.

Set in London and Italy, 'Tell Me Something' tells the story of Elizabeth, the non-academic child of intellectual elderly parents, who is captivated by Italy when she visits the country as a teenager. She decides that when she is 'grown up' she will marry an Italian and have lots of handsome 'bambini'. Instead, however, of learning the language or going out to work there (a sensible and interesting way of achieving her aims) she decides to go and work in a bar in London and hang out with as many Italian customers as possible. After numerous romantic encounters she meets and marries the dashing Roberto. But the bambini don't arrive. After six years, Roberto loses his job in advertising and decides that he and the now very depressed Elizabeth should move to Italy (where, strangely, they've never been together) so that he can take over his family bar. Elizabeth eagerly agrees, and they move to Roberto's small village in the Veneto, which she is convinced will be the perfect place for her to conceive. But she hasn't banked on living with Roberto's tyrannical mother Raffaella, who won't speak to her in English, the difficulties of living in a country where she barely speaks the language, the presence of Roberto's sexy intellectual ex-girlfriend Anna Maria, newly returned from Verona, or for her own growing attraction to Chuck (why do Parks's men always have one syllable, often abbreviated names?!), a sexy American language teacher...

The story rattles along in a fairly agreeable way, which makes this a fairly pleasant switch-off read if you're very tired. But Parks's vision of Italy and Italian people is made up almost entirely of cliches. The Italian characters are all stereotypes: the handsome, cheating but troubled husband; the sexy young girl lured to becoming a married man's mistress; the tyrannical matriarch; the jolly villagers; the beautiful mysterious ex-girlfriend etc etc. Parks seems to have got most of her ideas on life in Italy from popular film: as another reviewer commented, Italians do not all observe strict siesta or go for a passegiatta every evening, and the Italian in the novel is full of errors. There are some toe-curling sex scenes, and Elizabeth, who constantly tells us how she's 'non intellectual' and bored by music, art, any books apart from romances, history etc etc, and spends most of her time whining about how her husband doesn't understand her or how unhappy she is to be childless, is a really irritating heroine. I found it hard to work out what (apart from her physical appearance) drew the charming if bland Chuck to her. And if Roberto had had such a brilliant, intelligent girlfriend back in Italy as a student, why did he ditch her for Elizabeth, who appears to have no interest in anything? Along with this, the novel contained too many facts and episodes that were frankly improbable. Here are a few of my especial favourites:

It seems extremely unlikely that a girl who loved Italy so much wouldn't have visited (particularly with all those Italian boyfriends) over the years between her 14th and 30th birthdays.

Surely anyone married to an Italian would try to learn at least a bit of their language?

Why, if Roberto was welcomed back as a hero on his return to live in his native village, had he not gone back for six years beforehand? Clearly things weren't so bad with his family - so why did he avoid them.

How did Elizabeth go six years without meeting Roberto's mother, if they were on good enough terms for him to come back and run the family bar? And how did she manage to live with Roberto for six years without knowing anything about what his family did?

Why does Roberto go from refusing to speak to his mother for six years to becoming an abject mamma's boy, in the space of about two weeks:

I've never known an Italian man who plucked their eyebrows.

If Anna Maria (note, Ana Maria is Spanish spelling, not Italian) was so intelligent and career-minded, why would she move back to live in a tiny Venetian backwater?

I think any Italian husband whose mother threw out their wife's clothes would get angry on their wife's behalf, however devoted they were to their mother. And Raffaella's nasty behaviour towards her daughter-in-law is way too over the top - surely Roberto would have felt bound to react in some way?

Elizabeth has virtually no qualifications and hates studying, so how does Chuck manage to get her to teach 'advanced classes in English' at the local language school? And what makes her suddenly change her mind and decide she loves studying and wants to be a TEFL teacher?

And my favourite scene (slight spoiler) was the one in which Roberto, having blatantly spent a whole night away from home, took Elizabeth for breakfast, checked she hadn't been unfaithful and then said 'good. Scandal must be avoided at all costs.' Really - hadn't he just created a scandal himself?

There are good moments in this book - the descriptions of Elizabeth's feisty best friend Alison, and some of the descriptions of Italian foods - but the silly plot and boring heroine made this a very irritating read in the end.
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