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4.8 out of 5 stars
Todo in Tuscany: the dog at the villa
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2012
If you are put off a book which reviewers label as "heart-warming" then turn away now.

'Todo in Tuscany' is a straightforward tale, simply told, but with considerable insights into the nature of folly, frustration and friendship.

Loyalty and perseverance are qualities we normally associate with the best of dogs. They are certainly qualities demonstrated in abundance by the eponymous and engaging hero whose personality persuades the authors to give up their life in London and buy an unsuitable villa in Tuscany. But they are also qualities that Todo (our hero) magically seems to transmit to everyone with whom he comes in contact.

Louise and Lawrence(authors and friends of Todo) let the tale of their Italian resettlement unfold in an uncomplicated style that belies the difficulties of the situations they encounter.

There are the usual strands of 'living-abroad-lit': building disasters, officious officials, glorious food, inspiring gardens,ravishing countryside and a bewilderingly different culture. But these familiar themes are carefully interwoven with an intriguing story of how a smiling dog can provide focus and unity in people's lives - how determination and friends can help triumph over life's vicissitudes.

Sentimental? occasionally; and the dialogue is sometimes a little forced, but it is the heart-warming(you were warned) tale/tail that provides its considerable rewards.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2012
A delightful and moving story of two people who, like many of us, had a dream of a new life in an idyllic part of the world but, unlike most of us, made that dream happen and moved their home to the beautiful rural slopes of a Tuscan village, while maintaining and running their UK-based business.

The idea of a dog being part of a house sale is something that catches your interest immediately when you start reading this book but you have no idea of just how much and how quickly the dog, Todo, will become a key third protagonist in their early years of adjusting to the demands of a new life in a new country.

I'm not someone who would normally read an animal book of this ilk but I loved this. It made me appreciate for the first time just how much joy and affection a dog can give to his owners and, of course, vice versa. This is all the more poignant here given the new lease of life Todo clearly enjoyed when the writers took on ownership of him and the house. It's hard, even for a relatively impartial dog-lover such as myself, not to imagine that Todo couldn't quite believe his luck!

And if your interest is more in 'How do you make a Big Move like that work?', you'll find that the quickly burgeoning relationship with Todo is cleverly intertwined with the authors' battles with language, Italian officialdom and local hunters; their deepening love affair with Tuscany; and the challenges of running a UK business from their new Tuscan home. Maybe all new ventures such as theirs should come with a local dog as mandatory!

A great read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2012
If you love Italy, if you love animals, if you adore good food and wine, if you love life, you will love this book!

My yardstick for a good book is often how much I feel for the characters. If I don't, picking up the book the next day is a chore. But when you love and identify with them you can't wait to get back and putting the book down actually feels like you are leaving them in limbo and they can't continue with their lives until you re open the pages!

Louise, Lawrence and Todo are such people and within the first few pages you're drawn willingly into their world ....... entirely with them on their journey ...... feeling what they feel and living every second!

It is written in a simple yet glorious style that puts you right there in Tuscany with them ..... holding your breath when things go wrong (and boy, they do!) ...... breathing a sigh of relief when near impossible situations resolve themselves ....... laughing with them through their triumphs (they do seem to have limitless good humour) ....... being thrilled by the Italian countryside and history that surrounds them and wishing you could leap into the pages and join them for one of their delicious meals! They are those kind of people!

It does have some very sad moments but the book leaves you on a high note and in total awe of their achievements and the new life that Todo has introduced them to. I have deliberately not mentioned more of the true star of the book, Todo. He is a truly exceptional little chap and I really do recommend reading this book so that you can discover for yourselves what one little dog can achieve in his life and the amazing legacy he leaves.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 2012
This is a delightful book. It's a good, well-told story, about 2 people who took a risk on a new life - seduced by an irresistable dog. Just moving house is challenge enough - but moving to a different country, and re-locating your business, and taking on a house in need of a complete overhaul is - well - off the stress scale. Give yourself a treat - you must read this book - and go on an adventure with L and L -and lose your heart, as they did, to an extraordinarily engaging dog and a beautiful landscape.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2012
From beginning to end this book is full of love and devotion. Not only to Todo, but to the authors quest for not just settling on life but to make a change to enable them to truly live their lives.

I loved how the story was interwoven with fun and games on the hills and 'bandana' days with Todo. To the sheer exhaustion and upheaval of moving your life, home and business to a country where you don't speak the language.

You will not be disappointed in this story,and I challenge you to get to the end without being a blubbering mess! If you like Marley and Me, then this is right up your street. If you don't like Marley and Me, read it anyway, Todo really does have a magic about him that I think many would struggle to not fall under his spell.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2012
I lived in Tuscany many years ago and have wonderfully fond memories of the place and people, so this book reminded me of all I loved and now miss. But little Todo, what a darling little dog! I really do think there was something exceptionally magical and special about him, perhaps it was the way he remained so utterly loyal for two lonely years to his old home and to the memory of his late owner, and that he refused to leave the shelter of a miserable old boiler room for the comfort of a new home, or perhaps it was his faith and optimism that one day he would again have people to love him and who bring his old home back to life once more. I liked the book and people very much, but I loved Todo and would have loved to have made his aquaintance.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2012
This book is written for you if you love Italy, the food, the landscape, the people and the amazing loyalty of a dog then you will adore it and you won't be able put it down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2012
I began the story of Todo and couldn't put the book down. It's heart warming and full of wonder. It's amazing how this dog touched so many lives and brought so many people together. I now want to go to Tuscany! The story is delightfully written, a real insight into Italian culture and customs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2014
I've just finished reading this wonderfully heart-warming book and, even though there's already quite a number of reviewers here admirably extolling the story's virtues, I nevertheless felt compelled to add myself to their ranks. I'm not completely sure why. Maybe, after two weeks of reading a chapter every morning, (to allow my vicarious Tuscan experience to last as long as possible),.... I've somehow come to feel almost like an invisible 'fourth member' of this lovely household. Now once again back in the real world, I find myself feeling a kind of 'family loyalty' pushing me to express my appreciation for the author's sharing of an experience which is both highly unusual, and deeply endearing.

Since there's already been enough plot detail provided in the wealth of positive reviews above, I felt that to add any more would not only be superfluous but, (even worse), would be to risk diminishing the freshness of the experience for those fortunate readers who still have this unexplored literary pleasure lying ahead of them. All I can suggest to you is, " Do take a chance on reading this genuinely touching book. It will be a decision I think you'll never, ever regret."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2012
I really enjoyed this lovely book! I identified more and more with Louise and Laurence and their obvious attachment to Todo even while they trying to relocate sensibly to Italy and it felt very `different' buying a house because of wanting the dog!!

And what a special dog! They were obviously completely captivated by him!

Buying a house for the location and then having to deal with sorting it related to well having just done a similar thing in moving house, but acquiring the dog with the property was certainly unusual!

I particularly liked the way each chapter was rounded off and felt Louise `spoke' well throughout the book. It felt genuine and I could relate to how they were feeling which was lovely. It read very easily and flowed well, so I wasn't having to reread things to clarify!

The added interest of them trying to run a business , with all the difficulties they encountered, plus trips to London and the music world, and research on the MacAndrew's etc. added great depth to the story too so it became a real joy to read.
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