Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited for Family Shop now Fitbit



There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 3 June 2017
Her first book, she gets much better and who doesn't love stories based in Italy
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 February 2011
This is a thriller with a realistic Italian background, although as first published in 2003 there are a couple of points that remove it from the 21C and the Italy that we know. The lira is no longer the currency and the wave of immigrants, although still a big problem, as I expect many of you reading this are aware, will often be of different nationalities to those featured. The depth of description of the ex-pat community in Florence reminds me in some ways of A Room With A View, although this is much more detailed and not set in 1908 but modern days. The author clearly knows and loves Florence and is not afraid to write about the drugs, corruption and prostitution that are part of the city and I suppose most big cities in the world these days. As far as I understand though Florence is not generally a dangerous place, just maybe a bit rough around the edges. She also describes beautifully the countryside outside Florence, in Tuscany and the Maremma, including Thermal Springs to be found in the countryside that I have enjoyed bathing in myself if not the particular ones described.

A week in the springtime in Florence, what could be a better way for Gina Donovan to unwind from the pressures of family life while visiting an old friend from university. Gina's holiday turns out to be not at all the week of relaxation that she was anticipating as through her we meet the motley cast of characters that form part of the expat community. The main ones are Jane her university friend, who runs a cookery school, her successful architect husband Niccolo who has English and Italian parentage plus his daughter Beatrice. The aristocratic Frances a widow in her seventies is a character central to the story as is her Birthday party that is planned for the end of the week. Frank is the journalist within the community, although not a terribly successful one and young Ned, Beatrice's boyfriend.

The plot is complex with many other characters besides the few I have mentioned. Within the first few pages we learn of the two murders but it is only the second body that is discovered immediately. Before the end of the week not only death but love,memories and secrets will all have intruded on Gina's time in Italy. I think that is enough information to have tempted you if you like the sound of a murder mystery in an Italian setting. There is enough suspense skilfully built into the story that kept me turning the pages to make this a very quick and entertaining read.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 26 July 2005
I thought this book was really quite good.
I didn't find the characters 'wooden' - I would just call them 'understated'. It was a hard, fast murder mystery in the usual mould, it was a gentle, ambling murder mystery that although it did have it's dark sides, it was also quite a relaxing read.
The descriptions of Florence were very evocative and I felt like I would miss most of the characters when I finished the book.
I'm certainly about to buy her other two !
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 August 2005
Evelina had been caught between two rocks off the beaten track. The body had been there for several hours as rigor mortis had already started to set in. Evelina was just fourteen years old.
In a dark Florentine back street another girl's dead body lays in a shower of broken glass. Her navel stud torn out and bleeding- there had been a violent struggle. The girl's name was Natasha Julius, also of very young age.
Gina Donovan felt like her life in London had been sinking for quite some time. With three children to look after and no time left to herself she was recently prone to have an outburst of tears and bordering a case of depression. Gina's husband calls their old college friend Jane Manzini who now lived in Florence. Could a week away make all the difference?
Lady Frances Richardson was about to throw one of her grandest celebration parties for her birthday. The party in San Niccolo was going to be her best remembered.
Between Gina's arrival and Frances' Party, fear and suspicion cast a shadow over the happy event. Gina question herself, was her life really upside-down or was it just a case of everybody else's lives looking a lot more complicated.
Wonderful, once again Christobel Kent has come through with her intelligent, well-paced descriptive writing, which I always love to read. Kent's observation of people and places for her characterisation are well told from elegant Italian ladies to the seedier and sinister side of life. Kent's describes the English residents, who try to remain in their class system when greeting each other on the street, with the rules of exclusion and involvement always feeling uncomfortable at being caught off guard. However an Italian would enjoy a leisurely conversation even with a perfect stranger. I found this quite amusing as you see things like this happen before your eyes when in Italy. Kent's geographic knowledge of Florence shines through. There's a lot of action going on in the story line, some of the other reviewers were put off by this, however I felt it added to the tension and the excitement, it was extremely well woven together. Congratulations to Kent, another thrilling read.
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 July 2003
I'm not the best reviewer in the world but wanted to let people know what a terrific first novel this is.
It's all set in one week with the party of the title being the denouement. Gina's week's holiday away from her slightly distracted husband and three demanding children turns out to be quite different from the one she expected.
The author conjures up such images of Florence both good and bad you can almost smell and taste it.
Please read this book - you won't be disappointed.
0Comment| 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 26 July 2005
I thought this book was really quite good.
I didn't find the characters 'wooden' - I would just call them 'understated'. It was a not a hard, fast murder mystery in the usual mould, it was a gentle, ambling murder mystery that although it did have it's dark sides, it was also quite a relaxing read.
The descriptions of Florence were very evocative and I felt like I would miss most of the characters when I finished the book.
I'm certainly about to buy her other two !
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 July 2003
This is a treasure. Let her keep writing; one hopes she will.
It is a beauitifully choreographyed book,the characters are drawn simply with beauty and human understanding,the sense of place is illustrated with such dexterity of a writer far beyond her years,it has a freshness that is invigorating.
Slow and choopy to start, she does not dissapoint however.
It is a convoulted circumcumnavigation of time,place people and incendents and ultimitly works wonderfully.
One hopes that this imagination and this wonderful immpressionistic style will continue and florish
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 April 2014
Anyone who has been lucky enough to travel to Florence, or anyone contemplating a visit will enjoy this book. It is a well written storey linking the privileged and unprivileged communities within this historic city. The characters come to life and each has a storey to tell and reasons to be in the city at a point in time where they are cleverly drawn together over just a few days. The storey takes you on a journey that twists and turns with a surprising climax. Once started, you can't put this book down until you know the answer to the mystery and the outcome for the characters.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 September 2003
I really enjoyed this book -- or at least, half of it. The author draws Florence beautifully, and her characters too, live. But the subplot involving the prostitution and murder is a less convincing depiction of the town's "dark side." I kept wishing the author had trusted her great ability to describe people and places, and had kept the story a bit 'smaller' and more personal.
All this said, it is well worth reading, and I would read anythign else she writes.
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 July 2007
This is not the usual 'sort' of literature that I read, but when it was recommended to me I bought it and have now ordered two more of the author's works. I really enjoyed it and the descriptions of Italy are wonderful. It is a real page turner and some of the human insights are really wonderful. Some of the characters perfectly conjured up real people that I have known in my own life, so the people and places are extremely believable. The plot is also very exciting and kept me guessing.
I highly recommend this novel!
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse


Need customer service? Click here