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on 15 July 2017
This book had me in tears - and that's not an easy task. Funny, sad, interesting
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 March 2014
If you like Tuscany, and you like budding relationship encounters (with an edgy adolescent flair), a bit of romance, and a novel that evokes this gorgeous part of the world, then this might be right up your ‘via’.

A diverse group of students comes together as they spend a Semester in Florence, roughly in the 1970s, and we observe how friendships develop and sexual partners hook up within the group. Initially, it is the story of young people finding their place in the world, as they assimilate themselves into Italian culture and explore their surroundings. The next part of the book moves swiftly through their lives, when they have all returned to live in the USA, until they hit late middle age. Out of the blue each receives an invitation to revisit their time in Tuscany. A First Class Ticket, together with gorgeous accommodation is the fantastic lure, sent out to all by one anonymous member of the group – though that person is soon identified.

The parts in the book set in Tuscany at the beginning and the end feel like two solid bookends, with superb attention to local detail, and cradle the, at times, ephemeral ‘lives lived’ in the USA in the middle. The central part feels like a ‘gloss over’ to enable the plot to move from Tuscany at the beginning, back to Tuscany three decades later at the end.

It is so clear that Gail loves Italy, you can feel it through her prose, and she really does a good job of transporting the reader to locale, espresso no doubt in hand. Oh, the culture and feel of the region, right down to the cobbled alleyways and the odd vespa. It is a debut novel which has much promise for any follow up books that she may have in the pipeline.

I read this book with pleasure, because it does have a real spark to it, it moves along well and has good pace. The element that perhaps detracted a little but didn’t marr the overall enjoyment, was the intensity and level of bonding between members of the group at their first encounter. Stillman, Bella, Phillip et al hung out together, held hands an awful lot, had sex, engaged in a great deal of breast ogling, and explored the notion of what it might be to be ‘in love’, back-slapped and palmed each other – as adolescents do – but not sufficiently deeply to warrant them choosing to regroup after decades, with little or no contact; and particularly after some questionable behaviour that occurred between some group members then and now! Would Bella really have wanted to see Phillip again, or for that matter rambunctious Rune? I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to have set records straight with one self centred character, nor would I have want to spend more time with another character who, although ill, came across as an incontrovertible schmuck.

PS. Spotted the polyglot wordplay in the title?
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on 22 August 2014
This is a lovely novel, it has inspired me to try and reunite with the beautiful people I shared tuscany with in my 20s. If the reunion is not possible (because let's face it...Stilman is hard to emulate!!) I will always have "To tuscany with love" to help me imagine what might have become of my wonderful friends!! I chose this book to create an atmosphere in my busy mind before I take my children to tuscany next week and it has done this and it has also reminded me of my travelling past and the adventurous spirit that still resides in me. I'm looking forward to my holiday and inspiring my children to always seek the path less travelled ....I will be searching out the secret roof top terraces with them xxx thanks Gail ...for your inspiration.
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on 24 February 2014
Fantastic book from start to finish. All the characters in the book were enjoyable to read. Loved how the characters grew through the book. An emotional rollercoster set in Tuscany
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on 20 August 2014
A great read - a super first novel. The book just got better and better. I was a trifle irritated with the editing (inconsistently calling San Gim a village, etc) but the chracters came alive for me and the time shifts were well-managed. Imperceptibly, life can slip away and it's rare to get a second chance, but it happens, believably in this story. I was sorry the story ended - I wanted to keep reading.
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on 27 August 2014
The characters are so well written and Florence so enchanting you cannot help but be swept onto this novel.the writer would entice anyone to visit Florence. Great human emotions too. Might not have drawn one of the characters dilemma out for so long though. More please.
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on 28 April 2014
An enjoyable read, will be interested to read more by Mancini. Good character formation, an unexpected plot. In the beautiful back drop of Tuscany. The narrative formed strong pictures, a great book for the escapist in me. I Would recommend this book.
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on 23 November 2014
Reading the story evoked many fond memories of Florence - one of the main reasons I selected the book in the first place. The characters are plausible and their decision making seemed surprising at times to say the least. It kept my interest throughout.
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on 14 July 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed the book from start to finish. Once you started reading it, you had to keep going, and you could picture yourself in the beautiful country side. A really great book.
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on 27 January 2015
Liked the storyline and knowing the area it was set in made it all the more interesting, could probably be a second book if the author was so inclined.
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