Rating: 4 Stars.
Lina is living in Tuscany for the summer. It is her mother’s dying wish that she sees the place that was so important to her in her younger years. Upon her arrival, she meets the beloved friend of her mother – Howard, an Italian sweetheart by the name of Ren, and Sonia who gives Lina her mother’s journal chronicling the time she spent in Tuscany. Lina discovers that there is far more about her mother that she never knew.
Let me preface this review with the fact that I’m not a fan of Italy. I’ve visited the country, and it really didn’t impress me. That being said, this book made me want to go back and visit Florence and spend a good week there.
I loved the setting that was created here, the descriptions of the places, the food, the author did an excellent job with world building.
The mystery was very well built up. I couldn’t stop reading this book and finished it within only a few hours, I was so enraptured by the tale.
I found the timing of the reading of the journal and the propulsion of the story to work out a little “too nicely”. Although it provides a nice contrast to intersperse the text within the story, the actions taken by the main character in some places felt a little staged and not believable, having not understood the whole story that her mother was telling. It’s a challenging obstacle to overcome as a writer, but this was my only difficulty.
Recommendations: A great mystery, travel, romance teen fiction with a bit of family drama. If that appeals to you, this is well worth your time. There is no real difficulty with inappropriate language, but older students would probably get more out of it 12+. A truly great summer read.