This is my second Mary Carter book. The Things I Do For You was so interesting & different from my other reading that I couldn’t pass up Three Months in Florence. Except for two romances the bulk of my reading for the next month is mysteries/suspense so it may be a bit before you get another review from me. This is a partial of my current reading list. These are the ones I have to read/review between now & the 1st week of Sept. If there’s anything here you’d like to see at Seawitch let me know. Unless y’all wanna see it I’ll be posting strictly romance or women’s fiction.
Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen (reading now)
The Enemy Inside
In the Belly of Jonah, Lot’s Return to Sodom, Widow’s Might, & Noah’s Rainy Day ~ This is a mystery series by Sandra Brannan
Dreams of the Cursed (Urban Fantasy)
Beside Your Heart
Lena met Alex in college. When she saw him in the front of the auditorium setting up for his lecture she knew he was the man she would marry. Fast forward sixteen years. Alex has been asked by the university to teach a semester at the university in Florence, Italy. Florence, the honeymoon they never had, the city they were to share and Alex is going without her. Lena’s hurt and jealous that Alex is living in and experiencing Florence without her while she stays home with the kids keeping the hearth burning. Can their marriage survive a three month separation? A six month separation?
Lena ~ Passionate, descended from Vikings Lena. White blond, fair-skinned, aqua-eyed, late thirties Lena. Love and Alex were her future so Lena never finished school. She’s never made it to Florence either; life, in the form of a new professorial position for Alex, a baby, a mortgage and so on have kept her stateside. Her jealousy when Alex goes to Florence alone is completely understandable and she’s vocal about it. I loved Lena, faults and all. I thought she was amazing.
Alex ~ Tall, dark, and handsome-with-cheekbones-sculpted-from-marble Alex. Lust and love at first sight Alex. Early forties, sixteen years married to Lena and six months in Florence Alex chooses to jeopardize everything. Florence without Lena changes Alex, or does it? Is this the true Alex? I was ambivalent about Alex. The only times my feelings were certain were when, like Lena, I wanted to hurt him.
Rachel and Josh ~ teenage daughter and clueless younger son of Lena and Alex. Due to the way Lena finds out about Alex and Alexandria they’re involved in a way most children probably wouldn’t be. Their pain, lashing out, and conflicted loyalties are believable and excellently portrayed. Rachel is especially involved and affected.
Alexandria ~ the other woman. Late twenties, dark hair, olive-complected, selfish, self-centered, immature, manipulative and high maintenance other woman. Courtesy of a local artist who is being compared to Michaelango, Alexandria is currently “the face” of Florence. Chalk drawings in myriad colors all over the city complete with a guided walking tour. Alexandria also works at the university. I didn’t like Alexandria at any point. I connected with Lean and found nothing about Alexandria the least bit sympathetic. Alex and Alexandria made me think of the saying that love isn’t truly about the other person but the reflection of ourselves they give back to us.
Marco ~ Late twenties devastatingly handsome lover of Alexandria. They’ve known each other from childhood. Marco becomes Lena’s partner in crime and friend. I loved Marco. Honestly, what’s not to love? He’s handsome, talented, wise beyond his years, and knows how to be a friend. The latter is often underrated and undervalued. He’s the passionate equal of Lena.
Harold and Jean ~ Another university couple in Florence. Jean heads the department that employs Alexandria.
Florence and her people ~ The city, it’s art and architecture, the citizens and energy are as much a character as Lena and the others. In fact Lena and Florence ~ Firenze, dominate THREE MONTHS IN FLORENCE. Florence reshapes Lena as she works her own spell on Florence. All the other characters revolve around Lena and Florence. What she decides, the conclusions she reaches, affect everyone else’s future.
Lena and her THREE MONTHS IN FLORENCE grabbed me and refused to let go; firing my imagination and keeping me reading until I was literally falling asleep over the book. While I’ve read plenty of books where one or the other has an affair, Lena’s approach was singular in how she chose to confront Alex and deal with the situation. There are no endless boring mental ruminations as to why, nor are there girlfriend discussions ad nauseum trashing the man. Despite the fact that she could gleefully hurt Alex she tries to keep Rachel and Josh in the forefront of her mind and conduct herself with dignity. Key word being “tries”; Lena isn’t described as passionate for nothing. While Lena also confronts Alexandria their encounters are unlike anything I had imagined they would be.
As she explores and experiences Florence, Lena discovers herself and her marriage. A building, a piece of art, something will spark a revealing memory. Many futures rest on what Lena discovers and decides.
Ms.Carter has a gift for making places and characters spring to life. I could see, smell and taste Florence. I was right there throwing spaghetti with Lena. Going to Angelo’s espresso bar, shopping in the market, discovering Florence in ways tourists aren’t able to. Lena, her dilemma and pain, Florence, everything is so vividly portrayed that I found myself thinking of them when I wasn’t reading and now that I’m done they’re still there. I’m still wondering and thinking about them. Splendid work, Ms.Carter, absolutely splendid.
I highly recommend THREE MONTHS IN FLORENCE.
5 stars / tail swishes
Those who commented on Zina’s post welcoming me please let me know, in descending order, 3 books (of those listed as from my shelves) that appeal to you. There’s an addition to that list, Miss Julia Deliver’s the Goods. Bought a duplicate.
Y’all have a great weekend. Middle and his fiancee are coming tomorrow for a week so I’ll be scarce & even further behind! I’ll try to stop in though.