Kit Raine, an American writer living in Tuscany, is working on a biography of her close friend, a complex woman who continues to cast a shadow on Kit’s own life. Her work is waylaid by the arrival of three women–Julia, Camille, and Susan–all of whom have launched a recent and spontaneous friendship that will uproot them completely and redirect their lives. Susan, the most adventurous of the three, has enticed them to subvert expectations of staid retirement by taking a lease on a big, beautiful house in Tuscany. Though novices in a foreign culture, their renewed sense of adventure imbues each of them with a bright sense of bravery, a gusto for life, and a fierce determination to thrive. But how? With Kit’s friendship and guidance, the three friends launch themselves into Italian life, pursuing passions long-forgotten–and with drastic and unforeseeable results.
I won Women In Sunlight by Frances Mayes in a Goodreads giveaway. I was drawn to this title because I read Under the Tuscan Sun and loved the movie adaptation starring Diane Lane. Frances Mayes has written several books revolving around Tuscany Italy. It is obvious how much she loves the area, the culture and the food. What I appreciate most about Mayes’ take on Tuscany is the transformative power that it has. It is clear that Tuscany has shaped Frances Mayes and I cannot say no to story that details how a cultural experience changes an individual to their core.
I found this to be a lovely story revolving around the power of female friendship. Camille, Susan and Julia decide to take charge of their lives after being widowed and experiencing a upheaval in the family. Each lady is contemplating purchasing space at a senior living complex but instead decide to become friends and reside in Italy for a year. Clearly they made the right decision. Neither woman would ever think that this experience was going to transform their life. I absolutely loved that female friendship is at the heart of this novel. I absolutely loved that angle. The reader gets to travel along with the ladies for their year in Italy. We get to visit different cities, eat delicious food, see gorgeous gardens, and view breathtaking art. The reader gets to drink a a cappacunio on the piazza with the locals nodding their greetings. Violetta will even bring you a biscotti to enjoy your coffee. Frances Mayes has a knack for bringing Italy to life for you….so much so that you really do get a realistic experience just by reading her books.
The last sentence of the book perfectly demonstrates the writing style of Frances Mayes
“Where this story stops, they look into a mirror reflecting a mirror where the story begins and reflects a mirror where the story continues.”
If you are not familiar with Mayes’ writing already I will caution that you need to give it time to get acquainted. It is flowery, flowing and includes a variety of vocabulary. She constructs the sort of sentences that require you to sit on them a bit and let the language sink in. While this form of writing does not normally appeal to me; I am the sort of reader who likes to get to the point of the story and loathes unnecessary words. However that is not the case with Mayes. Her unique ability to compile words is necessary in bringing Tuscany to life.
So if you are looking for a novel that details Italy, the transformative power of female friendship and includes delicious food descriptions then look no further. Women in Sunlight has all of that and so much heart.
This uncorrected proof of Women in Sunlight was provided by Crown Publishing with the hopes of an honest review. As a member of the Bookstagram community on the social media outlet Instagram I do my part in sharing what I am reading. By tagging the publisher’s Instagram account I am letting them know that I am sharing. For the first time the publisher shared my picture on their Instagram account as a means of promoting Women in Sunlight!
Needless to say I was pretty excited to see that notification! As a lover of books…as someone who loves to talk books….that was pretty damn awesome and I hope it happens more and more!
Women in Sunlight is out April 3rd. I hope you give it a chance!