Why Join?

  • Add New Books

  • Write a Review

  • Backpack Reading Lists

  • Newsletter Updates

Join Now

Novel set in Valle d’Aosta, Italian Alps (we chat to author T A Williams)

30th May 2016

What Happens in the Alps by T A Williams, romance novel set in Valle d’Aosta, Italian Alps.

A delightful romance novel set amongst the glittering peaks of the Italian Alps.

novel set in valle d'aosta

Annie’s husband Steve died a couple of years ago, and as the book opens she is trying to  get back to a semblance of normality. She has found premises for her venture, an English language school, based in fictional Santorso… Paolina is on hand to help her manage all the bookings that start to come in.

As the winter sets in, Annie re-connects with life after her extreme loss, and one of her great pleasures is to take off over the peaks in one of the ski lifts above the village. One day there is a small accident involving Leo the dog, and although he is largely unscathed she finds herself getting to know members of the Lago family (patriarch Lago owns the dog); and of course there is sexy Alessandro Lago who is definitely candy to the eye. A suave man about the slopes who engages with the good life – a quick spin in the car with the black horse emblem seduces Annie, but only to a certain extent. It’s not quite her thing.

Enter Matt, her husband’s friend, who was with Steve when he took his death tumble on a climb in the mountains. Matt is such an irrepressible womaniser, but nevertheless good friend to Annie. All her friends are naturally smitten. She of course is not, there is no way she would get involved with such a footloose and fancy free lothario, however attractive he may be.

As the reputation of her school grows, she pursues her dalliance with Alessandro, and the denouement comes at the masked ball. Who will be her skiing partner as the book closes?

Paolina and her unique dress-sense (not many women would sew appliqué Edelweiss over moth holes in a garment) form an entertaining feature in the book, as she changes clothes as often as Matt changes girlfriends (perhaps it is the descriptions of Paolina’s dress sense that hint that the author may not be female!).

An easy read for cold winter nights, this book certainly whisks you off, right up into the Italian Alps.  The author clearly knows the area well. He is fully familiar with the vagaries of the ski world, the delights of a quick espresso, and Italian food such as Bagna Cauda. The writing is very readable, and the storyline is an enjoyable mix of mystery and romance.

Enjoy. I am just off for a sample of the local drink mentioned in the novel – genepy...cheers!

For more books set in the world of snowsports, check out our Pinterest Board here

Tina for the TripFiction Team

Over to T A Williams, who has agreed to answer our questions:

TF:  “What Happens…”  is a series of romantic comedies. What destinations do you write about and why?

TAW:  Thanks a lot for hosting me on your blog. My books are generally set either in the west of England (where I live now) or in Italy and France where I lived for about ten years. They say you should write about what you know, so that’s why I’ve always chosen to write about places with which I’m familiar and whose language I speak.

TF:  This is your most recent book, What Happens in the Alps… It is set in a little town called ‘Santorso’ in Italy. Tell us a little more about this little town and your inspiration for the fictional setting in the Valle d’Aosta.

TAW   Yes, it’s based on the town of Aosta in the valley of the same name. The patron saint of Aosta is Sant’Orso, so I borrowed his name for the town in the book. The Aosta Valley leads up from northwest Italy towards Switzerland and France, via the Mont Blanc tunnel or the St Bernard pass and tunnel. I lived there for four years and got to know the place and the people really well.

TF:  What kind of place is it?

TAW:   Set in the midst of stunning Alpine scenery, it’s a fabulous centre for winter sports and in the summer, it’s a paradise for walkers and mountain bikers. I had the great good fortune when I lived there to have in my class (I was teaching English) the architect responsible for the construction and development of the ski resort of Pila, directly above the town (in the book I have rechristened it Montebello). He gave me a free lift pass for the full season for several years running and, as I was only working on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, I used to go skiing every Wednesday from the end of November to April.

TF: It sounds like you are a good skier?

TAW: I love skiing, but the problem I had was that in those days I was broke, so I just about had enough money to buy myself second hand skis and boots, but no money for lessons. As a result I can now ski down pretty much anything from a wall to a glacier, but there’s not a lot of style!

TF:  What about your other books? Tell us a little about setting?

TAW: My most successful book so far has been What Happens in Tuscany… . I lived in the Tuscan hills just outside Florence immediately after getting married (to one of my adult students – the occupational hazard of adult education!). I really love Tuscany and I’ve got a lot of good friends there, so it was logical to write about that gorgeous part of the world.

TF: And what is next for you?

TAW: My next book comes out in July and the title is What Happens at the Beach…. This book is set on and around a fictitious beach on the Mediterranean coast in France, just north of the Spanish border. For anybody who doesn’t know the area, I really recommend it. We used to go there every summer on holiday and I got to know the area very well by car, on foot and on a bike (my passion). Head for Collioure, the inspiration for countless famous artists, and check out the wonderful beaches, headlands and bays running down from there into Spain. And, of course, inland of there is the famous Cathar country with a wealth of historical interest.

The book thereafter is going to be set in Venice, which needs no introduction. My wife and I had a wonderful research trip there in December and my accountant tells me it may be tax deductible. This writing game has its advantages, you know!

Thank you to T A for his wonderful answers.

You can follow the author on Twitter, Facebook and via his website

Come and connect with Team TripFiction via Twitter (@tripfiction), Facebook (TripFiction), Instagram (TripFiction) and Pinterest (TripFiction)… and now YouTube

Subscribe to future blog posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *