• Book: The Rome Apartment
  • Location: Rome
  • Author: Kerry Fisher

Review Author: tripfiction




What a delight this novel is. A good, immersive story with Rome as a colourful backdrop.

Beth and her husband Joel have seen their daughter off to University. They live in Purley (outside London) and the marriage clearly has lost its sparkle for Joel, as he is off to Paris with work whilst he thinks about the future. Beth’s great friend encourages her to take the opportunity of doing something different, and in The Lady she finds the way forward. Over in Rome, Ronnie is encouraged by her loud friend Marina to let out a flat in her villa to a woman who will come to appreciate it. And that is how Beth finds her way to Rome for several weeks, into the arms of Marina and Ronnie.

The two women set Beth some tasks to ease her out of her self deprecating and unconfident stance (the task-giving sounds a bit contrived but actually works quite well, given the spirited characters of the two women) and soon Beth is off to get to know the city. A chance encounter with Rico is potentially messy and she wrestles with her heart and her head in a realistic way as she works her way through her sadness and anger, and starts to acknowledge her changing self. It does sound cheesy but in fact many of the thoughts and observations are surely gleaned from the author’s life experience and she sets out her stall in a very convincing and engaging way.

The author herself (as she says at the end), had the opportunity to live in the city for a month, and her writerly imagination was fired as she walked the city, past innumerable and individual water fountains and doors, behind which lives were clearly being lived to the full…

You get plenty of tips for a trip to Rome, whether it is exploring more out-of-the-way places (like Galeria Sciarra, Giardino degli Aranci or Park of the Aquaducts), where tourists are few and far between. Or, gelaterie: Highlighted is Fatamorgana which excels at mixed flavours like pink grapefruit with ginger and horseradish (I’d give that a go!) or avocado and lime with white wine, or liquorice and Kentucky chocolate with an infusion of tobacco leaves. We might have to organise a comparison between Beth’s preferred gelateria with our favourite: Gelateria Frigidarium in the Fico area of the city.

This novel is perfect for #literarytourism!

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