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Book set in TUSCANY (beaches + romance + locale, what more do you need?)

10th December 2013

Save the Date! by Allie Spencer: book set in Tuscany

0099579979.01.ZTZZZZZZ

Save the Date! by Allie Spencer is a light-hearted, fun, fast-paced holiday read.The imagery of Tuscany is striking and breathtaking and warm enough to give a little heat to your feet even if your holiday was a mid-October weekend in Newcastle. Both the Hotel Santa Lucia and the town by the same name are described with a vibrant effect: the Medieval hotel has a personality of its own, taken, as Ailsa says, from The Adams Family, but with a wonderful romantic twist; it allows the characters to interact with each other in a flowing way, and the historic and emotional value that it has for the characters makes it the best setting for this story to unfold.Similarly, the town and its inhabitants are brought to life in a very colourful way, with its winding cobbled streets and stone buildings and cafés; the people can be stereotypical at times, but that might not be a bad thing for all readers.

Now, the beaches, oh the beaches are just amazing: pristine and evocative. There is a wonderful contrast between the peace and the fury of the ocean, working as destiny might to get the characters in the place where they rightfully should. The mix of the three Tuscan elements will definitely allow the reader to say: Romance? Check!

And seeing as I cannot manage to pick a book without a pet in it, I will make a short space here to talk about Arthur: loyal, cuddly, heart-warming Arthur. Yep, this time it was not a cat but a funny little dog that wound its way into the pages I’m reviewing, and I will be the first to say that dog lovers will surely love this particular dog. Allie Spencer created a full character out of him, describing his traits in such ways as “his doggy grin”, “happily thumped his tail”, and my personal favourite: “thought the game was brilliant”.

That being said, I have to be honest and admit that there are three things I didn’t like about the book: 1) that basically every person in the story was an overly loud character with extremely similar jumpy reactions; 2) the over-use of similes, which can actually go both ways: some readers might find them extraordinarily funny (which they are), but others might think that they would be more effective if they were cut to a third or a quarter of their number (which is also very true); and 3) that I found the events unfolding in a very predictable way, but that could only be a very particular point of view. The truth of the matter is that Save the Date! is not a literary masterpiece, but it is not meant to be one… it is meant to be an entertaining romantic story, and as such it works.

This is the kind of book that would most likely be enjoyed by readers who liked My Big Fat Greek Wedding, 27 Dresses and Licence to Wed, or similar romantic comedies unrelated to weddings. Yes, this book is most likely to make you laugh rather than meditate on the darkest issues of your mind, but we all do (like I did when I chose this book to review) need an occasional break and a source of easy fun with light reading.

In short, this book is for you if you like uncomplicated romances and need a rest from the stress of every-day life (or are lucky enough to be on holiday and lying by a glorious beach); if you have a thing for Italy, its architecture, history and people; and are a dog person. This book is not for you if you get easily annoyed by loud people or superficial girls, or if you are actually looking for a serious book, romantic or not.

If you are in that group, go for it, I’d advise a glass of Chianti or a box of dark chocolates with mint to nibble on, and a fuzzy blanket to curl up on your couch and enjoy!

Sandra for the TripFiction Team

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