Friday, June 10, 2011

Literary Friday: Summer School

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This week I read Summer School by Domenica de Rosa.  Maggie @ Normandy Life sent it to me, and I enjoyed this book.  It is the perfect beach or lake read.  This book is difficult to find here in the states, but Amazon has a few copies.

Have you ever wanted to take a vacation where you learn something new or improve skills you already have?  I would love to attend an art workshop in a beautiful place: Paris, Sedona, Florence, or maybe even San Francisco.  I have friends who have travelled to France for cooking classes.  That would be a fun way to spend a vacation, too.  The characters in Summer School are attending a writer's retreat in Tuscany, and the accommodations are in a thirteenth-century castle.  Patricia O'Hara owns the castle, and Aldo, her talented cook, impresses and guests at every meal with his delicious cuisine. The writer's workshop instructor is Jeremy Bullen, a snarky bestseller who is suffering from writer's block: a condition he has had for twenty years.

The seven participants in the workshop arrive wanting one thing: to finish their books and get them published. My favorite aspect of this book is how every character, especially the students, evolve and/or have an epiphany about what they are meant to do with the rest of their lives. Some realize they are not meant to write at all, while others become more determined and confident in their writing.  Patricia markets her Castello della Luna as the perfect Tuscan setting for creativity and inspiration.  Plus the added bonus of an international bestseller as the instructor and Aldo's delicious meals should be the perfect combination for a successful business.  Most of the workshop sessions are full, but overhead, impending maintenance on the castle, and a balloon note due too soon might cause Patricia to lose her beloved castle.

The August students arrive in time for sweltering heat and Patricia's first notice from the bank. For a group of around eleven or twelve adults, there is a surprising amount of drama, hurt feelings, revealed secrets, crushes, flirtations, ghost stories, true love, and a storm worthy of a Gothic novel. August would not be my first choice in visiting Italy.  Many businesses are closed, and the heat limits daytime activity. One would think that the students would have had ample time to finish their books, but instead they spend a lot of time "up in each other's business."  I love that about this book!  I am not ashamed to admit it.  Although some of the flirtations and lust never amount to anything, I love the one couple who find each other and make a commitment.  It is very sweet, and their story certainly makes Summer School worth reading.

Please remember that Bonnie and I host a What We're Reading Linky Party on the twentieth of every month.  I will be hosting this month on Monday, June 20th.


What are you reading this summer?  I will be posting my Summer Reading List Monday.

Until next time...

Happy Reading!
Ricki Jill

10 comments:

  1. I would love to read this! I think I've read something from this author! Right now I'm in the middle of The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen! I love her books! ♥

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  2. This sounds great! I'll have to add it to my list. I've been keeping a list of all the books you recommend that I think I'd like.

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  3. Another book that sounds like something i would love!!
    I am still looking for the book The Help but until then i bought a book today called
    The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton so far it's pretty good.
    I love Literary Friday!

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  4. This sounds like a really fun book! Definately seems like a vacation read.
    I love books and the smell of books and magazines! I have been an avid reader since 2nd grade!!
    Nothing better than a good read!!
    xxDaniella

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  5. Thanks for the compliment Ricki. You're a sweetheart.

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  6. Thanks to Maggie's review this is already on my wishlist, reading your review just confirms that I want to read this one.

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  7. Hi Ricki Jill,
    I'm glad that you enjoyed the book too, I wonder where it might travel on to now?
    Bon weekend,
    Maggie

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  8. Right now I'm getting ready to read the last book in the Karen Kingsbury Baxter series. Looking for some new ones. Thanks for the idea!

    Crytal

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  9. Oh, I'll have to chime in on the 20th. :)

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  10. Sounds like a great beach read. Maybe I'll save it for my mountain vacation. I think there's a castle up there that I could make a field trip out of. Maybe not. Haha.

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