Can one college semester abroad
the course of your life? For
Bella Rossini it did.
Bella Rossini, a vivacious college junior, lands in
jail overnight with acquaintances whom she mistakes for friends. Shipped off to
Tuscany by her mother, Bella is suddenly thrust into living with seven
strangers during one life-altering summer.
Meet Hope, the sturdy and practical girl, steadfast
in her loyalty to her boyfriend; Meghan and Karen, identical twins with an eye
for fashion and beauty to match; Stillman, haunted by his hard past, and
Phillip, an athlete, both fueled by competition; Lee, by family mandate in
pre-med; and Rune, the Hollywood-bound wild child. All add sizzling chemistry
and rebellious humor to the mix.
In one whirlwind summer, while uncovering the
charms of Italy, they discover both friendship and love.
After their summer together, life—and loss—happens.
Returning to Tuscany thirty years later, their
dreams, anger, secrets, and disappointments create an emotional kaleidoscope.
Their reunion sends them on a startling collision course that none of them
could have predicted.
Set against the allure of Tuscany, with an
irresistible fusion of heartbreak and humor, this debut novel, To Tuscany
with Love, explores the fear of letting the past determine the future
and the power of friendship.
Gail Mencini makes her literary debut with To Tuscany with Love, an adult coming-of-age novel. She was born and raised in rural Nebraska, where everyone knew their neighbors and summers were spent outdoors—working, playing, or watching fireflies. Her love for reading books and imagining characters and their stories germinated during those days of creating her own world. Gail’s parents, who visited every continent except Antarctica, sparked her love of travel and adventure, which burns brighter than ever.
Gail was raised to be independent. College and grad school brought her training in tax law, and for many years she used that knowledge in her CPA practice to help clients across the country. In 1990 Gail’s life took a radical shift when she became a wife and also “instant mother” to three active sons, with a fourth son born a few years later.
One hot July summer in Key West, Gail and her husband toured Ernest Hemingway’s house. Smacked in the face with the master writer’s ghost and palpable presence, she confessed her secret desire to write books. Unlike her, Gail’s husband felt only the heat and humidity and not a trace of Ernest. Her confession led to her writing a novel that won contests and landed a New York literary agent, but otherwise never saw the light of day. After years of writing, improving her craft, and working harder, the kernel of an idea and several trips to Italy inspired Gail to write To Tuscany with Love, the first book in her Tuscany series. The years following her childhood of imagining far-away places and the people there have only intensified her love for creating stories. Gail is thankful every day and knows she is abundantly blessed to be a wife, mother, and writer.
Lonely Planet Italy is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Wander through chariot-grooved streets in Pompeii, sample the abundant varieties of wine and olives as you tour Tuscany, or toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain in Rome; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Italy and begin your journey now!
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Parks begins as any traveler might: "A train is a train is a train, isn’t it?" But soon he turns his novelist’s eye to the details, and as he journeys through majestic Milano Centrale station or on the newest high-speed rail line, he delivers a uniquely insightful portrait of Italy. Through memorable encounters with ordinary Italians—conductors and ticket collectors, priests and prostitutes, scholars and lovers, gypsies and immigrants—Parks captures what makes Italian life distinctive: an obsession with speed but an acceptance of slower, older ways; a blind eye toward brutal architecture amid grand monuments; and an undying love of a good argument and the perfect cappuccino.
Italian Ways also explores how trains helped build Italy and how their development reflects Italians’ sense of themselves from Garibaldi to Mussolini to Berlusconi and beyond. Most of all, Italian Ways is an entertaining attempt to capture the essence of modern Italy. As Parks writes, "To see the country by train is to consider the crux of the essential Italian dilemma: Is Italy part of the modern world, or not?"