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38. The Italian Lover by Robert Hellenga...

February 18, 2009
In The Italian Lover, author Robert Hellenga builds a new story around two characters, from two previous books. Margot Harrington finds a lost erotic work, and love, in The Sixteen Pleasures. Alan Woody Woodhull lost his daughter in a Bologna train station bombing in The Fall of a Sparrow.

The two meet in Florence as a film based on Margot's book is about to be made. But this isn't just Margot & Woody's story. It's also Melinda's, the actress playing her first big role, in her first big movie. Esther's, the producer who's producing her first movie without her partner and husband (now ex-). Michael's, the director with a short lease on life. And Beryl's, Michael's wife.

There is anticipation aplenty - when Margot & Woody meet, when Esther decides to make the movie she's wanted to make for a while, when Melinda goes all out for the part of Margot. There's love found and lost. And (my favorite part) acceptance. That life is what you make of it. That sometimes we feel more ourselves when thrown completely out of our normal elements. That sometimes it's ok to walk away and let go.

I didn't care much for Margot or Esther at the beginning of the book. I'm not quite sure why, exactly, it's just a feeling. But as I progressed, I felt for them. Margot's need for the film to validate her being, her life. And Esther's need to succeed as a solo act, after building a career as part of a package. The happy endings that both are looking for.

The character I liked best was Miranda. After going all out for a part that she had to have, and doing a bang-up job at it, she then leaves it behind for love. (ok, so I am a sucker after all...) This book is all over the blogosphere right now, so grab (or win) a copy!

Title: The Italian Lover
Author: Robert Hellenga
ISBN-10: 0-316-11765-X
ISBN-13: 978-0-316-11765-4
Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: Back Bay Books, 2009 (reprint)

ps: I'm not sure what to categorize this book as. If you have any thoughts/ideas, please let me know!


Unknown said...

Yeah, I've noticed that it is everywhere. I'm glad that it's worth the attention it's getting though. It sounds like a really good book.

Anonymous said...

LOL! I read Lilly's comment and was going to say the same thing. I've been seeing it everywhere!

Anonymous said...

I've won a copy of this and can't wait to get it! Thanks for the review.

drey said...

It's everywhere, because, well, it is! =) I swear there must've been giveaways on 20 blogs for this book (including here!)!!

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