“She understood that normal families, not just foster ones, had their problems. That meant that maybe, just maybe, she wasn’t so different”– Samantha Tonge, One Summer in Rome.
Title: One Summer in Rome
Author: Samantha Tonge
Publication date: 9th May 2018
My rating: ★★★★☆
Goodreads rating: 4.21
Genre: Chick Lit/Romance
Mainly spoiler Free, I talk about aspects of the book, but nothing that gives the plot away as a whole.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own and are not influenced by receiving a copy of this book.
I would like to thank Izzy for allowing me to participate in this blog tour, HQ (Harper Collins) for sending me a copy of this book, and of course the author Samantha Tonge.
The quote I have chosen above is my favourite from the book.
*Trigger warnings* – Death, suicide, domestic abuse, drug and alcohol addiction.
To Rome…with love?
Mary Smith is turning her very ordinary life upside-down! She’s bought herself a one-way ticket to Rome and is ready for a summer she’ll never forget.
Men might be off the cards for waitress Mary, but within hours of arriving at the utterly charming family-run La Dolce Vita pizzeria, she’s already fallen in love with the bustling capital!
Only Dante Rossi, the mysterious (and drop-dead gorgeous) chef seems displeased with her arrival. And in the heat of the kitchen, it doesn’t take long for long-buried secrets to surface and sparks to fly…
Overall opinion of the book:
This is a great, heart warming novel and I’m so glad I had the oppourtunity to read it. It is unlike any other romance/chick lit I’ve read. Although it is enjoyable and uplifting, there are many complex issues discussed. It was refreshing to read a romance story that wasn’t perfect. When I say this, I don’t mean the writing was poor, I’m referring to the characters. Often in romance novels the character the protagonist falls for is perfect, but not in this novel, everyone has their flaws which come to the surface.
I’ll be honest, when I initially read the synopses of this book, I expected it to be an easy to read chick lit. While in some ways it was, it was great that Samantha discusses more serious topics too. There is a great balance between developing a better understanding of the things discussed in the book and enjoying two character’s blossoming romance.
One Summer in Rome goes into much detail of Mary’s experiences living in foster homes. As someone who hasn’t experienced this before, it was interesting to hear this story being portrayed and the affects this had on her childhood and adulthood. Mary is such a great character and as a protagonist I felt she was perfect for this book. I thoroughly enjoyed her story and development as a character throughout.
Samantha is a fantastic writer, and given this is the first book of hers I’ve read, I’m definitely going to check out her other novels. Her writing style was great. It was easy to follow and although she does write about some sensitive topics, she does it in a way that doesn’t weigh the book down; rather the issues discussed all serve a purpose to allow the characters to grow in their personal journeys.
Samantha’s characterisation was fantastic. Although Mary is the main protagonist, we follow closely the family she works and lives with, the Rossi’s. We discover a lot about each character and follow their journeys throughout the novel too. Samantha brings to life these characters so vividly and I became invested in each character as the story progressed.
Having visited Rome around this time last year, I knew and had been to many of the places mentioned in the book. Given this, I was able to picture the places Mary was referring to clearly. Not only that, I remember just how lovely Rome was as a city. As soon as I started wandering around it I fell in love with it, much like Mary did. This book has definitely left me pining to visit Rome again sometime soon, two days there was definitely not long enough!
While I did thoroughly enjoyed One Summer in Rome, at times it did feel a little cliche, in regards to the blossoming romance and how it was described. Without giving too much of the story away, one character in the novel is blind. A lot of the story focusses on this, and how the character and Mary react to this. At times, it did feel as though this was being over emphasised by how Mary thinks about the particular character. I also felt that as a character, Mary talked about her own issues a little too much when helping other people with their problems. Rather than giving advice based on her own experiences, at times it did feel as though Mary steers the conversation away from the character’s issues to her own instead. This doesn’t happen frequently, but I felt that it did a handful of times in the novel. However, Samantha’s writes about sensitive issues very well, especially when discussing blindness and the LGBTQIA+ community.
The language, punctuation and grammar used was flawless and many times the Italian language was integrated into the speech. I only know a limited amount of Italian so I found this interesting and educational; I definitely learned more of the language by reading this book! It also served as a reminder of the differences between the British and Italian cultures and language. As someone who loves the English language, it was fun to read Mary trying to explain our colloquialisms and Idioms. Sometimes as a nation we forget how ridiculous some of them sound!
Overall I would certainly recommend this book. It put me in a Summery mood and made me long to visit Rome again. This book would be a brilliant poolside companion for you if you love a great romance and are going on holiday this year.
Too often romance books are just focused on a perfect couple and their love story developing, but not this book. It emphasises that being different is okay which I absolutely loved. It displays cracks and imperfections in families and relationships, and more importantly it emphasises that there’s no such thing as a “perfect” life. Samantha includes a lot of representation for people who are blind, grew up in foster care and are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s not often I get to read books with this level of representation and to be honest, I think more authors need to take a leaf out of Samantha’s book, it’s great!
The last thing I’ll say about this book is don’t read it on an empty stomach, it will make you hungry (lol)! There is a LOT of talk about traditional Italian food. It all sounds delicious and will definitely leave you salivating and craving pizza like it did with me (especially having visited Rome and knowing how good the food is!)
Here’s a few photos from my rome trip:
(The Arch of Titus and the Colosseum in the distance – Taken from Palatine Hill)
(Inside the Colosseum)
(The Trevi Fountain)
(I don’t think this photo needs explaining – it was delicious!)
Be sure to check out everyone else’s stops on this blog tour to find out what they thought of One Summer in Rome below!
If you would like to purchase a copy of this book you can do so here:
One Summer in Rome: a deliciously uplifting summer romance!*
The Kindle copy is only £1.99, which is an absolute bargain in my opinion.
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Book synopses – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38109775-one-summer-in-rome*
Harper Collins – https://www.harpercollins.co.uk/
HQ Digital – https://twitter.com/HQDigitalUK?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor
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