Sunday, 9 January 2011

The House In Amalfi

Author: Elizabeth Adler
Genre: Modern Fiction
Pages: 356
First Published: 2005
First Line: "For two years I have lived alone, not allowing even a dog or a cat to intrude on my solitude."

Synopsis: Since Lamour Harrington's husband died two years ago she's put all of her energy into her landscaping business. When she suddenly receives startling news she decides to get away and visit the house that she and her deceased father once lived in on the Amalfi coast of Italy where she has wonderful memories of her childhood.

Once there, Lamour begins to think a lot about her father's sudden death. Was it truly an accidental drowning or is there something more sinister about his death. As Lamour digs into the mystery she meets two strong and mysterious men, both of whom want to keep Lamour from the truth.

My Thoughts: I was drawn to this book in my local library merely based on it's title. I had never heard of the author before but when I saw "Amalfi" I had to pick it up. Brad and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in Positano - a stunningly beautiful Italian town on the coast which is so beautiful you almost can't believe it's real. Celebrating your marriage while eating a delicious meal, drinking wine while watching the sun set ... it doesn't get much better than that!

As for this book? I liked this book but didn't love it. The best part of the book was the vivid descriptions of Italy. From the daily life in the piazzas of Rome to the quaint, quiet, picturesque towns on the Amalfi coast it made me want to go back ... soon!
What I wasn't fond of was the characters. The main character, Lamour's name was a little too over the top even with the odd family explanation. It was actually distracting to me. She also seemed to be much too naive, and at times plain stupid, for a 38 year old business woman. She drops her life in the States to fly to Italy totally ignoring the fact that she owns her own business but expects to just fly back and forth every few months for work. How does that work exactly with a landscape architecture business when you're an ocean away from your clients and their gardens?
Then there's the little issue of her assuming that after 30 years of never visiting the house she and her father had briefly lived in that she still owned the house. Not a word was mentioned of her ever receiving any tax bills yet she is ticked off when the owner of the next door villa questions her right to live there. Add to that her little escapade involving buying live chickens, carting them in the backseat of her car (sans cages - ew!) and then wondering where she's going to house them. Really?
The overall story was ok but many of her characters were one-dimensional and a little too cliched for my tastes. She had the handsome 64 year old neighbour (who has the body and stamina of a 40 year old - but of course!), his son - the playboy and the neurotic daughter. Then there was the extremely old but exceptionally wise Japanese gardener there to give everyone his sage advice. Think Yoda with a hoe. Sad, but true.
If you want a book that vividly describes the beauty of the Amalfi coast as well as piazzas in Rome then pick this book up. It'll definitely make you want to travel to Italy! If you want a good mystery with strong female characters and secondary characters that help move the storyline along then take a pass on this book.
My Rating: 2/5 stars

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