on May 14th, 2015
Genres: Love & Romance, Fiction, Girls & Women, Travel, Contemporary
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To my niece I leave the Ferrari GT250… On the proviso that she takes it across Europe to Maranello within the next three weeks. Only on successful completion of the journey to a prescribed route, will the car be hers…’
Home-loving Laurie thinks she’s happy – she has a safe, reliable boyfriend and working in her local library is what she thought she always wanted. That is until she inherits a vintage Ferrari from her eccentric Uncle Miles and the conditions of the inheritance are far from simple. To keep the car Laurie will have to drive across Europe with the gorgeous but unreliable Cameron Matthews as her guide… and Cam’s motives for helping are not all that altruistic.
Cam isn’t particularly thrilled about escorting his late pal Miles’ dull mouse of a niece on this wild goose chase but all he has to do is get Laurie safely to Italy and he’s sure the Ferrari is his.
But Uncle Miles had a few tricks up his sleeve and the route he’s planned takes Cam and Laurie on a road trip they’ll never forget. From sampling the delights of the Loire Valley to the breathtaking beauty of Lake Garda, this is one journey that has more twists and turns than either of them could ever have imagined…
It’s no secret that I love travel stories. Especially ones where the main character is experiencing some form of personal growth. You know the type where someone is able to find their own personal freedom while meeting new people and taking chances that they never really thought they would? Yeah, those are the types of stories which I love. So, based on the premise, this is exactly what I expected from From Italy With Love by Jules Wake. And while I did get some of what I expected, I also found some things that I really didn’t care for.
The main character of From Italy with Love is named Laurie. She is a mild-mannered woman who has to have everything in her life under control. Abandoned by her mother as a teenager, she has made decisions to avoid any type of carefree lifestyle. Her daily routine never changes as she lives in the same English small town that she grew up in, in the same house which her father raised her in, working a steady job as a local librarian. Laurie thinks she has everything she has ever wanted until suddenly she finds herself the inheritor of her eccentric Uncle Miles vintage Ferrari … but only if she is able to drive across Europe with a complete stranger named Cameron Matthews.
On the surface, Laurie looks like one of the most perfect characters for one of those life changing trips, and I think that is exactly what the author was going for. As a character Laurie has never truly looked herself in the mirror to discover why it is that she feels the way that she feels, or she feels the need to be so secure in her surroundings. Little by little it is revealed that she didn’t always used to be this way. In fact, she spent many summers with her Uncle Miles at a young age, so what changed? What made her want to hide behind closed doors? Was it really because her mother left? Or was it something more? All of these things made me want to like the character of Laurie, especially once these questions started bubbling to the surface but, at times I just couldn’t.
Why couldn’t I get behind the character of Laurie and her journey of self-discovery? I think most of it has to do with the fact that she has a boyfriend at home. Albeit, the boyfriend is a completely control freak, and she deserves better than him but, still she has a boyfriend at home while she is traveling the European coast with this gorgeous stranger in a Ferrari. I mean, I could read between the lines of what was going to be happening here before it happened. Especially when Laurie and her boyfriend get into a fight right before she is set to live on this expedition. Yet part of me couldn’t help but hold out hope that things wouldn’t happen in the way that they did…but of course it did….and although I wasn’t surprised as one could see the connection between Laurie and Cameron from the get-go (behind their snarky arguments of course)…it still left a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth. I guess I think it could have been handled better? Yes, this was all part of Laurie’s journey to self-discovery but…meh…it just really wasn’t all for me.
On a more positive note, I loved the more scenic moments in From Italy With Love. I really enjoyed visiting the coffee shops, stores, museums, and lands that were depicted throughout Laurie and Cameron’s journey from England to Italy. Although I have never been to any of these places, I felt like I could visualize them because of the descriptions within the book. There were times when I felt like I was right there with them, and those were the parts of the story that I really truly enjoyed. I think if there had been more of those moments, not to say that there were not plenty of them because there were, I think I would have enjoyed what I was reading, and Laurie’s journey of self-discovery much more.