Kathy Courage has never visited the famous Italian city of Florence before, so she’s thrilled when she and her boyfriend Neil are invited there for a wedding. Unfortunately, with Neil’s constant complaining and his teenage children in tow, it’s not exactly the romantic break Kathy was hoping for.
But when a mix-up with her flights leaves Kathy stranded in the city, she decides to embrace the unexpected and stay on alone.
What follows is a life-changing few days in the Tuscan sun, as Kathy begins to question the choices that have led her here. With the help of the colourful Innocenti family, who offer Kathy a place to stay, she gradually begins to realise that there’s a much bigger world out there, if only she can be brave enough to explore it.
Could Italy hold the answers to her future happiness? Or is Kathy destined to return to her old life?
published by Hodder & Stoughton
This was a really fun and charming read, as we get to spend time in the company of Kathy and, unfortunately, her long term boyfriend and his kids (all of them are brats!!), as they are in Florence for his brothers’ wedding. It’s been a dream of Kathys for years to spend time in Italy and she’s hoping to make the most of her time there – shame Neil and his children seem to just want to make her life hell, and I found myself shouting at Kathy so many times to dump them and have fun on her own! The woman was a bloody saint for being so nice to them!!
And that’s what happens when there is a mix up over the flights home, and Kathy has to stay behind. Neil is very uncomfortable about leaving her behind as it’s messing his plans up and he even has to deal with his own bratty kids while she’s there – good!! Thankfully Kathy meets a lovely family who invite her into their home/hotel after a bad experience she has, and this time seeing the good in people really helps Kathy see what she is missing and she gets to explore and experience Florence in her own time – and without the constant moaning of Neil who is still trying his best to get her back home ASAP as he finds it a massive inconvenience. The more you read about Neil, the more you wonder what she ever saw in the man!!
I adored the setting, and just loved seeing Kathy get to spread her wings and stand on her own two feet – she’s always been a bit too happy to follow what others wanted but that never made her happy so when she finally starts doing what she likes, she discovers how much happier life can be! This was a real feel good story and I could have happily spent more time with Kathy in Florence!
As war rages across Europe, one young woman is torn between love and loyalty.
Set in wartime London and occupied France, this is a thrilling story of love, danger and sacrifice from bestselling novelist Alan Titchmarsh.
It is the late 1930s when seventeen-year-old Rosamund Hanbury leaves behind the endless summers of her coastal Devonshire home for the fast pace of high society London.
Under the expert guidance of her formidable aunt, the country mouse learns how to act like a lady, hosting dinner parties and rubbing shoulders with Britain’s most influential. And when the enigmatic Harry Napier sweeps her off her feet at London’s famous Café de Paris she could almost forget that Britain has declared war.
But the Phoney War ends. Harry is posted, London reels from the first bombings of the Blitz and Rosamund suffers a devastating personal loss that leaves her all the more determined to do her bit for the war effort.
Joining the Special Forces she is sent to work alongside the Resistance on a top secret mission in France.
It is here that her courage and loyalty are truly put to the test. And where she learns that no one is what they seem: at home or abroad …
I found this to be a wonderful read from one of my favourite authors!
It’s a fascinating look back over an extraordinary life after Rosamund, an author, passes away. She never spoke much of her past but when she dies she leaves behind a finished novel and a ragged envelope full of letters and keepsakes – an imaginative way to tell her story.
It was lovely to hear her story through her words as she looked back – the idyllic childhood in the countryside, the governess she adored, the friends she met, and then how she dealt with the tragedy of losing her parents and what that meant for her life, as it all changed so quickly.
The time period is set just before the War so the threat is always close by, and when she moves to London to live with her Aunt, it becomes even more of a reality and she is eager to ‘do her bit’ but is unsure how she can help. She isn’t afraid of a challenge though and she soon finds herself closer to the action than she could have ever imagined – part of a team who are in France to follow orders.
I love the relaxed style of storytelling throughout – scenes are beautifully set, characters are brought to life with their strengths and flaws and in Rosamund is a really intriguing character. So headstrong and inquisitive, but often naive and watching her blossom from childhood to adulthood is a wonderful journey that we get to share in. She isn’t content to sit back and enjoy a luxurious life, even if it means putting herself in danger. She is also aware of those she meets risking their lives too and that adds a real emotional element to the storyline as she faces so many obstacles.
I loved how it showed that people find strength when facing adversity and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment!