Sunday, July 20, 2014

An American Girl in Italy by Aubrie Dionne





This clean-contemporary-romance set in Italy shares its title with a very famous photograph:  American Girl in Italy by Ruth Orkin.






The female protagonist in the story struts around Italy just like the woman in the photograph, without out a glance at the attractive men around her who might show an interest. 

There is one man in particular who is interested in Carly, the male protagonist, Michelangelo, a walking, talking incarnation of the artist Michelangelo's famous marble David.






An American Girl in Italy starts off quickly.  We get the genre's required "cute-meet" between U.S. American Carly, and Italian Michelangelo, where Carly falls head-over-heels, literally, before:
...the tall, dark and gorgeous hottie who must think she was the biggest idiot ever to land in Italy.
Like all contemporary romances, there is a physical attraction between the gorgeous duo right away.  The author alternates the point-of-view between Carly, a buttoned-down workaholic, and Michelangelo Ricci, a single-minded young man who is devoted to his family and to rescuing the family's wine business.




Right away, Michelangelo has a strange effect on Carly, or perhaps it is the jet-lag:
Somewhere between American and Italy she'd lost her brain filter, and her mind.
Italy has its effect on Carly, too.  She is charmed by the timelessness of the countryside and towns.  But for Carly, love is a no-go area, that leads only to a temporary distraction, a passing pleasure, followed by heartache.

Carly is an oboist in an orchestra that is on tour in Italy.  We get a glimpse inside the world of classical music and traveling orchestras.  It all rings true, and it is an interesting and novel way of having a character travel around Italy.  Michelangelo is the group's tour guide.





While the book hits all the buttons for a clean, contemporary romance novel set in Italy, I have some reservations about the book.  First off:  Carly.

Carly is an unpleasant woman:  a workaholic, snappy and sarcastic, an ageist and size-ist, self-obsessed and superficial, snobby and unfriendly.  Michelangelo is courteous, responsible, with a social conscience, and he is gallant to everyone. 

I had a very difficult time seeing these two as a couple.  If you recognize yourself in Carly, you might like that she ends up with Michelangelo.  Frankly, I thought Michelangelo could do a lot better, and I hoped he would! 




Another reservation I had may have to do with the fact that I received the book as a review-copy, and the final edits may not have been done yet.  I noticed factual errors and some typos and format issues.  I'm assuming these will be sorted out before the book's publication.

One last issue was with the sex scene.  Yes, Carly breaks down and sleeps with Michelangelo.  I think most readers of this review can deal with that "spoiler".  Actually, there is no sex scene, since this is a clean-romance.  We leave the gorgeous couple on the bed, then we return to the bedroom in the morning.  The problem for me is that the "morning after" doesn't feel right, emotionally or psychologically.


I have the feeling that the book is almost there, almost ready to join the popular genre of woman-finds-love-in-Italy.  The female protagonist just needs some character-surgery, and the book needs one more edit to tweak it into shape.  But perhaps I'm being too critical.  This is an inexpensive e-book, so you can always afford to take the chance and decide for yourself!





From the book's description:
An Italian paradise is the last thing she wants… but the one thing she needs!

Surely any girl would kill for the chance to tour Italy’s most famous cities for the summer?  To experience the warmth of the Tuscan sun, the culinary delights of the pizzerias and caf├ęs and to stroll along the cobbled streets of the City of Love itself…

Any girl apart from ambitious oboist Carly Davis that is!  For her, the Easthampton Civic Symphony’s latest European tour is one massive inconvenience.  She can’t even put her smart-phone down long enough to snap a picture of the Coliseum.

Only, there’s one Italian attraction that Carly hadn’t quite expected to be a part of the tourist route…

Tour guide Michelangelo is as dark and delicious as Carly’s morning espresso.  And when she needs a few lessons in the language of love to land her an important gig, he’s a more than capable tutor.

But with her promising career back in Boston, can Carly really afford to lose her heart in Italy?



An American Girl in Italy is published by HarperImpuse, a digital romance publishing arm of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

HarperImpulse is an exciting new range of romance fiction brought to you from the women’s fiction team at HarperCollins. Our aim is to break new talent from debut authors and import the hottest trends from the US, bringing you the very best in romance. Whether that is through short reads for your mobile phone or epic sagas that span the generations we want to proudly publish romance fiction that gets everybody talking. - See more at: http://www.harperimpulseromance.com/about-us/#sthash.wiSaRGNk.dpuf
HarperImpulse is an exciting new range of romance fiction brought to you from the women’s fiction team at HarperCollins. Our aim is to break new talent from debut authors and import the hottest trends from the US, bringing you the very best in romance. Whether that is through short reads for your mobile phone or epic sagas that span the generations we want to proudly publish romance fiction that gets everybody talking. - See more at: http://www.harperimpulseromance.com/about-us/#sthash.wiSaRGNk.dpuf
HarperImpulse is an exciting new range of romance fiction brought to you from the women’s fiction team at HarperCollins. Our aim is to break new talent from debut authors and import the hottest trends from the US, bringing you the very best in romance. Whether that is through short reads for your mobile phone or epic sagas that span the generations we want to proudly publish romance fiction that gets everybody talking. - See more at: http://www.harperimpulseromance.com/about-us/#sthash.wiSaRGNk.dpuf




Here is a direct link to the book at Amazon.com:










This review is by Candida Martinelli, of Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site, and the author of the cozy-murder-mystery novel AN EXTRA VIRGIN PRESSING MURDER, and the young-adult/adult mystery novel series THE VIOLET STRANGE MYSTERIES the first book of which is VIOLET'S PROBLEM.

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