“Emily Robertson looks like the woman who has it all: the lovingly restored Tuscan farmhouse, the three beautiful children, the successful, attentive husband. But when her husband dumps her by text message, she has to face up to some stark home truths. How will Emily cope, stranded in the countryside with no man, no money, dodgy phrasebook Italian and a psychotic cleaner?”
When the rain and wind lashed down on a wet, wintery England, Villa Serena turned into the perfect getaway read!
Emily Robertson gets dumped via text message – by her husband. Having moved to Tuscany from England to live the expat dream, the reality for Emily has turned into a nightmare. With two teenager daughters, Siena and Paris, and a cute but spoiled baby son, Charlie, Emily finds herself as a single parent in an Italian town. Despite working as writer, churning out newspaper columns selling the English Ideal of Tuscany rather than the reality, Emily knows little about the place she has chosen to live.
The departure of her husband, however, brings new opportunities. A visit from the local priest opens Emily’s eyes to the possibilities of the local town being more than just a picturesque place to visit to on market day. She makes some Italian friends and gains valuable support as Paris edges towards anorexia and Siena flirts with the town’s bad boy.
An archeological dig on the fringes of her land brings her family into the orbit of a handsome archeologist who is searching for the Etruscan burials he is so passionate about. However, when he digs up some more recent and unwelcome history, the whole town must lay more than old bones to rest. And while he is digging up historical fact, Emily is exploring up her own personal history. With the absence of a husband, could an ex-boyfriend – whose mother inspired her love of Italy all those years ago – be the perfect recipe for love, or another disaster waiting to happen?
This is an easy-to-read novel. The characters are well created – though I did find the setting of Tuscany more contrived. Villa Serena has elements of mystery, romance and travel that would work just as well as a holiday read as it did for some winter escapism. There was however one twist that I didn’t see coming… Why not pick up a copy and see if you can spot it?
Many thanks to Jane for the review, and Quercus for the Kindle review copy.