15 Sep 2018

Books Around the World #1

I'm planning to make this the first of a series of posts in which I'll recommend books based on where they are set.

Recently I finished and reviewed Claire's Last Secret by Marty Ambrose and it came to me that I have several books I like that are set in Italy. Let me show you some of them, they may pique your interest and entertain you in the future if you decide to pick them up.

These could be good choices if you're planning a trip to Italy and would like to choose a book for the occasion, but even if you're far away from the country physically, these novels can transport you there in spirit.

Three books I've read:

Title: The Savage Garden 

Author: Mark Mills


Tuscany, 1958 

Behind a villa in the heart of Tuscany lies a Renaissance garden of enchanting beauty. Its grottoes, pagan statues and classical inscriptions seem to have a secret life of their own - and a secret message, too, for those with eyes to read it. 

Young scholar Adam Strickland is just such a person. Arriving in 1958, he finds the Docci family, their house and the unique garden as seductive as each other. But post-War Italy is still a strange, even dangerous, place and the Doccis have some dark skeletons hidden away in their past. 

Before this mysterious and beautiful summer ends, Adam will uncover two stories of love, revenge and murder, separated by 400 years... but is another tragedy about to be added to the villa's cursed history?

This book was one of my favourite reads in 2017. 

The story, which tells us the details of two murders committed hundreds of years apart is set in Tuscany. A beautiful but sinister garden hides ugly secrets that eventually get revealed by the protagonist, a young scholar called Adam, who visits the Docci family, the owners of the garden.

I loved, how classic literature was involved in this novel, it totally amazed me with its references to Ovid and Dante.

Since Adam is interested in architecture and art, he travels to several cities in Italy and the descriptions of the different places are very lively; the country is truly brought to life on the pages of this book.

Title: Angels and Demons

Author: Dan Brown



When a world renowned scientist is found brutally murdered in a Swiss research facility, a Harvard professor, Robert Langdon, is summoned to identify the mysterious symbol seared onto the dead man's chest. His baffling conclusion: it is the work of the Illuminati, a secret brotherhood presumed extinct for nearly four hundred years - reborn to continue their bitter vendetta against their sworn enemy, the Catholic church.

In Rome, the college of cardinals assembles to elect a new pope. Yet somewhere within the walls of the Vatican, an unstoppable bomb of terrifying power relentlessly counts down to oblivion. While the minutes tick away, Langdon joins forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to decipher the labyrinthine trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome to the long-forgotten Illuminati lair - a secret refuge wherein lies the only hope for the Vatican.

But with each revelation comes another twist, another turn in the plot, which leaves Langdon and Vetra reeling and at the mercy of a seemingly invisible enemy...

Even though The Da Vinci Code was the first Dan Brown book I read, I devoured Angels and Demons as well, right after. The puzzles this author provides are mind-blowing and astonishing.

I had the chance to visit Vatican City myself last year, St Peter's Basilica is as magnificent as I'd imagined when I was reading this book.

Title: A Room With a View

Author: E. M. Forster


Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance. Her eyes are opened by the unconventional characters she meets at the Pension Bertolini: flamboyant romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish, the Cockney Signora, curious Mr Emerson and, most of all, his passionate son George.

Lucy finds herself torn between the intensity of life in Italy and the repressed morals of Edwardian England, personified in her terminally dull fiancé Cecil Vyse. Will she ever learn to follow her own heart?

Honestly, I couldn't live with myself if I didn't mention at least one of E. M. Forster's works on this list. The English have always loved to spend their holiday in Italy, they are drawn to this country, that's a fact. E. M. Forster himself was fascinated with the Italian culture and the open-mindedness that the Italian people represent. 

As always, he deals with class differences and a forbidden love affair in this book and he crams all the beauty of Florence in between the lines. I'll always cherish this novel of his.

Three books I'm planning to read:

by André Aciman

 I so want to read this and watch the movie too afterwards. 

There was a lot of hype surrounding this title not long ago.

Empress of Rome (The Empress of Rome #3) 
by Kate Quinn

I adore this series, read the first two books, can't wait to put my hands on the third.

by Henry James

This will be the first Henry James I'll ever read and I'm excited for it. I heard his writing style is not easy to get used to, but I know and love the story so I hope we'll be good friends with Henry, haha.

That's all for now, I hope you enjoyed the post! 

What are YOUR favourite novels set in Italy?


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