ARC Review: The Rome Affair by Karen Swan

The Rome Affair by Karen Swan
Publisher: Pan Macmillan/Pan
Published: 13th July 2017
Format: Ebook
Pages: 400
ISBN13: 9781509838028

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Synopsis
The glamorous capital city of Italy is brought to startling life in The Rome Affair, a compelling summer novel by Karen Swan.
1974 and Elena Damiani lives a gilded life. Born to wealth and a noted beauty, no door is closed to her, no man can resist her. At twenty-six, she is already onto her third husband when she meets her love match. But he is the one man she can never have, and all the beauty and money in the world can’t change it.
2017 and Francesca Hackett is living la dolce vita in Rome, leading tourist groups around the Eternal City and forgetting the ghosts she left behind in London. When she finds a stolen designer handbag in her dustbin and returns it, she is brought into the orbit of her grand neighbour who lives across the piazza – famed socialite Viscontessa Elena dei Damiani Pignatelli della Mirandola. Though the purse is stolen, Elena greets the return of the bag with exultation for it contains an unopened letter written by her husband on his deathbed, twelve years earlier.
Mutually intrigued by each other, the two women agree to collaborate on a project, with Cesca interviewing Elena for her memoirs. As summer unfurls, Elena tells her sensational stories, leaving Cesca in her thrall. But when a priceless diamond ring found in an ancient tunnel below the city streets is ascribed to Elena, Cesca begins to suspect a shocking secret at the heart of Elena’s life.

My Review:
Firstly, thank you to Pan and Netgalley for my copy in exchange of my honest review.   I know they say never judge a book by its cover, but I love this cover.  I will be honest, I didn’t even read the description of this book when I requested it for 2 reasons 1- Karen Swan wrote it, I’ve loved the other books I have read and 2- The cover.  The title suits this book, and this cover, perfectly.

There are some books in this world which make you love a place even more than you already do. This book is one of them. It has made me fall in love with Rome all over again, making me wanting to visit and experience it all for the first time again.  Karen Swan’s writing style immediately dumps you into a place and you instantly wish you were there. Her characters make you feel at home, they become your friends, your family.  I feel as though I have lost a friend in the main character, Francesa. Of course, I miss Elena and Nico as well.

Beautifully written, we get to see how the rich and glamourous live.  It takes us on a journey of love, loss, heartbreak, and a decades old mystery.  It shows us that money isn’t everything and sometimes anyone would do anything for the person that love deeply. Having me hooked from the first few pages, I couldn’t wait to see where Karen Swan took us this time.  The book is split between 2 wonderful women, from the 1960s through to 2017.

Through the book we see how Elena/Laney grows from the 16 year old we are introduced to through to the woman that she is when Francesca/Cesca meets her.  Both woman are fantastic characters, and in a way polar opposites.  Elena oozes wealth, glamour, sophistication and never having to work a day in her life. Cesca lives in vintage clothing, basically living hand to mouth, and then loses her tour guide job.  Coincidentally, Elena is there to offer her a job, to write Elena’s memoirs.  While she agrees to do the job, Cesca has to face what happened in her past.  She finds her own love in Nico, and discovers that Elena’s life wasn’t completely perfect after all.

I feel that Cesca learnt a lot from Elena, and from Nico.  I think that she learnt that she wasn’t responsible for her reason for escaping.  I also think that she learnt that she should never say no to a chance of love.  Elena got her true love after a pretty rough run of it, she lost more than she got throughout her life until she met her true love.  On the other hand, I think Elena was grateful for Cesca finally discovering the truth, and for her help coming to terms with everything.  Also, I think that the way that Elena was sort of fitting in a way.  She done it on her own terms, which she didn’t get to do a lot of.  But that’s all I will say about that, I don’t want to give too much away.

With beautiful writing, leaving me with a wish to revisit Rome, and to hold on to my love and my family, I give this book a very well deserved 5/5.

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Blog Tour: Don’t You Forget About Me

I’m thrilled to be kicking off the Blog Tour for this book, it’s been a great opportunity to get out there and flaunt my blog on social media, to other bloggers, other passionate readers and most importantly to read such a heart-warming, funny book.

This is Liz Tipping’s second book, and the first – Five Go Glamping – is now definitely on my To Be Read pile. Hopefully I’ll enjoy it as much as this one!!

Here’s the other blogs involved:

 

This book is available to purchase on
Amazon UK
Amazon US


Don’t You Forget About Me by Liz Tipping
Published: June 2016
Publisher: Carina
Format: Ebook
ASIN:  B01D4WO2MC
Goodreads Link

Synopsis:

An athlete, a princess, a brain, a criminal, a basket case…

Cara Dunham is definitely one of them. But stuck in her small hometown, with no prospects of escape, she’s struggling to find her thing. Her life is more book club than Breakfast Club and there is no Judd Nelson in sight!

So when Cara is invited to a school reunion she knows this is her chance to channel her inner Molly Ringwald and grab her John Hughes moment, once and for all. Because her teenage love, Daniel Rose will be there, the coolest boy at school and the one that got away.

But transforming into an 80’s icon isn’t easy and Cara enlists the help of her oldest friend, Stubbs, to teach her all she needs to know about being cool and quirky – a la Ringwald.

Except Stubbs thinks she’s perfect, just as she is and takes it upon himself to show Cara that her life might not be ‘movie perfect’, but there is always another take to get things right. And maybe the hero she’s dreamed of has been under her nose the whole time…

My Thoughts:

Firstly, thank you to Netgalley and Carina for the chance to read and review this book. I really enjoyed it and found myself rooting for Cara to get the right man in the end!!

Cara was a likeable character, she was a bit stuck in the past, but she had a certain charm that I liked. Stubbs was a great character, I liked him a lot.  I could imagine him being one of my friends.  The additions of Divvy – sorry, Dave – and April weren’t really anything special for me though.  I understand that April plays a big part in Cara’s life, especially in the past, but she wasn’t anything special.  I would never have guessed that she was helping Stubbs in the way she was so that was a surprise.

I liked the references to numerous 80’s and 90’s references, being a child in the 90’s I understood it all – which was a delight! I can’t say I’ve watched all of the films mentioned but I’m planning on it!! I can remember watching The Breakfast Club but not for a very long time. The bands mentioned I know off, and am a fan so that’s always a big bonus!!!! I was able to picture some of the places mentioned, being a regular visitor to the area.

The writing style was easy to read, and matched the book perfectly.  There wasn’t any ridiculous long paragraphs, or chapters, that would have put anyone looking for an easy read off from picking this up. It’s definitely a mini walk down memory lane for people who grew up in the 1980s.

My Rating: With likeable characters, a storyline that flowed well with a light-hearted theme.  Superb for people who grew up in the 80’s.  I’m giving this big a very strong 4/5.

Readers Recommendations 22/6/16

So! I remembered to do my Readers Recommendation post for the week! It’ll be a general blog update from me as well, I seem to have slacked off the last couple of weeks.

I haven’t actually got any recommendations myself, I’ve had an awful week with reading.  I couldn’t decide what to read, and when I did it wasn’t anything to write about really or nothing that hasn’t been over-reviewed and shouted about by us amateur bloggers as it is.
I think all I have read since last Wednesday is Everlasting by Candace Knoebel (it’s been on my Kindle that long I didn’t know what it was about or where it was going to go), The Cake Shop in The Garden by Carole Matthews (I know this was huge last summer and I’ve only just recently bagged myself a copy), and lastly The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths (I think I may have found my new favourite crime series).

Personally, I am not looking for any recommendations this week.  But I am on the lookout for a new series to read, I seem to be getting into them recently.  I am now off to decide which book to start next, I’ve not got a clue where to even begin with looking!!

What have you discovered this week? Have you found a new author? Or maybe just a new genre? Maybe you’ve read a book you want to tell everyone about?

Happy reading people, and lets hope you find a new favourite book this week!