WOMEN IN SUNLIGHT
By: Frances Mayes
Narrator: Kimberly Farr
PRHA | Random House Audio
Genre: Fiction – Women
Release Date: April 03, 2018
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
By the bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun, and written with Frances Mayes’s trademark warmth, heart, and delicious descriptions of place, food, and friendship, Women in Sunlight is the story of four American strangers who bond in Italy and change their lives over the course of an exceptional year.
She watches from her terrazza as the three American women carry their luggage into the stone villa down the hill. Who are they, and what brings them to this Tuscan village so far from home? An expat herself and with her own unfinished story, she can’t help but question: will they find what they came for?
Kit Raine, an American writer living in Tuscany, is working on a biography of her close friend, a complex woman who continues to cast a shadow on Kit’s own life. Her work is waylaid by the arrival of three women—Julia, Camille, and Susan—all of whom have launched a recent and spontaneous friendship that will uproot them completely and redirect their lives. Susan, the most adventurous of the three, has enticed them to subvert expectations of staid retirement by taking a lease on a big, beautiful house in Tuscany. Though novices in a foreign culture, their renewed sense of adventure imbues each of them with a bright sense of bravery, a gusto for life, and a fierce determination to thrive. But how? With Kit’s friendship and guidance, the three friends launch themselves into Italian life, pursuing passions long-forgotten—and with drastic and unforeseeable results. http://www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com/book/546989/women-in-sunlight/
I have been updating my blog as some old programming needs to be updated. Time is not on my side and stuff gets delayed!
This book got a slow start for me. I was confused and it took me a while to become accustomed to Mayes clean and abbreviated style. She’s a little tell-not-show but it works because it is so heart-warming and shows the possibilities life can offer. The characters are interesting and, especially to me at my age, relatable (if a little older-feeling than I feel). Like a fable or fairy tale the story has a predictable path with a few surprises.
In the story, an American writer and her London-Based architect partner live in Tuscany in a small villa (much like the character in her super popular UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN). Three women, who she initially disparages, rent the nearby villa. To describe the three women we switch back to them in North Carolina as they meet in an Independent living sales-pitch. As they become friends their different personalities come out and they form a slightly over idealized friendship.
The town where they all meet and become friends is also idealized. It’s like all the Americans have discovered a magical town, if not a magical country.
Okay, it’s not like these women don’t have issues – they have some BIG issues, unrealized potential, and serious secrets. But, the magical town in the Tuscan Hills brings them friends and opportunities, and perhaps helps them shed the blocks they have acquired through the years. Sometimes we are so enmeshed in who we are, that we can’t become who we could be. At my age, it’s hard to see we still have opportunities but this little town in Tuscany helps these characters
become who they are – like the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz. Of course, neither the Wizard nor the little town are ultimately responsible for the changes but sometimes a little nudge can move you in the right direction.
Even my husband, overhearing the audio, said he thought this was a well-crafted book. He doesn’t usually go for “women’s fiction” but apparently Mayes is able to spin magic for both sexes. We felt it opened up some new possibilities for us, like renting a villa in a different country instead ofbuying a condo in a warmer climate.
Kimberly Farr is a perfect voice for southern women ranging from 44 to 70. She’s perky, has reasonable southern accents and just has a lovely way of reading the voices — both the first person when we are looking from Kit’s POV, and the third person of the rest of the book.
The story quickly became un-put-down-able and I was sorry it came to an end. I would have loved to stay in San Rocco for at least a little while longer.