I feel like I may be a bit of biased when it comes to this gorgeous book, mostly, because my friend, Vanessa Carnevale wrote it. It’s totally fine to toot the trumpet for your friend, isn’t it?
I was lucky enough to get to work with Vanessa early last year and was with her on the tail end of her journey to get this amazing book signed with a publisher. She is an amazing and wonderful lady and I couldn’t be more proud of her, but that’s enough for the mush, let’s get into this amazing book.
I have had the pleasure of being able to read some of Vanessa’s writing and was blown away by the beauty of it and the way that she can take something out of nothing and make something of it. I know that sounds cliché but it’s so true. I had high hopes for The Floretine Bridge (TFB) and I wasn’t let down.
I bought the book, rearranged the shelves at QBD to make sure that the next person who was there would snatch up a copy and it was promptly added to my TBR pile…yeah it’s huge, but with good reason. There are so many amazing books out there that I need to devour.
TFB was no exception. My gosh. There is a beauty in the way that Vanessa has set up the story. She’s layered Mia’s story out like she’s showing us her wearing her heart on her sleeve, but that heart has long gone cold with the disappointments that’s life.
Mia is seemingly doing something out of her comfort zone, she’s in remission after a battle with cancer and she’s off on an adventure to re-find herself, but more so to understand why she was so drawn to a place. And what a beautiful place it is. Tuscany sounds like every romantic’s dream. It’s cultured, there’s the rich aroma of love, life and food. The best part? Vanessa knows what Tuscany is like, having been there and experienced the beauty of it all.
But at the real heart of the story, well besides Mia learning that she never lost her painting mojo, is the relationship she strikes up with town heartthrob Luca. He’s strong, charismatic and romantic, your typical Italian man. Did I mention he was also sexy as all hell? Am I the only one who wants to see this book get adapted just to see who they could cast to fill those shoes?
Hey, Vanessa, maybe you can do a fantasy casting? -wink-
I’m getting distracted here.
And while the romance is typical, it’s breath taking and special because Luca ignites a fire within Mia that was missing. She was so tired, so drained from her battle that she lost herself and her ability to believe in her own strength and ability to paint.
Because at the heart of any creative, our ability to believe in ourselves and trust that little intuitive part of us that lets us create, is a sacred part of us. It’s the centre that gives us hope and allows us to push on. To create. To dream. To live and to love.
To create is to love and Mia learns that once she opens her hear to Luca she allows herself the ability to create again and while the shifts are subtle for us, the reader sees it and gets swept away with the story.
Until the crescendo of events where an incident has Mia running scared and running away from the comfort, safety and love that Luca has provided.
That’s when her safety mode kicks in and she ruins everything she built.
It was at this point in the story I was screaming at Mia.
How could she have been so stupid? Here is a man that wants to love her no matter what and she pushed him away.
I’m not going to spoil the ending because it’s not quite as clichéd as your mind might be going to and I want to leave a few secrets for you to find out on your own.
But I have to say that I was crying through most of this book. A lot of it was probably because I read it just before I started my cycle (ha!) and I just had a lot of the feels. The last book that I read that had me crying like this was The Notebook and I can barely remember it because from the second chapter I was sobbing all through that book.
I’m glad to have another book to add to that list (it’s a short list…and PS I love you is actually on it…eventually…but the movie made me sob like a little baby, the book will probably be worse).
Do yourself a favour, get into your local bookshop and ask for it. Ask for this amazing book and help support a local Australian author. I plan on getting another copy and yet again getting her to sign it for me. It may not be right now, but I will do it. If I have to gift it to people I adore. I will. Because in this economy it’s all we can do to support friends and Aussie authors. It’s going to be available on Audible soon. Look it up.
Darling Vanessa, thank you for this amazing trip to Tuscany. I can’t wait for the next one.