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Welcome to News From Italy, my blog about our Italian Adventure. Although this blog has now ceased publication I will be continuing to blog and I am sincerely hoping that my many followers here will move with me to Travel Tales blog to follow my next adventures wherever they may take me. The links to my other blogs are:-

I look forward to keeping in touch with you via them, thanks once again for all the support you have given 'News From Italy' over the years.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Italy in Books Reading Challenge – January



Well after all I have had to say on the matter recently Blogging, Photography, Reading you will probably have realised that I seem to be posting as frequently as ever! This is all part of sorting out my blogging frequencies and where, when and what those posts will be about.  In response to all the wonderful feedback I have received, Photo Friday and Sunday Song have already been reinstated.

Meanwhile this extra post is because I suddenly realised it was January 31st and I wanted to get my Italy in Books Reading Challenge for January posted, which I have now done.

Book Reviews are a category I sometimes include on News From Italy if I have felt it is of interest, such as  Marcus of Umbria, or La Bella Lingua            

It seems relevant therefore that if I am taking part in this challenge that I should publish reviews here.

The challenge is the idea of  Brighton Blogger of Book After Book, which you can find out all about over on her blog in the post.  Italy in Books - Reading Challenge 2011    Maybe some of you will also consider joining in?

The January post with a list of books that people are reading has already been posted. January Reviews 

I intend to read and write about one book set in Italy every month, fiction or non fiction then feature them here as well as on LindyLouMac's Book Reviews.  Hopefully they will be of interest to the different readerships, although I know some of you do read both.

This months choice was Last Train From Liguria by Christine Dwyer Hickey

Last Train from Liguria


I have never read anything by this author before so I have no comparisons to make with previous novels. All I knew was that Christine Dwyer-Hickey is an award winning Irish novelist. While I found this narrative interesting taking us back and forth between London, Dublin and Italy in the nineteen thirties and mid nineteen nineties it neither excited me nor bored me. In fact leaving me feeling rather indifferent about this well written novel. I am disappointed and feel a little guilty admitting this, but there is no point in pretending otherwise. A decent read that was absorbing but nothing particular really drew me in.

The main setting of the story is fascist era Italy where the female protagonist Bella Stuart takes a position as tutor to Alec the son of the aristocratic Lami family. His mother has little time for him and Alec’s life revolves around Bella and his music teacher Edward King. The reader has already learnt much about the latters past in the opening chapter of the novel, a dark secret he keeps to himself in Italy. When the story moves to the present times it is to meet Anna a young woman of Italian descent and gradually connections with the past are uncovered.

It is a vivid picture of Italy during the rise of fascism that the author gives us with a very atmospheric sense of place. A novel not just about the historical period it is set in but a love story of perception and regret.

Christine Dwyer-Hickey

I will be interested to see if any other participants in the  Italy in Books - Reading Challenge 2011 choose this title and if so what they make of it.  My copy is at the moment available to anyone in Europe taking part in the challenge as I am willing to mail it to them. In fact I would like to send this book travelling via Bookcrossing  to any one that may like to read it.


  1. You've been busy! :) I haven't read this book, but I love reading travel memoirs.

  2. I agree - you HAVE been busy! I respect your Reviews and don't think I will bother reading this particular book. I love the title of the book, and also the picture on the cover, but all that is no good if the actual novel doesn't draw you in.

  3. Yes...I would say you are "on a roll!!" So happy to hear that. I am going to look for this book. Too bad i don't live in Europe...in my dreams! I love the idea of BookCrossing and have released a number of books "into the wild" but have never had one logged in to the website. :-(

  4. It's nice to see you blogging, even as you try to figure out your new rhythm.

  5. Patricia@ Maybe there will be a way we can get this book to you,no surface mail from Italy for books, but there is from Uk, so if we can find anyone else interested, I have made a note that you would like to read this. I would love you to have a good Bookcrossing experience.

  6. Nice of you to suggest that, Linda. Actually, I don't mind that my books don't get logged in, I just hope they find a welcoming home. I love the idea of Bookcrossing and I like imagining the person finding the book that has been left somewhere. :-)

  7. I'm delighted that you're going to do book reviews! :-) I love good stories so much but have little extra time right now and like to save it up for REALLY good ones. :-) I'll be looking forward to ones you really love. :-)

  8. This is such a great idea! I can't wait to start reading along with you! These are books I will LOVE! Hugs to you, my friend! You've really made my day with this post! ♥

  9. I haven't read the book that you have reviewed. However, I have recently bought The Olive Season by Carolin Drinkwater, and I am highly anticipating reading it. Although it is about France and not Italy, I really like to read anything that has to deal with rural life in Europe. I like the idea that you've mentioned, about the cyclical nature of this lifestyle.

  10. Patricia@ I am working on this book travelling will let you know what I sort out.

  11. One of the things that I *love* about your reviews is that you always tell the truth about the books you've read. It's good to know if a book's not pulling you in...or if you've loved, or hated it.


  12. Patricia@ It looks like I will be sending the book travelling, will get in touch about it.

    Rambling Tart@ Just ones set in Italy on this blog, but you are welcome to take a look at LindyLouMac's Book Reviews where you might find a few titles of interest :)


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