I’ve revealed covers, and enjoyed one of her novellas (you can read my review of How to Get Hitched here) – but I’m delighted that joining one of Rachel’s blog blitzes has given me the opportunity, at long last, to read one of Samantha Tonge’s novels. One Summer in Rome is published for kindle today by HQ Digital – and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
To Rome…with love?
Mary Smith is turning her very ordinary life upside-down! She’s bought herself a one-way ticket to Rome and is ready for a summer she’ll never forget.
Men might be off the cards for waitress Mary, but within hours of arriving at the utterly charming family-run La Dolce Vita pizzeria, she’s already fallen in love with the bustling capital!
Only Dante Rossi, the mysterious (and drop-dead gorgeous) chef seems displeased with her arrival. And in the heat of the kitchen, it doesn’t take long for long-buried secrets to surface and sparks to fly…
A deliciously heartwarming romance to have you dreaming of summer. Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Caroline Roberts.
It always seems a little rude to say “perfect for a day on a sun lounger” about any book – but in this case, I’m writing from personal experience. I spent a lovely afternoon basking in the Yorkshire sunshine, read the book from cover to cover, and thought “what a perfect choice”!
I very much liked Mary, bravely changing her life by heading off into the unknown to work in a Rome pizzeria – her initial worries and concerns were very real, her first steps into her new life fraught with difficulty unexpected animosity from others. But I loved the way things turned around – the tentative friendships becoming real ones, the family taking her to their heart, and Mary belonging somewhere and surrounded by love for the very first time in her life.
While the book as a whole is unashamedly feel good and heartwarming, with a strong and believable romantic thread at its centre, there are also enough real issues to give it an edge – the reasons why there’s no Mama, domestic violence with a twist, disability issues, homelessness, terrorist attack and much more. But there’s also a ballroom dancing competition and the skullduggery around remaining in the list of Rome’s top ten pizzerias against fierce opposition (loved the various changes to the menu, could almost taste them!). Does it sound like it’s a bit too much? It really isn’t – the story’s very well told, all the threads really work both separately and together. And I haven’t even mentioned the one big issue and surprise that drives the story – but as it’s not mentioned in the blurb I’ll leave it for you to discover.
And I really must mention the settings – the pizzeria itself, the piazza on which it sits with its fountains and street entertainers, the night-time peacefulness while enjoying a late night mochachino – all so vividly described that when I finished the book I felt like I’d been away on holiday. A really lovely book – and if you don’t get the chance to read it while this glorious weather lasts, it really would be the most wonderful holiday read.
About the author
Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat who thinks it’s a dog. When not writing she spends her days cycling, willing cakes to rise and avoiding housework. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award in 2014. Game of Scones hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Best Romantic Ebook category at the 2015 Love Stories Awards.