I’m in Italy sitting in a piazza, people watching as I eat my decadent gelato dreaming about what delightful food will grace my plate at the next meal.
Oh, the power of books.
Women in Sunlight (Penguin Random House, 2018), a novel by Frances Mayes, was the perfect trip I needed in December. (She also wrote Under the Tuscan Sun.) Listening to the book transported me, got me out of the gray, dreariness of Northern California, and into a world I’ve often dreamed about. A summer in Tuscany to write, eat incredible food, and drink luscious wine, well, it’s been on the to-do list longer than I’d like to admit. The book, unbeknownst to me at the start, attempted to satiate this dream of mine and stirred a renewed desire to make it come true.
It’s about four women from the United States who find themselves in Italy for various reasons. Three new friends travel there, having leased a house for a year. The other has lived there for 12 years.
Maybe it was relatable because the women are close to my age; not something one often finds in novels.
The book is about their lives in both countries, their friendships, and how life continues on after death and divorce. While this may seem like a simple premise for a book, we all know life is not simple. We are thrown curve balls that nearly wound us and others that we hit out of the park. Life is no different for these women and the people in their lives.
Plus, there are so many other characters to become acquainted with. While there is a large a entourage, it is not difficult to keep track of everyone.
Mayes is such a talented writer. Her descriptions riveting to the point it’s like you can smell and taste the food she describes, or clearly see whatever she recounts—whether it’s the scenery, the people, the art, even the joys and sadness of the people who soon feel like friends.
It’s one of those rare times I didn’t want the book to end, and I where I would most definitely like to indulge in the next chapter, so to speak, of their lives.