The new novel from the bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun tells the story of four American women who become unexpected friends when they move to a beautiful villa in Tuscany.
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?
Kit Raine, an American writer living in the small Italian town of San Rocco, is working on a biography of her close friend, the novelist Margaret Merrill.
But her work is waylaid by the arrival of three women - Julia, Camille and Susan - all of whom have recently formed a friendship that will uproot them completely and redirect their lives. For Susan, the most fearless of the three, has enticed them to subvert expectations of a staid retirement in the States by taking on the lease of 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 spirited lust for life, and a fierce determination to thrive.
With Kit’s friendship and guidance, the three friends launch themselves into Italian life, pursuing passions long-forgotten – with drastic and unforeseeable results.
'As in Under the Tuscan Sun, Mayes's writing about Italy is the next best thing to a plane ticket' People
'Frances Mayes is back under the Tuscan sun, and the forecast for readers is bright ... [she] brings the magic of Tuscany to life once again in her new novel' USA Today
'The beloved Frances Mayes seems to own the Italian sun. Her first Italian-set novel is a lovely and intimate journey of friendship, loss, and hope set in the eternal beauty of Tuscan countryside' Adriana Trigiani
Even fans of Mayes's Under the Tuscan Sun may have trouble with her latest, a trifle about three American women who impulsively rent a house in Tuscany for a year. They meet while touring a North Carolina retirement community: Camille, 69, and 64-year-old Susan are widows, and Julia is separated from her spouse at 59. Their new neighbors in San Rocco are expats noted writer Kit and her longtime partner Colin have lived there for a decade. Not every day in Italy is halcyon, but it often feels that way: everyone becomes great friends and the women age like Benjamin Button. Even Kit, unable to have a baby and certainly not trying, gets pregnant. Camille, who was once a promising painter, experiences an artistic renaissance in scenes that are among the book's most intriguing, but her instant success undercuts their power. Susan and Julia also forge innovative new careers. All the magical light that brightens Mayes's Tuscany has the effect of canceling the shadows that might fall on her characters in a more realistic or layered story. The effect is a book that feels like a movie, but not an especially memorable one.