From the author of The Guest List, an evocative love story set along the Italian Riviera about a group of charismatic stars who all have secrets and pasts they try desperately -- and dangerously -- to hide.
Rome, 1953: Hal, an itinerant journalist flailing in the post-war darkness, has come to the Eternal City to lose himself and to seek absolution for the thing that haunts him. One evening he finds himself on the steps of a palazzo, walking into a world of privilege and light. Here, on a rooftop above the city, he meets the mysterious Stella. Hal and Stella are from different worlds, but their connection is magnetic. Together, they escape the crowded party and imagine a different life, even if it's just for a night. Yet Stella vanishes all too quickly, and Hal is certain their paths won't cross again.
But a year later they are unexpectedly thrown together, after Hal receives an invitation he cannot resist. An Italian Contessa asks him to assist on a trip of a lifetime -- acting as a reporter on a tremendous yacht, skimming its way along the Italian coast toward Cannes film festival, the most famous artists and movie stars of the day gathered to promote a new film.
Of all the luminaries aboard -- an Italian ingénue, an American star, a reclusive director -- only one holds Hal in thrall: Stella. And while each has a past that belies the gilded surface, Stella has the most to hide. As Hal's obsession with Stella grows, he becomes determined to bring back the girl she once was, the girl who's been confined to history. An irresistibly entertaining and atmospheric novel set in some of the world's most glamorous locales, The Invitation is a sultry love story about the ways in which the secrets of the past stay with us -- no matter how much we try to escape them.
Hal Jacobs has been drifting through life since returning home from World War II. In 1953, he is eking out a living as a journalist in Italy when he is invited to join an Italian contessa on a sea voyage from Italy to Cannes to publicize her film, The Sea Captain. His job will be to write about the journey, and the pay is such that he can't refuse. The yacht's passengers are the glamorous stars of the film as well as the moneyed financiers that the contessa has assembled. When Hal sees the wife of one of the wealthy men aboard, he realizes that it's Stella Truss, with whom he had spent a night in Rome two years earlier and who has been impossible to forget. At first Hal and Stella try to ignore each other, but they are thrown together over and over: at dinner, on the dance floor, and on the moonlit deck. Before long their love affair is in full swing, fueled not only by their passion but also by their shared histories of losses and guilt. In her second novel, Foley (The Book of Lost and Found) weaves a very satisfying love story, and readers will be especially taken by the luxurious Mediterranean setting.
nice summer read
this book is set in the early 1950's and then going back and forth from the late 30's during the war in Europe.
Characters could have been developed a bit more and the ending was abrupt, but ok for summer fluff.
Also thoughtful at times about how everyone has sadness or guilt in their lives and how they deal with it..
A cluster of tales, pleasing with nimble imagery and style, falling into the ditch of the darkly improbable and frustrating.
The language created to tell the story is wondrous