Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Reluctant Tuscan by Phil Doran and Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

From Italy With Love (European Getaway Week)

The Reluctant Tuscan: How I Discovered My Inner Italian by Phil Doran. Phil Doran is a burned-out Hollywood writer for TV sitcoms who reluctantly agrees to move to Italy after his wife bought a 300-year-old farmhouse in a small town in Tuscany. Anyone who has ever done any renovations or repairs in their home knows what a headache it can be.  But throw in a different language and top it off with frustrating bureaucratic green, white, and red tape, and you have the makings of an amusing disaster.  Told with the witty style you would expect from a comedy writer, their venture in this little village will bring a smile on your face.  From the unexpected coldness of the neighbor, to the experience of driving in Italy, to the community efforts of harvesting olives, this book will transport you to the Italian countryside—if, reluctantly, only for a little while.  I truly enjoyed this fun and easy read.

“Growing up in southern California, her blood had turned to orange juice, and she was physically incapable of surviving cold weather unless it was on a ski trip.”
Phil Doran, The Reluctant Tuscan (Penguin Group, USA Inc., 2005), 27.

Bonus Review: 
If a great, big helping of the warmth and beauty of Italy is what you crave, then don’t skip on the satisfying treat of Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes.  Yes. It’s another book about another old farmhouse renovation, another new start in a foreign country. But its appeal is uniquely different.  Mayes serves generous descriptions of the splendor of Tuscany and blends it together with the pleasure of simply delicious Italian meals. If you've seen the movie first, you may be slightly disappointed. While the book and the movie are mostly similar in the renovations and the culinary feasts, the greatest difference is that her journey is not a quest to find herself; she was already further along that road in the book. Frances buys the home with her husband and together they renovate the farmhouse while delving into a quiet, Italian existence.

Happy Reading!

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