Delighted to be taking my turn on the tour today for Rome for the Summer by Lynne Shelby. It’s especially exciting as today is publication day for the book, so happy publication day, Lynne! My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to the tour and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
Kate Harper has always loved the painting that has hung in her parents’ dining room for years, never suspecting that it is worth a fortune. When her art dealer boyfriend cheats her family out of the proceeds of the painting’s sale, she is left devastated and alone.
Kate discovers that two hundred years ago, the girl in the painting, Charlotte Browne, ran off to Rome with the artist who painted her portrait, but her eventual fate is unknown.
Hoping to uncover the mystery of what happened to Charlotte, Kate seizes the chance of a summer job in Rome, where she strikes up a friendship with artist Jamie Taylor. As they explore the city and start to piece together the surprising secrets of Charlotte’s life, Kate finds herself wondering if a summer in Rome can mend a broken heart…
I’m on a roll with the travel romance novels at the moment, and I was particularly looking forward to reading this one, as Rome is one of my favourite cities in the world and I couldn’t wait to be whisked off there again – if only vicariously – to explore in the company of broken-hearted Kate and handsome artist, Jamie.
The premise behind this book is fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed the blending of light romance with the historical thread. You more often see historical themes explored in a more serious way, so this was a refreshing change and I think it really worked. The historical aspects complemented the contemporary story without dragging it down. I felt the contrast between Kate’s travels to Rome in the 21st century and the same story being experienced by Charlotte in the 19th worked brilliantly to highlight how much harder it was for women back then; you will leave the story feeling glad that you weren’t a female in the 1800s!
If you enjoy immersing yourself in foreign locations via literature, you will love this book, because the author really captures the spirit and beauty of Rome in this novel. Having been a couple of times, it is a place I am familiar with and love very much, and this story gave me all the warm fuzzy feelings I get whenever I think about that beautiful city, its sights, sounds, smells and flavours and the vibrant, welcoming people. It has made me want to return as soon as possible (which much be an overdue event, as threw my last coin in the Trevi Fountain more than five years ago) and, if you’ve never been, you’ll be searching for flights to the Eternal City as soon as you’ve turned the last page.
All this aside, the essential ingredient of any romance novel is, of course, the romance, and the central relationship in this book does not disappoint. Kate is a warm, likeable and sympathetic character and you will be firmly on her side from the beginning. Jamie is a suitably swoon-worthy foil for her, and watching their relationship grow is a pleasure and a privilege. All the ingredients are present for a happy ending, and the tension between them, whilst a slow boil rather than a roaring inferno, feels all the more genuine and with better prospects because of it.
All in all, another fantastic summer read to add to the growing pile for packing in your summer suitcase. Better make sure there is plenty of room on your Kindle, as there are some marvellous romance novels being published just in time for the holidays.
Rome for the Summer is out today in ebook and paperback formats and you can get your copy here.
Make sure you visit some of the other blogs taking part in the tour for alternative reviews and other content:
About the Author
Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction and romance. Her debut novel, French Kissing (re-released in e-book as Meet Me In Paris) won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition, and her fifth novel, Love On Location, was shortlisted for a Romantic Novelists’ Association Award – the Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre or exploring a foreign city with her writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband and has three adult children who live nearby.
Connect with Lynne:
Facebook: Lynne Shelby Writer