Review

Turns out, that phrase “At least you’re in Tuscany” comes up a lot; and becomes a mantra of sorts for author, Jennifer Criswell. Everything will be okay because “at least you’re in Tuscany”.  Frozen comforters? At least you’re in Tuscany. Months of unemployment? At least you’re in Tuscany. Beautiful church bells? At least you’re in Tuscany. You have no friends and can’t speak the language. At least you’re in Tuscany. “If I was going to be homeless, at least I would be homeless…in Tuscany.”

Jennifer Criswell’s move from New York City to Tuscany was not supposed to go like this. She had envisioned lazy mornings sipping espresso while penning a best-selling novel and jovial group dinners, just like in the movies and books about expatriate life in Italy.

Then she met reality: no work, constant struggles with Italian bureaucracy to claim citizenship through her ancestors, and perhaps worst of all, becoming the talk of the town after her torrid affair with a local fruit vendor.

Through all her small-town bumblings, though, Jennifer’s mantra, along with a healthy dose of enthusiasm and willingness to learn about Italian culture, helped her not only build a new, rewarding life in Italy but also find herself along the way.

I thought the book was well written, and contained such vivid descriptions that the reader could easily be transported to Tuscany. I could smell the flowers in the fields, see the goats on the hillside, and enjoy coffee at a side-walk cafe. Jennifer’s life, since picking up and moving to Tuscany, has been anything but easy. She handles it with as much grace and dignity as she can muster, and when needed, picks herself up by her sandal straps and keeps on going.

Jennifer Criswell. captures your heart as you begin to repeat her mantra over and over…

I think we all, at one or another, dream of moving to a romantic country. The book is an eye opener about the intricacies of achieving that dream; gaining citizenship and then employment in a foreign country. Jennifer Criswell. tells her tale honestly and with humor and sincerity. One page may find you laughing out loud, while the next will find you with tears in your eyes, as you learn the sometimes difficult lessons of moving to another country with her.

The one drawback to the book, in my opinion, was one of things I also enjoyed – the Italian language. I do not speak Italian, and while it was wonderful to have the language dispersed throughout the book, it was also a deterrent. There were just as many instances that I figured the word out, as not. I would have appreciated the author including the English word in parenthesis.

In her book AT LEAST YOU’RE IN TUSCANYJennifer Criswell. captures your heart as you begin to repeat her mantra over and over, as you fall in love with Tuscany. I’m giving this book 5 stars.

 

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About the Reviewer

Donna McBroom-Theriot

Writer. Book Reviewer. Southern Lady. Connoisseur of Chocolate.

My Life is like an episode of “I love Lucy!” I’m a writer, book reviewer, and a Southern Lady who loves her Sweet Tea. My blog, My Life. One Story at a Time. is where I’ve been writing short stories since 2009. As luck would have it, the very first short story I wrote was published within months of my writing it.

This quote pretty much sums me up: “Deep in my heart, I know there’s no promise I’ll be free from trouble in this life. In fact, I’m usually either getting out of trouble, currently in trouble, or about to meet trouble around the next corner.” Well, you know that old saying, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions” – that road is usually the one I’m on!

And, as much I used to mock (we all grow up eventually) the Cajun dialect, 15 years ago, I found myself marrying the sweetest Cajun boy – complete with the requisite white trawl boots and a trawl boat.

I love writing stories about the South and life with our two German Shepherds, and the four kids who meander in and out of our lives as they live their own journeys.

Most days you’ll find me out on the front porch swing, with the dogs at my feet, a tall glass of sweet iced tea close by, and a good book. It’s what life in the South is all about.
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