“Shut your dammed trap Peter. I’m leaving for Italy next week.” And with that Marilyn Wade silences her ex-husband’s meddling questions about what she’s doing with her life and sets out for Milan taking us with her for the ride!
Why Milan? That’s a good question. As Catherine McNamara’s debut novel, “The divorced lady’s companion to living in Italy”, opens Marilyn is being unceremoniously dumped by her husband for a younger model in what appears to be the age old story. But what unfolds is a fast, funny and flipping sexy adventure into Italian life as Marilyn valiantly, and at times haplessly, tries to track down an old friend who she believes found the key to happiness in Milan with an Italian solicitor!
It’s certainly one way to get your life back together again – and why not?! – and as far from the cliche “Italian dream” of Tuscan farmhouses, vineyards and olive groves as you can get! This is aperitifs in crippling stilettos, conjugating verbs in the arms of a blue-eyed Milanese barman, amongst others, and awkward leather-clad partying! Think Shirley Valentine meets Bridget Jones meets 50 shades’ Christian Gray set in Italy! Perfetto!!
Catherine McNamara writes her leading lady vividly and comically clumsy as she gradually undoes her British, middle-class strait laces via a series of adventures. Unpaid trade show jobs, missed gallery openings and backstreet fashion shows ensue. Men are met, consume and are consumed, reject and are rejected. But the evocative backdrop of contemporary, caffeine-charged , nicotine-stained Italy isn’t sugar coated or rose-tinted. Marilyn Wade has to scrabble, scrounge and scrimp to make a living like everyone. The path to love via Milan, Rome and Venice isn’t rose petal-strewn or by any means assured, but rather a tortuous, happenstance, pot-holed series of dead-ends. Just like real life.
So does Marilyn find her friend or work out what she’s going to do with her life? You’ll have to read the book to find out but if you, like me, dream of a real life in Italy but can’t always get there, this is the next best companion to transport the lady traveller!
The Divorced Lady’s Companion to Living in Italy was published on April 16th 2012 by Indigo Dreams Publishing UK.
Other travel-related fiction can be found and bought via TripFiction www.tripfiction.co.uk which was created to make it possible to match location with book and help you select the literature that is most pertinent and relevant for you and your trip in a way that was not been possible before. You can search books by location, by author, by genre – and cross reference across all three. So, apart from just selecting by location, see which countries feature in your favourite author’s books, or in which cities books of your favourite genre are set.