Thursday, March 3, 2011

Title:  The Lady in the Palazzo
Author:  Marlena de Blasi
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  317
Genre:  Memoir/Travelogue
Read:  2010

Rating:  B+

Synopsis (from the publisher):  Orvieto, an ancient Italian city rising above the cliffs of Umbria, is among the most dramatic in Europe. It is here that Marlena de Blasi, author of the national bestseller A Thousand Days in Venice, sets out to make a home—in the former ballroom of a dilapidated sixteenth-century palazzo—and win over her neighbors, who include artisans, counts, shepherds, and a lone violinist. Though wary of a stranger in their midst, they find her passion for the fine arts of cooking and eating irresistible, and together they create a spectacular feast as breathtaking as the city itself.

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Better than That Summer in Sicily, but still not as good as A Thousand Days in Tuscany.  This addition to de Blasi's memoirs is full of interesting characters, fun anecdotes, and great descriptions.  But for me, it lacked the passion of her first two books.  I just didn't connect with her or her new neighbors the way I did in A Thousand Days.  It was still a good book, but I found myself skimming through parts of it.  Maybe it's partly because I've never bought a home that needed renovations, which is why those parts of the book seemed tedious (just like Under the Tuscan Sun).  I think the biggest reason I struggled to enjoy this book was because de Blasi herself struggled with her inclusive neighbors and lazy Italian contractors, and that struggle came through in her writing.  A great picture of Tuscan culture, but not as appealing as de Blasi's other works.  B+

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