Reviewed by Louise Wykes
When the past comes to your door, what can you do except let it in?Gina's life is good. She is independent. She loves her adopted home in Italy and she is passionate about her work as a photographer. Maybe her lover isn't all she might hope and her beautiful apartment is in need of repair, but you can't have everything all the time. And anyway, she's all wrapped up in her latest artistic project, shots of the young men who arrive in Italy as refugees, destitute and vulnerable.Until one day, Sasha, a lonely British teenager at summer school, crosses Gina's path, and unwittingly sets her world spinning. Sasha's innocent romance creates complications neither of them could have imagined, leading Gina to wonder, can she come to terms with her past?
As Italy is the top of my wishlist places to visit, the title of this novel immediately appealed to me.
After looking at the cover and reading the blurb on the back, I expected a usual run of the mill chick lit book and was completely surprised at the darker side of life and love that is portrayed in this fantastic read.
At the beginning of the book we are introduced to Gina who works as a photographer and is in a complicated relationship with her married lover who also happens to be her landlord of her apartment. Into this already complicated scenario comes Sasha an English teenager who is on an exchange trip and it is through her innocent romance that the threads of Gina’s life begin to fall apart.
This is a wonderfully involving story and the viewpoint changes throughout the book which helps to drive the narrative along. Although at times I was despairing at Gina’s actions, I always felt enough sympathy for her that I cared what happened to her. This book also shows a side to asylum seeking that I was unfamiliar with as Gina’s latest photography assignment takes her into the lives of the young refugees that aren’t legally meant to be in the city but can’t go home so are trapped, feeling lonely and vulnerable.
The descriptive writing is wonderfully evocative and the reader is immediately transported to the city of Rome even if it is a darker, more unfamiliar side to the place. For me, I felt the ending was a little too neat and happy for Gina which didn’t seem to match the darker story that followed before. However, on the whole, I loved reading this book, especially the last third where it was full of mystery and intrigue and I would love to read more work from this author. A fabulous read.
I'd like to thank Tindal Street Press for sending me a copy of this book to review and Louise for reviewing it for me.