Sunday, May 10, 2009

Book: Taking Tuscany

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Taking Tuscany

David C. Cook (May 2009)


Renee Riva


Renee Riva writes humorous stories with a message, for both children and adults. Having been raised in a large Italian family with a great sense of humor, she has much to draw from for developing quirky characters.

She loves sharing her secrets for story starters at Young Author events, helping to spark the imagination of young minds. Renee and her husband live in Richland, Washington, with their three daughters, a dog, a cat, and until recently, her beloved hamster—may she rest in peace.


A. J. Degulio loved the idea of a visit to the Old Country... until her family decided to stay. It's 1972 and she's turning fourteen in a crumbling castle on a hill in Tuscany, wishing she were back in Idaho with her beloved dog, Sailor. In Italy, her blond hair makes her stick out like a vanilla wafer in a box of chocolate biscotti, and she's so lonely her best friend is a nun from the local convent.

The challenges of roots and relatives are nothing new to A. J., but she's going to need more than the famous Degulio sense of humor to survive. Can't anyone see that Italy isn't really home? It will take a catastrophe - and a few wise words from a friend - for A. J. to understand that sometimes the only thing you can change is your perspective.


This is a sequel to Saving Sailor (I think Renee likes alliterative titles!), but it's not entirely difficult to read as it takes place 4 years later. That being said, it seems there were some key events in the first book that are referenced in this book. It might have been nice to read that one first!

I was impressed with the way the author made this an understated Christian novel. The family is "normal" and the mother-daughter relationship is quite fraught with tension, but you realize there is love there. The girl, at 14, doesn't think about God every moment of every day, but rather has moments of "inspiration" for lack of a better word. It feels real to me.

The only other problem I had with the book was that the timing seems really fast as well as to not quite match up with the storyline. Maybe I'm picky about this, but if a book doesn't have a coherent time line I have issues believing it. It just jerks me out of the story too hard when things don't match. But in this book it's pretty minor and probably would have been helped if I had read the first one!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Taking Tuscany, go HERE

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an interesting books-I'll have to look into the first one.


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