Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Under the Tuscan Sun - Frances Mayes

Under the Tuscan Sun
Title: Under the Tuscan Sun
Author: Frances Mayes
Publication Date: 1996
Pages: 304
Genre: Food / Memoir / Nonfiction
How I Found It: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. 
Date Completed: 3/26/17

Summary: In the early 90s, Frances Mayes and her now husband Ed bought an Italian villa in the Tuscan countryside. It had been empty for years and required immense amounts of work. This is the story of their summers in Italy, spent restoring the home and its gardens. 

What I Thought: When I saw the twentieth anniversary edition of the book being offered on the Blogging for Books website, I could not resist. Kevin and I are in the midst of planning a trip to Italy and this seemed like a delightful way to amp up my excitement for said journey. It worked perfectly.

This is exactly the sort of travel memoir I like. Although, since Mayes has made her second home in the Italian countryside, maybe that's not the right qualifier. Either way, the book recounts her summers spent restoring "Bramasole," the Tuscan home she and Ed bought in which to spend their weeks and months on breaks from university teaching. As a professor myself, this is a plan I can seriously get behind. 

Mayes' history as a poet shines through in her writing. Her prose is beautiful and wonderfully descriptive without being too sappy. It gets a little rambling at times, but in the way I imagine Italian dinners do. The languid journey is about just that - the journey, not the destination. No matter when I picked it up, I felt immediately transported to the Tuscan fields and hills. Mayes made my mouth water and my wunderlist ache. 

If this does not make you want to pick up and move to Italy, nothing will. 

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Yes! I'm so glad I own a copy because I can see myself coming back to this many times over. 

A Reduced Review: Mayes magically transports her readers to the sunny Tuscan countyside for a taste of delicious meals, rewarding labor, and enchanting local life. 

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