What’s it all about
‘To my niece I leave the Ferrari GT250… On the proviso that she takes it across Europe to Maranello within the next three weeks. Only on successful completion of the journey to a prescribed route, will the car be hers…’
Home-loving Laurie thinks she’s happy – she has a safe, reliable boyfriend and working in her local library is what she thought she always wanted. That is until she inherits a vintage Ferrari from her eccentric Uncle Miles and the conditions of the inheritance are far from simple. To keep the car Laurie will have to drive across Europe with the gorgeous but unreliable Cameron Matthews as her guide… and Cam’s motives for helping are not all that altruistic.
Cam isn’t particularly thrilled about escorting his late pal Miles’ dull mouse of a niece on this wild goose chase but all he has to do is get Laurie safely to Italy and he’s sure the Ferrari is his.
But Uncle Miles had a few tricks up his sleeve and the route he’s planned takes Cam and Laurie on a road trip they’ll never forget. From sampling the delights of the Loire Valley to the breathtaking beauty of Lake Garda, this is one journey that has more twists and turns than either of them could ever have imagined…
Book provided by Harper Impulse via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
This is the first book I have read by Jules and it certainly won’t be my last.
The book begins with a funeral. Not the best way to start a chick lit book I hear you say, but really, it’s not depressing in the slightest. In fact, this is where we are introduced to the colourful Uncle Miles, the instigator of the journey that Laurie, our leading lady, must take if she wants to inherit one of his most prized cars when he was alive.
Laurie, Laurie, Laurie. Sweet, quiet, unconfrontational, Laurie. I did love her but I have to say, in parts I found myself wanting to grab her and shake her for putting up with her ridiculous boyfriend/fiance, Robert. From the get-go, we are given an insight into their relationship and how they work. Laurie works in a library and is happily bobbing along through life with no excitement, not trying to achieve any goals and being held back by Robert. Robert is a weasel. A completely artificial, mean spirited and quite frankly, stingy, man. Jules has done a wonderful job of creating a character that you want to scream at. When he finds out just how wealthy Uncle Miles was, suddenly he wants to get married and not only that, he wants it to be a rushed job down at the registry office! Nuh-uh.
At the funeral, we are introduced to Cam, a close friend of Uncle Miles and fellow car enthusiast. Prior to the reading of the will, Cam is confident he will get the Ferrari that Miles promised him. Little does he know, lovably eccentric Uncle Miles had other plans. When Laurie and Cam attend the reading of the will, they discover that Laurie has in fact been left the Ferrari BUT only if she takes the car on a road trip through France and into Italy, with Cam alongside her. Should she not complete this task, the car will be sold. Suddenly determined to inject some adventure into her life, Laurie sets off on the adventure of her life with Cam in the driving seat and Robert left at home sulking.
When the pair hit the road, Cam’s sole focus is to get Laurie to sell the car. He was promised that car by sneaky Uncle Miles and attempts to pull many tricks on Laurie to convince her that the car is either falling to bits, is unreliable, too expensive to run or is making knocks and noises when it shouldn’t; but Laurie isn’t phased one bit. Cam’s tricks continue throughout the journey until one day after some dodgy seafood, Laurie has to take control and nurse him back to health. She manages to navigate them into Paris and gets Cam help. For me, I think this was the turning point in their relationship. Cam could always see that she wasn’t a high maintenance gold-digger, the type of highly groomed women he is used to being around and doesn’t particularly like, and the pair get closer and begin open up to each other. We find out why Laurie has been so nervous to go on the journey, we find out about her family and why she never talks about her mother and we finally see Laurie come into her own, morphing from a meek, mild-mannered caterpillar into a gloriously bright butterfly.
I adored this story from cover to cover. The fact that we get to travel through France and to Italy was the main reason I was drawn to the story. I’m a sucker for a book that takes me on an adventure through beautiful countries and if a book can pull me and keep me hooked with a storyline about characters that have some clear flaws but manage to see the light, and a romance that develops along the way, then I am one happy little camper. I felt like I took this journey with them thanks to the descriptions that Jules gives us and could imagine myself wandering through Paris or getting lost in a small French town and grabbing a coffee in a quaint streetside cafe.
From Italy With Love had me grinning from ear to ear throughout most of it, especially as the road trip progresses and there are laugh out loud moments so I would urge anyone with a love of romance and travel to grab this book and read it immediately. That’s a direct order 😉
As you’ve probably all guessed by now, this is a DEFINITE high marker from me and I look forward to more great offerings from this author.
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Until next time you lovely lot *mwah*