First off, let me say I loved this book. It has stayed with me for long after I finished reading it, and in a good way. Here are my thoughts
On the Book
This book tells the story of Mia, a young Australian artist who is recovering from cancer. She has decided to pack up her life and head to Tuscany in the hopes of reigniting her creative spark. She meets the truly romantic (and my next book boyfriend) Luca, the local mechanic who helps her see life for what it is – a blessing – no matter what shape or form.
The protagonist is young adult, but it feels like she could be any age and the same evoking story would come across. Which is great for those who want to experience Tuscany from their armchair but are hesitant about reading a YA’ish book.
And experience Tuscany you do. I got a few chapters in and loved it so much that I wanted to book flights right then and there! Instead, I pulled out my moka pot, dusted it off and made myself the best caffè ever and enjoyed the trip.
The characters are vivid, the story is heartwarming and touches on the tragic but at the last moment leaves you with a positive ending. Not only did I pull out my dusty moka pot, but I was also inspired to pull out my pencils and paintbrushes. I loved this story from the get go and thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting a transformative read this summer. Even though the protagonist is under 20, I feel the story will appeal to anyone and, in fact, I’m going gift it to someone I know is planning a visit to Tuscany in the future.
The Florentine Bridge is a cross between Under the Tuscan Sun and The Fault in Our Stars because it deals with the ramifications of illness and balances it with new beginnings.
Vanessa writes with such clarity on these issues that I’m left wondering if she went through an illness, or knew someone who did. With statistics like, 1 in 6 people will know someone with cancer or have had cancer themselves, it’s not hard to believe she has. As a writer, I thought the old ‘write what you know’ piece of advice was well warranted here. I know Vanessa has taken people on writing retreats to Tuscany and she’s got history in the area. This intimate knowledge of the country and its people is put to great use. Without it, the book would have just not been the same.
On the Cover
Perfectly designed for the genre it is meant to fit. It’s even got a watercolour feel, which is fitting as the protagonist is an artist. I love when the cover reflects the story. It means you can flick to the front and have a wistful look every time you want a bit of visual inspiration. I also like it how it’s not age specific, meaning that even though the protagonist is young, the book hasn’t been boxed into a young adult audience.