St. Martin's, Jul 2002, 23.95, 368 pp.
Thirty-eight year old divorcee Gemma Jericho works extremely hard as resident in charge of Bellevue Hospital Trauma Department as there is never a void of customers. She also feels like the sandwich generation struggling between her mom Nonna and her third generation American teen Livvie.
Nonna receives a letter from Bella Piacere, the village she grew up in Italy, but has not been back to in four decades. The priest informs Nonna that she has inherited property. Using guilt as a sharp sword, Nonna persuades her two descendants to come with her to Italy so she can see her home for the last time and to learn what has been bequest to her.
Though they kind of met in Rome, Gemma and Long Islander Ben Raphael formally meet in Tuscany. He claims to own the same villa that the priest insists has been bestowed on Nonna. Though Gemma and Ben are very attracted to one another, the villa more than the past failures in relationships stand in the way of anything permanent.
Fans of relationship dramas will want to read SUMMER IN TUSCANY as the tale contains strong characters representing three generations struggling to connect with one another. The story line is well written though the bias is clearly pointed towards the fresh rural countryside over the smoggy urban areas. However, the key that makes the plot succeed is the rotation of voices, though mostly Gemma, so that the audience understands what each of the protagonists feel and thus can discern why relationships are difficult to form and tougher to maintain.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner