An American Girl in Italy by Aubrie Dionne

GIRL
An American Girl in Italy by Aubrie Dionne
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (212 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 2.5 stars
Reviewed by Hawthorn

An Italian paradise is the last thing she wants… but the one thing she needs!

Surely any girl would kill for the chance to tour Italy’s most famous cities for the summer? To experience the warmth of the Tuscan sun, the culinary delights of the pizzerias and caffés and to stroll along the cobbled streets of the City of Love itself…

Any girl apart from ambitious oboist Carly Davis that is! For her, the Easthampton Civic Symphony’s latest European tour is one massive inconvenience. She can’t even put her smartphone down long enough to snap a picture of the Coliseum.

Only, there’s one Italian attraction that Carly hadn’t quite expected to be a part of the tourist route…

Tour guide Michelangelo is as dark and delicious as Carly’s morning espresso. And when she needs a few lessons in the language of love to land her an important gig, he’s a more than capable tutor.

But with her promising career back in Boston, can Carly really afford to lose her heart in Italy?

There is a lot at stake for both protagonists of An American Girl in Italy. For Carly, the Italian tour is another step to winning recognition as an oboist, while for Michelangelo it’s a way to earn some money to save his family’s vineyard. Apart from the conflicting situations for the main characters, the novel offers lovely descriptions of Italy, its food and wines. The stage is set for a hot Italian romance.

While I liked the depictions of the concerts and everything that referred to music and the orchestra (it showed that the author had experience with this), the romance part disappointed. Despite the high stakes, there was no passion, mainly due to too much telling and not enough showing. The two weeks that Carly and Michelangelo had to fall in love would’ve been quite enough for a believable romance had the author managed to make me care about the protagonists. Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect with Carly. She was too insipid for me to like her. There was no real passion in her. Even the music that she claimed meant everything to her was purely business; it was all about lining up as many gigs as possible and establishing herself.

The narrative felt immature in places. For example, Carly and the opera diva Alaina didn’t get along. However, towards the end, Alaina suddenly stated that she’d thought they were becoming friends although there had never been any indication of that, except for the fact that they were roommates and that they practiced their solo together. The same goes for Mrs. Maxhammer’s behavior at the end – highly unbelievable and unmotivated.

Although the side characters were little more than stock characters they helped move the story along and added some much needed comedy. But more diverse and detailed characterization would add complexity to the story. As it was, the narrative felt protracted and could’ve done with a little tightening. Although the ending was predictable, it led to a satisfying conclusion for Carly and Michelangelo. The scenes of the final concert in the vineyard seemed magical and a fitting finale to the orchestra’s tour in Italy.

Although An American girl in Italy struggled with her feelings for Italy and Michelangelo, you’ll fall in love with the magical places described and with the dashing Italian Romeo.

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