The Background of City of Illusions by Judith Works – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Judith will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Background of the Book

The physical background for City of Illusions is Rome; the emotional background is marriage – how it can become routine and what happens when one partner realizes that there can be more to life and makes an effort to change.

Laura is stifled. She works as a freelance editor, so bored with her existence she sometimes works in pajamas. Her weekends are reduced to a round of reading and watching movies, a life of an on-looker. Despite her desire for children, her husband Jake resists, and what had been an exciting relationship has become dulled by day-to-day concerns over the last seven years. In between editing she begins to follow blogs written by women who seem to have exciting lives. She decides to search for her own change of scene in the hopes that she and Jake can make a new start. And then she finds a one-year job in Rome. The plot unfolds as she and Jake are catapulted into a life that neither of them had prepared for. Laura alternates between love and hate but settles on love. Jake is a trailing spouse adrift in a world he doesn’t understand.

The story begins in Seattle but the action takes place in Rome, a city where I lived for ten years and where I return to visit regularly. Rome can be all things to all people: a city of chaos, a city of beauty, a city of religion, romance, food, art and architecture. And all of those elements feature in the story told through scenes set in restaurants, churches fountain-filled piazzas and villas.

Some of the events that occur are taken from my experiences like the food and wine, the scenery and the typical experience of expatriate living. Some of the scenes take place in one of my favorite restaurants in Rome, others describe apartments I have known, and another recounts a horrible luncheon I hosted. I still shudder to think of it. But the drama of the plot with both Laura’s and Jake’s entanglement with unsavory characters is from my reading intertwined with my imagination. One theme is antiquity theft, a huge problem in Italy. Just before I wrote these lines I read about a number of arrests and recovery of stolen items from Pompeii. Last week another arrest was made and the recovery of over $50 million worth of artefacts.

The epigraph of the book is taken from a 13th century painter. He said Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions, and the city of yearning. My characters find those words to be true.

A yearning for change puts Laura on the road to Rome but her marital problems, muted in cool Seattle, become magnified in the glare of the Roman sun. Will she find happiness in the Eternal City or are her dreams only an illusion?

Read an excerpt:

She recognized the inertia of their marriage had been roiled by the move to Italy, although it wasn’t in the manner she intended. Instead of coming closer, a centrifugal force had whirled them into seldom- intersecting elliptical orbits, hers energized, his wobbly. Whatever the difficulties of living in Rome were, she was becoming increasingly sure that she would find a more fulfilling life in Rome rather than Seattle. With or without Jake.

She turned back to her work, but the day passed slowly as she worried about him and her parents’ visit. As she expected, the evening wasn’t any better. Jake watched another inane spettacolo with bouncing babes on TV while they ate dinner. In an effort to appear as if married life was normal, after the dishes were done Laura said she was going to get ready for bed. Jake ignored the hint. She was washing her hands when she heard him come into the bathroom. She looked in the mirror to see his face hovering over her shoulder.

“It’s not what you think. I delivered stuff to a gallery for sale. We might even get a cut of the profits. It’s interesting to be a part of the action. I’ll be helping restore a few old artworks so others have a chance to enjoy them. Otherwise they would just rot in some moldy old church or castle. You should be proud of me instead of picking all the time.”

Laura tried a smile. Then she gave him the bad news. “Well, we’ve got a small problem: my mom and dad are coming in February for ten days. They expect the weather to be warm and that you will take them around the whole time.”

“Are you kidding? No way – I’m not a tour guide. What were you thinking to agree to this? We don’t have a car. And I’m busy. This is insane.”

He marched off to his spot in front of the television, leaving Laura holding the toothpaste, squeezed in the middle instead of from the bottom as she liked. She carefully rolled the tube, flattening the used portions.

About the Author:

Life was routine until the author decided to get a law degree. Then a chance meeting led her to run away to the Circus (Maximus) – actually to the United Nations office next door – where she worked as an attorney in the HR department and entered the world of expat life in Rome. The ten years of happy and sometimes fraught experiences are the subject of her memoir, Coins in the Fountain. She continues to travel, having visited over 100 countries in between many journeys to Italy where she always tosses a coin in the Trevi Fountain to ensure a return to Rome. Judith and her husband now live near Seattle where she is working on her second novel.

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  1. stacey dempsey says:

    Thank you I enjoyed the excerpt

  2. Thanks for hosting!

  3. love finding new to me authors!

  4. Nikolina says:

    My favorite part of the post is the excerpt, thank you!

  5. Majestic cover is my favorite part!

  6. very beautiful cover and it looks like I have another book on my TBR list. 🙂

  7. Rita Wray says:

    I enjoyed reading The Background of the Book.

  8. Enjoyed watching the book trailer.

  9. judith works says:

    Hi All:
    Thanks so much for hosting.
    I hope readers enjoy City of Illusions.

  10. Nurmawati Djuhawan says:

    thx u so much for hosting 🙂

  11. I can definitely relate. My favorite part is Are you kidding? No way – I’m not a tour guide.”

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