Dreaming of Florence by T. A. Williams
When Debbie Waterson’s bicycle crashes into handsome doctor Pierluigi, she wonders if her luck has changed. Determinedly single after ending a long relationship, at last, a man worth bumping into!
Inspired to visit Florence, she soon runs headlong into that old foe: reality. But is Pierluigi the man of her dreams? Then there’s her booze obsessed boss, his forbidding secretary and her noisy inconsiderate neighbours. But could her luck be about to change? Will she find love after all?
Have you ever had a dream that you knew was destined to come true? Have you ever wanted to see a place so much you could almost smell the air and feel the warmth that would envelope you? This is how Debbie feels about Florence. She’s never been but, in her heart, she’s always belonged. This novel is not just about Debbie finding true love, it’s also about her romance with the city of Florence.
Dreaming of Florence is one of those books that instantly falls into the feel-good category. It’s a light and charming read. Debbie is delightfully drawn and we see how she develops through each challenge that life brings her. Although she comes from a loving home, finances were always a struggle for Debbie and her family. She works hard, is never frivolous and is appreciative of all she has and has accomplished. Her dreams really do come true when she finally makes it to Florence, in fact, you can almost think of the city as her fairy godmother.
There are some cute, almost clever, plot twists as the story unfolds. There is the mystery of Pierluigi to unravel and there is the elusive rose garden to find.
The story is told in the third person but from Debbie’s viewpoint alone. The reader is only allowed to see Debbie’s perspective on what’s going on. After reading several multiple POV stories recently, I enjoyed this change. Interestingly enough, it is still easy to spot when Debbie’s opinions/ perspectives of someone else are unfair or biased.
I wish some of the other characters were as well drawn as Debbie was, but perhaps that’s just a result of the singular POV. Her friend Alice, goes through a transformation but I would have liked to get to know Alice a bit more.
While I really liked this book, I can’t say I loved it. T. A. Williams uses very pretty words and put together lovely sentences but sometimes the flow just didn’t work quite right. I felt disconnected from the story very often. I didn’t feel as if I was experiencing everything with Debbie. I liked her, I wanted her to be lucky in love. I really wanted to know what happens next but I didn’t feel. I didn’t get scared for her or angry on her behalf or giddy with happiness for her. I felt a little disconnected. This story didn’t bring the feels.
But it still made me happy while reading.
The language student in me really appreciated this quote:
“Although she had studied his language for a good few years now, she was suddenly overcome with an uncharacteristic attack of shyness at the prospect of finally using it for real.”
Fun fact learnt (and verified) from reading this book: Cantuccini is the same as biscotti – In Florence, they are called cantuccini di prato, after the famous bakery. It is also believed that Christopher Columbus used to carry them with him on his travels
Some things I liked:
- Debbie is very sweet and likeable. She was an easy character to root for. She is generally positive and even optimistic.
- Florence is beautifully described.
- The food is superb.
- There is a nice mix of characters.
- This is a feel-good story and made me smile often.
Some things I did not like:
- There is info dumping about Italy in general and Florence in particular. It was cute at times though, rather than too annoying. The author is clearly very excited about Florence.
- As much as I liked Debbie, there was something of a disconnect that really prevented me from getting all the feels while reading this story.
- The issue of Pierluigi… think I wanted a bit more out of that story…
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was cute and sweet and made use of a couple of plot twists. If you are looking for something quick and light to put a smile on your face, try it.
I give this book 3.5/5 espresso shots.
Disclaimer: Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher Canelo for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.