By Kathryn Kay
Copyright January 2012
Publisher Kensington Fiction
In Marina Nesmith’s skilled hands, even the most tarnished picture frame or objet d’art can be made perfect once again. Her life, too, seems flawless, at least on the surface. But more and more, Marina is conscious of what she lacks–someone to share her joys and sorrows with, confidence in the decisions she’s made, and the courage to tell her teenage daughter, Zoe, the truth about her father.
Then Marina is invited to return to Florence, where she lived years before while learning her trade as a gilder. In those heady days, she wandered the city’s picturesque streets, marveling at the masterpieces in the Duomo and the Pitti Palace. In the church of Santa Croce, she met Thomas, an American photographer who, along with his wife Sarah, introduced Marina to a thrilling, bohemian world of art and beauty. Through them, she also learned about love, lies, and the way one mistake can multiply into many. Now, as her past and present collide, Marina will finally have to move beyond the intricate veneer she’s crafted around herself, and find the life that she–and Zoe–have been looking for.
It’s been sixteen years since Marina ran home from Florence Italy. Leaving behind an apprenticeship that she loved, and friends who had no idea why she left. She’s accepted an invitation to speak at a conference in Florence about her career as a gilder. Now she must deal with those memories as she prepares her speech, and also deal with a fifteen year old daughter who desperately wants to go to Italy with her.
Zoe has grown up without a father. He was just a series of short answers given to her by her mother in response to her asking about him over the years. And as she grew her questions became more and more detailed, and her mother’s replies giving her less and less satisfaction.
As the date of her departure gets closer Marina’s thoughts drift more and more into the memories of her early life and the key point that ended up with her going to study in Florence. She has seen an article about the devastating flooding of Florence and the possible loss of so many priceless and irreplaceable paintings and objects d’art. Her mother showed her how this could be the basis for the report she was writing for her world events class. As she delved deeper into the story, finding photos in magazines the seed was planted, that and a promise (never fulfilled) by her mother to take her to Italy and visit these sights first hand.
Year after year the promised trip never appeared, till she finally decided that after college she would just pack and go. She worked during college and saved up the money for her trip, and the course she signed up for in gilding and art preservation.
As her memories unfold, and she fends off her daughter’s questions and tears we are drawn deeply into a young woman’s dreams, life and future career.
I found this book deeply moving and engaging as I was drawn into Marina’s world. I laughed, cried, and found myself sympathizing with problems and the course they took her on. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good romance.
FTC Full Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher, who only requested a fair and impartial review.