Book Review: What Happens in Tuscany by T.A. Williams

What Happens in Tuscany by T.A. Williams
Release Date: 20th January 2015
Publisher: Carina
Buy: Kindle
Rating:
5 star

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From rainy England…

Katie never imagined her life was perfect. But when she finds herself on a rainy street, soaked to the bone and with only a cheating boyfriend and a dead-end job keeping her in town, she knows something has to change. Which is what leads her to Iddlescombe Manor, to be companion to Lady Victoria Chalker-Pyne – the only 25 year old Katie’s ever met who hasn’t heard of Twitter, thinks camisoles are de rigueur, and desperately needs an education in the 21st century!

…to the Tuscan sun!

But it wouldn’t be an education without a summer holiday – and where better than Tuscany? Decamping to Victoria’s family villa, it’s soon clear that the valley really does have it all: sun, sea…and some seriously gorgeous neighbours. The only question is: when the weather’s this hot, the wine is this smooth and the local men are this irresistible…will Katie ever want to make the journey home?

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Poor Katie is down on her luck after she splits up with her cheating boyfriend and finally decides to ditch her job as a teacher. However, things might be about to change for Katie when she notices an advert in The Lady magazine asking for a female companion and guide for an English lady, based in both Devon and Tuscany…
Before Katie knows it she is heading to Iddlescombe Manor to meet Lady Victoria Chalker-Pyne. Only Katie is in for one or two surprises; firstly Lady Victoria is not the elderly old woman that Katie assumed – in fact she’s only 25. That’s not the only shocking thing that soon becomes apparent, however. Victoria has been virtually kept prisoner at Iddlescombe Manor and has no TV, no internet, no concept of modern underwear and still uses terms such as ‘courting’. It soon proves clear that bringing Victoria into the twenty-first century is going to be no easy task, but despite that Katie and Victoria form a solid friendship. It’s not long before the pair take a trip over to Tuscany and visit Victoria’s gorgeous family villa. It’s then that things really start hotting up – and I don’t just mean the weather…

I am a huge fan of T.A. Williams after reading and loving When Alice Met Danny last year (make sure you check it out if you haven’t already!) so I had very high hopes for What Happens in Tuscany and was actually quite nervous as I started reading. Would I love it as much? Would there be another gorgeous Labrador in the story?
My nail biting was short lived, however because once again I absolutely loved this novel. It was every bit as good as When Alice Met Danny and has secured T.A. Williams a spot on my list of favourite authors.
One of my favourite things about What Happens in Tuscany was when Katie first arrived at Iddlescombe Manor and realised how sheltered Victoria’s life has been up until then. It made for a funny, heart-warming and extremely touching read as Katie brought Victoria up-to-speed on modern-day living (No, that woman wearing a tank top and shorts isn’t a prostitute…)
It was lovely seeing Victoria come out of her shell as she went from wallflower to, let’s be honest, a pretty foxy lady (she’s quick to get the hang of flirting. Still, she does have 25 years to catch up on…)
I also really enjoyed the parts of the story set in Tuscany, which was probably the majority of the novel. T.A. Williams made me want to pack my suitcase and fly over there right away, it sounded idyllic and made the perfect setting. The sun, the beaches, the wine and of course…the hunky neighbours. His descriptions really bring the setting to life and I found myself having no trouble envisaging the surroundings.

There’s a superb selection of characters to this story too. Not only were Victoria and Katie fantastic and I really enjoyed watching their friendship develop, but there were a cast of other really memorable characters too. I particularly liked Marco and of course – DANTE! Not all of the characters are good of course but I’ll leave it down to you to decide which are the ones to watch…

All in all I enjoyed pretty much everything about this story. I thought that the plot was strong, the relationships intriguing, the romance plentiful, the characters realistic and the setting ideal, but without a doubt the theme that shone through most for me was that of friendship. It made me grateful for the things that I have in life and made me think about living life to the full.
This is the perfect book to chase away those February blues and have you dreaming of sunnier climes. It’ll also leave you with the cheesiest grin imaginable. Feel-good fiction at its best.

A huge thank you to T.A. Williams & to Bliss Book Promotions are having me as part of the blog tour for What Happens in Tuscany. 

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T A WilliamsFirstly, my name isn’t T A. It’s Trevor. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, “Dirty Minds” one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn’t possibly comment. Ask my wife…
I’ve written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I’m enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.
I’ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador.
I’ve been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she’s right.

T.A. Williams  | Website | Goodreads | Twitter  |

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