Tuscan Holiday by Holly Chamberlin
Okay, I confess: I bought Tuscan Holiday on a whim during a Barnes & Noble visit when I couldn't find anything even slightly tempting to buy. That was in September, and I finally opened the book on Friday evening. And then I couldn't stop reading once I started! I read the book cover-to-cover when I should have been sleeping, as I definitely felt on Saturday when Maya wakened at 4 a.m. I absolutely love this charming, insightful book about a life-altering trip, having the courage to make decisions, and the mother/daughter relationship.
I don't want to say too much about the story because I want you to read this book for yourself!
Elizabeth Caldwell, never-married mother to Marina, purchased two tickets to Florence as a college graduation present for her daughter. Needless to say, Marina was more than a little disappointed to learn the second ticket was meant for Elizabeth and not Marina's fiance. Regardless, the mother and daughter do head to lovely Tuscany together.
Like with many mothers and daughters, Elizabeth and Marina are very different people, and their relationship is full of miscommunication and "I would do things so differently" judgments about each other's past and present decisions. During their Italian sojourn, though, they form a bond and a kind of appreciation and understanding of one another (and themselves, actually) that will last for the rest of their lives, regardless of what paths they each choose to follow.
And I'm hoping Chamberlin writes a sequel to outline where, exactly, Marina's life heads after this book ends. For now, though, since this is the first book I've read by her, I'm content to explore more of Chamberlin's existing works.
On a standard A to F grading scale, my personal opinion of Tuscan Holiday is an A-.