11 January 2010
Book Review: A Single to Rome by Sarah Duncan
Guy has a little flat in Rome that he needs doing up because he needs to sell it, and Natalie decides to take a risk and live out there for a while as she's got nothing to hold her back at home. But Natalie doesn't bank of falling in love with Rome and making the friends she does as well. Will Natalie ever want to leave the glorious Rome and Guy forever, or is it back to a lonely reality for Natalie?
This is the first book by author Sarah Duncan that I have read, so I went into it without any real expectations of her writing. It's actually her 4th book overall, and Sarah has just had her latest book, Kissing Mr Wrong published too. I adored the cover for A Single to when I first saw it, thinking that it looked feminine and quite eye-catching, and so I hoped the story would be just as good. I like books that travel around as I find it interesting to read about other places, and therefore this sounded perfect for me.
The book begins with the breakdown of the relationship between Natalie and Michael, and I felt Duncan did a really job of writing these scenes. You can feel Natalie's heartbreak and upset with her, and as you read it, you get the real sense that Duncan understands what Natalie is going through to have written it like this because the emotion does feel very raw at times. I liked how realistic it seemed though because it makes you root for Natalie even more and want it to work out for her. Sure, she has her run of bad luck for a little while in the book, and scenes where she is trying to make her ex Michael jealous and quite amusing, but I was eager for the book to move to Rome.
It did take a little while but this is definitely where the book really got going for me. Duncan has definitely done her research when it comes to Rome and I felt like the city was coming alive for me as I read. Not only has she got the geographical locations across Rome correct, but she's done her historical research too because there's lot of little bits of information woven into the story about certain landmarks across Rome that Natalie and Guy visit, and it was a joy to read these scenes. Duncan describes Rome beautifully and I could imagine all the sights in my mind, and this is because of Duncan's excellent writing and descriptive style. Little bits of Italian language are also used, and just add to the authenticity of the Rome scenes, but there are translations and it isn't too complicated so you can try to understand the words used!
In terms of characters, I again think Duncan has done a really good job. Natalie is very likeable and the readers will want things to work out for her because she's a good leading lady for the book. She's believable, you can feel her pain because of Duncan's writing, and I enjoyed going on the journey of this book with Natalie. Michael is not a nice character, but then again he isn't supposed to be! You can see hints of why Natalie loves him but it's definitely Guy that is the hero of the book. He doesn't pop up much until the last third or so of the book but I loved his character, and I enjoyed the little mystery story about him that isn't revealed fully until the end.
I really did enjoy this book, and it was made all the better for the brilliant descriptions of Rome throughout. I enjoyed the little facts dotted throughout the story and I felt that just enough information was given for the reader to be able to imagine the place in their own mind, and I think Sarah Duncan has done a great job writing the Rome scenes. The characters are all great and ones that you can care about, and the twists and turns along the way keep the plot fresh and the reader interested. I found that after a slightly slow start (for me anyway), the book picked up a lot as soon as the story moved to Rome and I couldn't stop reading as I wanted to find out what was going to happen to Natalie next. A very well written book, and one I can definitely recommend!