SUMMER IN TUSCANY
Elizabeth Adler, , read by Celeste Lawson. . Blackstone Audiobooks, $49.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7861-2510-4
When Gemma Jericho learns that her feisty Italian mother has inherited land in her Tuscan hometown, she reluctantly makes the pilgrimage to assess the new family compound. What awaits this over-worked single mother in the tiny, sun-baked village of Bella Piacere is the stuff of dreams: a band of friendly locals who unfurl their red-checked tablecloths for her welcome feast, a crumbling but stately villa that surpasses her expectations by a dozen rooms and even the possibility of knee-weakening romance. The audio version of Adler's dramatic tale breathes new life into the sumptuous backdrop and colorful cast of characters. Narrator Lawson is equally convincing whether she's channeling a cynical Manhattan teenager or a middle-aged Italian innkeeper—and this is no small feat given Adler's dialogue-heavy, regionally accented prose. The one weak spot in the performance is Lawson's depiction of Gemma Jericho's mother, Nonna, whose tired, gravelly voice hardly matches her spirited actions. Otherwise, this audio book will provide a delightful escape from the real world, where surprise inheritances rarely have the capacity to inspire such widespread excitement and transformation.
Reviewed on: 10/06/2003