Ayra always wanted to be an Art Historian. She saw herself flitting between galleries, talking Michelangelo and Dali with glamorous ease. At twenty–nine, life has decided to make her an underpaid investment banker juggling an eccentric family, a fading career and a long–distance relationship that is becoming a light-year one.
On a monsoon day in June, she is suddenly sent packing from Mumbai to Tuscany to buy a vineyard for a star client. What should have been a four day trip turns into a two week treasure hunt that finds her in the middle of midnight wine deals, dodgy vintners, rolling Tuscan hills, a soap opera family and one playboy millionaire who is looking to taste more than just the wine.
Towards the end she finds that the road to true happiness is almost as elusive as that perfect glass of Chianti.
~ Synopsis from goodreads
Sigh! I don’t know what to make of this book. Technically this book is great and it ticks all the correct boxes in my review criteria.
- Slightly unusual story – check
- Imperfect characters – check
- Focus on self growth and not over dependence on hero – check
- Italy (Florence and Tuscany – my dream destinations), art (Modigliani!), wine – check, check, check!
Everything was just right and in just the right quantities. It’s like the perfect wine, only I was in the mood for beer, I guess?
I’ve been preoccupied with a lot of stuff going on in my day-to-day life that I didn’t really need an escape into another life – something that I primarily look for in books. Probably a grittier thriller or mystery would have absorbed me a lot more in my current frame of mind than a light fluffy love cum self-discovery story.
Also, I think I have overdosed a little on the travel-oriented books. Bucket List of a Traveloholic with all its travel descriptions was great but I think after reading about real-life escapades, the fictional ones in this book didn’t really do it for me. I have added Siena as a place to visit on my bucket list though as a result of reading this book.
So, yes, the travel and wine part of the book didn’t quite work out for me. However, objectively speaking, these sections are good. The author has a good way with words when she is setting up the scene. People looking to travel vicariously through fiction will love this book.
The romance is also not all that hot. Throughout the book, I never felt that the hero was the right person for Ayra. Their connect is patchy at best. I am also not very fond of moody guys who blow hot and cold and leave the heroine guessing.
What I did like is the emphasis the book places on relationships. In the beginning of the book, Ayra is a tense workaholic who has little to no time for her family, friends, and fiancé. By the end of the story, she is someone who realizes the value of relationships and prioritizes what’s important in her life and what she wants. This aspect of the book struck a chord. I tend to get obsessive over stuff and overdo things and this book is a nice reminder that it’s not a good way to function.
The second half of the story once Ayra leaves Italy and comes back home is the meat of the novel. Ayra has lost everything she values most, and the soul-searching she goes through while she decides on the next course of action form the best part of the book.
Overall, I liked this book a lot, maybe not as much as I expected to, but that was because I wasn’t in the correct frame of mind to enjoy it. Looking objectively also, I think this book could have been edited down a bit to quicken up the pace a bit. Still a fairly entertaining read though.
Huge thanks to the author for sending over a signed copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.