Women In Sunlight
I’m not sure if it’s a brilliant idea or a brilliantly evil method of self-torture to read a book like this during a pandemically-induced world-wide travel ban. Frances Mayes has a beautiful talent for creating vivid images in the minds of her readers, thus transporting us to a very specific place in time and geography. You may have read her other works, she is most known for her novel Under the Tuscan Sun, which I understand spurred many a move to the very desirable part of Italy she fell in love with and shared with us. While that book was autobiographical, this one is full of completely lovable and totally inspiring fictional characters. I say, it’s probably a really good thing we are not able to pick up and fly to Italy, because other than working with books, I have always wanted to live in Italy, France or England. I often dream of packing only what I can carry and setting off, only to be heard from in writing as I bask in the glory of my new life in a centuries old, totally romantic house in some idyllic town with crashing waves and seaside cafes and accents I can swoon at everyday.
That’s exactly what happens in Women in Sunlight. Told from the point of view of four different women in a very unique style, we get to live vicariously through the experience of living in San Rocco, a beautiful, artistic village rife with incredible food, wine and art. It sounds like total paradise, in close proximity to countless other heavenly destinations both widely known and hardly mentioned elsewhere. It’s almost impossible to get through a chapter without mentally planning a trip. Or a menu for that matter! I had a lengthy grocery list and travel wish list by the time I finished the book.
It’s not all “Travel Italy” though. There’s a real story here, several in fact. Mayes’ characters are developed as fully as her landscapes and recipes are, with full views of the bit of their lives we are given access to. The book is about fresh starts, daring to try what you may have given up long ago, following the path you need to be on and putting your needs first. It’s empowering, inspiring, easy to read and perfect to completely escape into. When we are all able to fly away on holidays again, I would definitely recommend Women in Sunlight as your vacay read, but since we are in a time of living every moment where we are, this book will allow you to travel without moving.