Nine months after getting the all clear from her doctors, Mia, who is in remission for lymphoma, steps off a plane in Florence with nothing but a one way ticket, her painting supplies and a whole lot of emotional baggage. While her body survived cancer, the battle with the illness has left Mia plagued by nightmares, overcome with fear, and deeply depressed. Unable to paint like she used to, Mia sees Tuscany, the home of art, as a fresh start and the chance to go on a journey to hopefully reconnect with the artist locked inside her. What she did not except to discover was a gorgeous Italian boy named Luca who makes her feel something she never thought she could again.
With Luca’s smile, his sense of humour, and his sunny optimism, the world starts to look a lot brighter for Mia. As she opens up and begins to let Luca into her life and her heart, art begins to flow from her fingertips again. With the help of her new housemate Stella, Mia gets a job as a nanny and with the twin boys she cares for, begins to laugh, love, and enjoy her life in a way she hasn’t for a long, long time. However, a part of her is still holding on to the past, and despite being in love with both Luca and Florence, her fears of the cancer returning and the unsettling nightmares won’t leave her alone.
On a romantic holiday away with Luca, Mia begins to feel sick, and terrified of what it could mean, she pushes Luca away for his protection and ends the relationship. The results will change her life forever in ways she can’t even begin to anticipate, but by the time she’s finally ready to embrace a future with Luca, an unexpected tragedy strikes – can Mia beat all the odds to start the new life she wants so desperately?
Brimming with a romance that makes you sigh in envy, Luca is the man dreams are made of and he will leave you smiling on every page. With patience and a positive outlook, he brings Mia out of her darkness and helps her heal. You will be captivated by their love and when the final twist comes, you will be eagerly flicking through to make sure the ending is a happy one.
The Florentine Bridge is the ideal book for readers looking for some escape this weekend. If you are having the holiday blues, Vanessa Carnevale expertly makes you feel as if you are stepping off the plane with Mia and taking in the sights and sounds of Florence. With a hint of language and descriptions through the eyes of an artist, the landscapes of Tuscany jump of the page vividly and you are swept up in the rich culture of Italy. With art as an important theme, the works of Michelangelo and Botticelli are woven throughout Mia’s story and you go with her on an artistic journey as well as a emotional one.
As well as a great get-away-beach-read, it is also a inspirational one and if you are feeling down or lost, it’s a book to pick up and take home. Filled with motivation, The Florentine Bridge is about letting go of the past and walking into the future with an open mind. It takes fear and moulds it into hope, illustratrating the importance of embracing what has happened in your past, and letting it change you for the better. This book will make you realise the importance of living in the moment, to stay passionate about the things and people you love, and ‘prendiamo la vita come viene’ – to take life as it comes.
Vanessa Carnevale is a freelance journalist based in Melbourne, Australia, who has contributed to The Green Parent (UK), Women’s Health and Fitness, The Herald Sun, Italy magazine, and Happy Child, among others. She also served as the publisher of Mindful Parenting for over two years. The Florentine Bridge is her first novel.
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