Love Falls by Esther Freud
First published by Bloomsbury in 2007 (this edition by Bloomsbury in 2007)
Description: (from Goodreads)
From the author of Hideous Kinky comes a charming, surprising, and utterly irresistible tale of adolescent love and self-discovery.
When seventeen-year-old Lara accepts her father's invitation to accompany him to a Tuscan villa for the summer, she's both thrilled and nervous for the exotic holiday. To her delight, she soon discovers that the villa's closest neighbors are the glamorous Willoughbys, the teenaged brood of a British millionaire. Caught up in their torrential thirst for amusement—and snared by Kip Willoughby's dark, flirtatious eyes—Lara sets off on a summer adventure full of danger, first love, and untold consequences that will irrevocably change her life.
This book is one of the very few hardbacks I own. I think I got it as a present from my grandparents for my birthday back in 2007 (my birthday is in August and the book was published in July, so that is the only logical explanation as to why they got me a hardback). I hadn't actually read it until now, though don't ask my why not. I honestly do not know. I came across this book when my brother and I decided to have a clear out of our books (to give some of our kiddie books to charity), so I kept it with my other unread books.
Well, umm, I have mixed feelings about this book. I can't really say if I liked it or not. It was kind-of weird. It started off ok. We are introduced to Lara, the main character in this book, who lives with her slightly bohemian (??) mother. Her father, a university professor, invites her to travel with him to a villa in Tuscany, on his first trip out of London in years. She accepts and they travel to Italy by train, eventually arriving at her father's friend Caroline's villa. There, Lara and her father also meet up with the Willoughbys, the villa's closest neigbours.
The story focuses on all the relationships between the people in the area: Lara's rather awkward relationship with her father, Caroline's rather weird treatment of Lara, the relationships between the Willoughby children and their guests/spouses/spouses-to-be and, of course, the relationship between Lara and Kip, the youngest of the Willoughby lot. Yes, that's a lot of relationships to talk about. To the author's credit, you don't feel as if it's too much when you are reading it. I only realised it as I was writing these words.
The story was nothing too sophisticated. It was just how a girl of 17 grew up a little too quickly over the course of a few weeks over the summer, just because of her encounters with the other people in the novel. The character development was ok. Ms Freud told us more about some than the others, leaving me with a rather unclear picture of what was going on at some points in the book. I didn't particularly like Caroline or Roland (he's the husband of one of the Willoughby girls). Others I felt were there only because the author wanted to set a particular atmosphere - they didn't really contribute.
One thing I did like about this book was the descriptions of Tuscany. The villa and its surrounding area sounded beautiful and a little mysterious at times and I would love to see all that scenery myself. I particularly liked the descriptions of a beach the whole party visited one day! It sounded idyllic. I also liked the descriptions of Florence. I visited Florence for a day a few years ago (on a school trip) and loved it! Such a pretty place! The book did bring back quite a few happy memories!
All in all, I am not sure what to say about this book. I can't say I enjoyed it as much as I would have liked to, so I'd classify it as an ok read for me. It just might be the thing for you though! If you like the sound of it, then give it a try! (Forgot to mention that it's actually set in 1981, a week before Charles and Diana's wedding, and I read it right after their son got married to Kate Middleton! No, I didn't do it on purpose!)
Esther Freud is a British novelist. She is the daughter of painter Lucian Freud and granddaughter of the famous neurologist Sigmund Freud. Ms Freud has worked in television and theatre as both an actress and a writer. Her first novel is the semi-autobiographical ''Hideous Kinky'', which has also been made into a film starring Kate Winslet. Her other books include ''Peerless Flats'' and ''The Wild'', with ''Lucky Break'' being her latest novel. She is married to actor David Morrisey, with whom she has three children.
You can find out more about Esther Freud here: