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4.0 out of 5 starsA trans-Atlantic delight
Reviewed in the United States on August 14, 2019
This was one of those books I found on my Kindle and had no memory of buying it or why. I had a 10-hour trans-Atlantic flight to fill in so I started reading and was probably halfway to Toronto before I looked up again. Because I couldn’t even remember the blurb that must have enticed me to buy it, I had no preconceptions about the plot or characters of this novel. Nor could I guess where it was going to go at any time. And that’s the best kind of reading experience, isn’t it?
This book has great potential: mostly interesting characters, a fascinating era, wonderful settings, and two storylines that weave together well. (It's important to note that I don't typically like "time-traveling" storylines, but this one worked for me—probably because it's not another mysterious-letter-left-in-a-musty-suitcase tale.)
I thoroughly enjoyed "traveling" through Italy while reading The Invitation. The protagonist, Hal, is an interesting character, albeit a lazy one. The writing was a little abundant, and the story could've been pared a bit. There are some contrivances, but this is fiction, right? Some of the lesser characters steal the show: the photographer Aubrey, the Countess, even the drunken film star are well-crafted. War, cast against the cost to family, hits true.
All in all, The Invitation was a solid read on a chilly June evening after doing too much yardwork and being unable to move.
I'm used to Lucy Foley's easy-to-ready, not-much-depth, then-there-were-none murder mysteries and was looking for another light read. However, I was very pleasantly surprised by the depth and character development of this book. I enjoyed the different perspectives and time traveling, and thought the book flowed quickly. I enjoyed reading about the different towns and backstories of the characters that led to their development. Of course there were far-reaching plot points but I thought it was a nice story with a unique plot.
4.0 out of 5 starsGood mid-century historical romance
Reviewed in the United States on September 4, 2016
Very engaging, well-written characters and good historical content from the 1930s to 50s. The writing could use a little polish or better editing (lots of word repetition in a short space of text, for example), but I enjoyed the book a lot.
5.0 out of 5 starsDuring the reading of this book you will fall in love with the characters and with the beautiful places.
Reviewed in the United States on October 11, 2016
I bought this book because I was planning to be in Liguria, Italy and on the Italian Riviera during part of a European vacation. I had no idea how much I would enjoy the rather unusual, very interesting story told by Lucy Foley. The book moved about in time as the characters told their stories and in the process became very real. This story reminds us that loss, guilt, regret, the search for redemption and the need for acceptance and love are universal experiences. I enjoyed the book very much.
It took me a while to get into the story... And to like Hal, the main character. But at some point I fell for him & the adventure, the time period, the back stories & the story within the story... I enjoyed the coast of Italy detailed... And I enjoyed this book.
This is by far one of the loveliest novels I've ever read. I am always intrigued when details involving much earlier years are involved. I am captivated by novels that take me places - especially abroad - where I've never been. All characters in this story are fascinating. Throughout it all, however, was the author's writing style. I am a huge 'highlighter' of passages - this novel may just have had the highest number yet. Sometimes finding the right words for my reviews is difficult - especially when some of the reviews by other authors took words out of my mouth. I can only come up with mere words like evocative, exquisite, sultry, alluring, sensual, heartwrenching - and many of the words pertain not just to the deep feelings of the two main characters, but to the atmosphere and geography. I share but a few of my favorite passages to hopefully convey the 'feeling' of this exquisite story:
Hal can make out a vivid strip of houses, each painted a different colour: ochre, sepia, rust red, dusky pink and, occasionally, a slice of blue; the colours of earth and sky. They are like the bright spines of so many books crammed together onto a bookshelf; a quiet spectacle.
Fame, he thinks, has a great deal to answer for. It rewards behavior that should otherwise be stamped out long before adulthood.
The cobbled walkway up to the town is fringed by an embarrassment of flowers: reds and pinks, yellow and purple and white; colours that might never be put together by design. But nature, who knows nothing of convention, has the audacity of a genius.
We all have different selves, I think, that we become, or promote, depending on the company.
Rome is full of ghosts, too - centuries of them. There is perhaps a stronger concentration of souls here than in any other place in the world: it is not the Eternal City for nothing. But the important thing is that they aren't HIS ghosts.
You will become immersed in this journey, do not miss it.
Reviewed in the United States on February 17, 2020
It started In Span and their war and moved quickly to Rome after WW2. The characters are diverse and some are a little sad. It certainly gives an inside look at the entertainment industry showing that what you see is not what you think. I enjoyed it but, it was really a little weird.