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Publisher's Summary

By the best-selling author of Under the Tuscan Sun, and written with Frances Mayes’s trademark warmth, heart, and delicious descriptions of place, food, and friendship, Women in Sunlight is the story of four American strangers who bond in Italy and change their lives over the course of an exceptional year.

She watches from her terrazza as the three American women carry their luggage into the stone villa down the hill. Who are they, and what brings them to this Tuscan village so far from home? An expat herself and with her own unfinished story, she can’t help but question: will they find what they came for?

Kit Raine, an American writer living in Tuscany, is working on a biography of her close friend, a complex woman who continues to cast a shadow on Kit’s own life. Her work is waylaid by the arrival of three women - Julia, Camille, and Susan - all of whom have launched a recent and spontaneous friendship that will uproot them completely and redirect their lives. Susan, the most adventurous of the three, has enticed them to subvert expectations of staid retirement by taking a lease on a big, beautiful house in Tuscany. Though novices in a foreign culture, their renewed sense of adventure imbues each of them with a bright sense of bravery, a gusto for life, and a fierce determination to thrive. But how? With Kit’s friendship and guidance, the three friends launch themselves into Italian life, pursuing passions long-forgotten - and with drastic and unforeseeable results.

©2018 Frances Mayes (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“The pleasurable descriptions of colors and tastes and various Italian tourist destinations, plus the poetry written by the writer character, the gardens planted by the gardening character, and the handmade paper made by the paper-making character, etc., are enough to keep this party going all year long.” (Kirkus)

"Whether in the South or in Italy, Frances Mayes takes us home to a lush, vivid landscape where all senses are engaged. Women in Sunlight, her compelling new novel, transports us emotionally as well, as we watch a cast of memorable women maneuver their lives through many transitions. This novel is a great exploration of process: of writing, of cooking, and most importantly, of living." (Jill McCorkle, author of Life After Life)

"Frances Mayes’s novel about the feasts and friendships of four American women in the Tuscan countryside is a joy for the senses and an awakening for us all to the possibilities in our lives. Women in Sunlight is one of those novels you’ll want to linger in, to leave open on your bedside table, to read each page again and again." (Nancy Thayer, author of A Nantucket Wedding)

“The beloved Frances Mayes seems to own the Italian sun. Her first Italian-set novel is a lovely and intimate journey of friendship, loss, and hope set in the eternal beauty of Tuscan countryside. All of Ms. Mayes signature insights are here...there is healing and forgiveness that only a sojourn to Italy can provide. Che bella!” (Adriana Trigiani, best-selling author of Kiss Carlo)

“Fans will be delighted that Mayes again puts them Under the Tuscan Sun, where American writer Kit Raine is now living…. Sun and fun, food and friendship - you can’t go wrong.” (Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Enchanting

At first a little confusing as to who is who with whom and which back story. The book never designates who is thinking or talking and it flips from one perspective to another without ceremony or a change in voice. By the end they are all my friends, which is a major theme.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Disappointing

This book was a waste of time and money. The author couldn't seem to make up her mind as to whether she wanted to write a story or poetry. She spent too much describing everything to ad nauseam.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Didn't want it to end.

Would you consider the audio edition of Women in Sunlight to be better than the print version?

I can't say yet, if I would prefer the audio version, over the print version. My print version is supposed to be delivered today.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Villa Assunta took center stage for me, as my favorite character. The stone house seemed to have a life of it's own and the others rotated around it. It was lovely to glean information about the villa's past and follow the transformation of it and it's gardens.

What does Kimberly Farr bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I enjoyed the differentiation in the multiple southern accents. That said, I'm always disappointed to listen to a Frances Mayes book, that doesn't feature her sweet voice. There really is no substitute, after having listened to her many books about living in Tuscany.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The most moving part of the book, was when Julia decides to jump off the cliff. It was such a clear representation of literally overcoming the many fears that hold us back in life.

Any additional comments?

Well worth the "listen." I'm re-listening now to enjoy the story again and pick up anything I missed. My hard copy should be arriving soon and then I will enjoy that, as well.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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very confusing

got very lost listening to this book. sometimes completely bored and other times it was nice. no big thrills

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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inspiring

Sometimes hard to follow but overall a great story of women's courage and fulfilment. Wonderful!

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I really wanted this to be better

I had high hopes for this book, but find I'm in agreement with a reviewer on Amazon - much better versions of this storyline were written by Elizaveth Von Arnim (The Enchanted April), A S Byatt (Possession), and by Frances Mayes herself in Under the Tuscan Sun, from which she freely borrows. She excels in the sensual observation of beautiful surroundings and the delights of the table, and in her memoirs she has occasionally succeeded at self reflection, but plotting and character shortcomings in this novel were such an obstacle to my enjoyment that halfway through, I realized I really didn't care what happened to these superficial, obnoxious, narcissistic women and their even less dimensional men. If you're looking for an unintentional social critique rather than an engaging story, she's managed to capture cringeworthy American behavior abroad rather well.

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What a joy!

This book was pure joy from start to finish! I’m not ready to let it go so I will listen again and savor all the details and beauty. Well done!

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Could not get through it.

I love listening to books. I have a pretty long drive and can really get into stories. I got so sick of hearing about the food they were going to prepare and/or eat and where they were walking in Italy and the flowers and on and on and in. I usually make myself finish a book but could not get through this one. The subject was quite compelling to me since I could relate to these women but the story just never gelled for me.

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Loved it

I loved hearing the Italian. So lyrical. The food sounded divine. I wish there was a place to escape and begin a wonderful creative friendly magical life.

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I loved it

this book struck s chord as 3 older women chose a different path from retirement home. great characters. great discussions on art. food, music. and gardens. didn't want the book to end. Bravo