It's the first Diamond Friday! And this feature has been a long time coming. This time last year I contacted Lucy Diamond and asked if she would be happy to be involved with a week dedicated to her and she was incredibly supportive. I was delighted- I am such a fan of Lucy's writing and I wanted to share my excitement with the world! However, life got in the way for me and it has taken until now to organise what has now become Diamond Fridays- one day a week where Books with Bunny shares reviews, author features and giveaways, exclusively about the shiniest gem in the jewellery box of authors, Lucy Diamond. I was fortunate to meet Lucy recently (read about it here )and I'm pleased to say she was just as wonderful as her books.
One Night in Italy introduces us to a group of adults attending evening classes to learn Italian. The unlikely group quickly form a strong bond, and as they in turn face challenges in their personal lives, they will come to rely on the friendships more than they could ever have guessed. Catherine finds herself facing a new life alone as her children leave for university and her husband calls time on their marriage- but she soon discovers her ex is capable of things she never believed possible. Anna is building up the courage to search for the Italian father she has never met. And Sophie, the class tutor, is reluctantly back in South Yorkshire after travelling the world, unsure of what she wants from life.
I found myself completely and utterly swept away by this book. The characters were a diverse bunch, at different stages of life, yet I could relate to them all, which I think proves that Lucy Diamond has an incredibly rare talent for creating characters with depth. Even the fringe characters are well crafted and left me as a reader wanting to know more about their lives.
The Sheffield setting also appealed to me-I came to University here in 1998 and have never been away for more than a fortnight since. Lucy Diamond definitely manages to capture the unique vibe of the city- 'the world's largest village' as it is sometimes referred to. Knowledge of Sheffield isn't necessary to enjoy the book, but I do think it added to the pleasure I got from reading it. I felt like I was in on a secret knowing all the pubs and coffee shops mentioned (which makes it sound like I have a much more active social life than I do in reality).
The only downside for me was that it ended when it did. It isn't a short book at almost 500 pages, but I feel One Night in Italy is crying out for a sequel. I want to know more about these characters! Please don't let this be the end!
If you like fast paced books of interwoven lives, with both drama and humour, then this one is perfect for you.
One Night in Italy is out now, published by Pan Macmillan.
Next Friday I will be reviewing Lucy's bestseller The Beach Café and if you would like to win a copy then enter the rafflecopter giveaway below (UK only- entrants from outside the UK will sadly be disqualified).
a Rafflecopter giveaway