Book Review: The Lovers’ Guide to Rome by Mark Lamprell
The blurb likens this book to the movie Love, Actually, and although I wouldn’t totally agree with that, I do agree it was a light and easy read with an enjoyable rom com/chick lit feel about it.
It follows the story of three couples, all at different stages of their lives. The young falling in love at first sight couple, Alice and August; the middle aged married couple contemplating adultery and divorce, Alec and Meg; and the older sister-in-laws and best friends barely coping with their loss couple, Constance and Lizzie.
Not surprisingly, I thought the characters with the most depth were the oldest, Constance and Lizzie, and their plot was the one that engaged me the most. As I pointed out, the book was a light fun read, but they did have some moments that brought tears to my eyes.
I enjoyed all three couples and all three plots though, which is half the battle when it comes to this type of multi-character book. Often there is one plot or character that irritates and makes you want to skip.
Meg was the closest anyone comes to an antagonist, but even she has lots of redeeming qualities that made me cheer her on. (I especially liked the fact she was Australian!)
I could almost say that Rome itself was the only character I disliked. Not Rome the setting. I had no problem with Lamprell’s descriptions and use of the city. Rome’s gorgeous (and sometimes seedy) landscapes and peoples were a delight to read about. It was the ‘Rome as a narrator’ idea I was wary of. It screamed pretension and gimmick. Luckily, Lamprell managed to use the idea sparingly enough that I wasn’t put off completely.
The other ‘gimmick’ the book used is the one where the characters cross paths and are linked in some way (like many other books of the genre). However, here I did think this was underdone too much. The characters’ associations seemed to be of little consequence and I would consider all three plots as stand alone.
They’re small negatives, and I really liked this book and I would recommend it. I’ll also be on the lookout for more of the author’s work.
A solid 4/5