Tell Me Something by Adele Parks

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Tell Me Something by Adele Parks

Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A brilliant summer read about what happens when you get (almost) everything you ever dreamed of, but it turns out you were dreaming of the wrong things all along.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 480 Date: May 2008
Publisher: Michael Joseph Ltd
ISBN: 978-0718153069

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I think maybe Elizabeth has been reading one of the same management books as I have recently. She is certainly on board with those ideas of goal setting, focussing on what you want and making it happen. When she was fourteen years old she went to Italy for the first time and was so taken with the place that she decided then and there that her life's goals would be: find an Italian man, marry said man, move to Italy and have lots of dark-haired bambini. A girl with a plan, that's what I like to see. And, a few chapters into the book, she's also managed to follow through on many of the goals. She and Roberto have been married for years, but are just now moving to Italy together. The bambini have proved elusive until now, but since test after test at the doctor's have revealed no reason why they can't conceive, Elizabeth is determined that if there's one place they can overcome their unexplained infertility it will be in glorious Italy, where they can have a fresh start, escape the stresses and strains of London life and sink into parenthood as if it's the most natural thing in the world.

That in itself would be a nice book. Not a lot of a plot, but when the writing's this good, and the descriptions this beautiful, you don't need much else. That's just the first 50 pages, though, and there's plenty more drama to come as the couple move in with Roberto's mother and help to turn the family business around. As Roberto becomes more and more engrossed in the bar, and Elizabeth becomes more and more obsessed with her inability to get pregnant (if that's possible…she's always been rather obsessed about this) things start to change and Elizabeth begins to realise that some things really are better in the imagination. It reminded me of that line from Desperate Housewives where an unhappy Gabrielle says Carlos gave her everything she ever wanted, but it turned out she wanted all the wrong things. The arrival of the dashing young American, EFL teacher Chuck, and the beautiful young Italian, Roberto's ex Ana-Maria, only add to the confusion with exciting, if occasionally predictable, consequences.

Without trying to make this sound too much like a beef-stew, the book has a meaty story-line, some wholesome characters with both juicy indiscretions and tender moments, and is a chunky book that will take you a reasonable length of time to get through and will fill up a bit of space in your bookcase. The descriptions of Italy are full of flavour (and you get the impression the author has actually visited the region, which always helps) and the sex scenes sizzling. I'd love to see a sequel that picks up where the epilogue finishes because it sounded like there was a whole other story waiting to be told.

The book appealed to me because it seemed real. At times is was raw, and times funny, and at times just so, so honest. I liked the background characters – Alison, Paolina, the evil, interfering Raffaella – who were just as interesting as Elizabeth and Roberto at times. I don't think Elizabeth always acted her age, but then maybe that's because I saw her as old(er) and she saw herself as still relatively young, and I didn't really understand the significance of the title, but this is just nit picking, because I couldn't fault the content or style of the book. This is the perfect book to read on a beach, or even in the garden on a British summer's day though if you too are currently desperately longing for a baby I don't know whether you'd find it reassuringly familiar or a little too close to home.

Many thanks to the publishers for sending this book to Bookbag.

Another brilliant beef-stew read is An Offer You Can't Refuse by Jill Mansell whereas for those after a further taste of Italy, The Gypsy Tearoom or The Food of Love would fit the bill nicely.

Buy Tell Me Something by Adele Parks at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tell Me Something by Adele Parks at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Tell Me Something by Adele Parks at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tell Me Something by Adele Parks at Amazon.com.


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