Rome, a city that like no other has managed to, even after 12 years, remain dear to my heart. Perhaps it is because it was one of our first proper city breaks, by which I mean, that we had purposely decided to book a trip and traverse the city seeking out all the sights, rather than just stumbling into a city for the day, attaching it to a different trip we were taking.
Maybe it is because Rome is unique – it is the only city I have ever visited where the old proudly stands next to the new; not competing with it but complimenting it. Nowhere else would you see mopeds flying by an ancient monument, that was completed back in 80AD, where toga-touting Romans are calling out to silly tourists in the hope to make a small fortune by having their photo taken together all whilst no-one blinks an eyelid. It really is quite an impressive sight.
To be honest, we spent an entire afternoon simply sitting at a cafe on the roadside watching the madness unfold, and the most impressive thing, not one person lost their temper, quite an achievement I feel for the sometimes stereotypical Italian personality.
Just in case anyone is interested – the name of the cafe was Gran Caffe Rossi Martini, and at the time, back in 2005, all the guide books highly recommended this place, and as long as it has not changed I still would to this day (although clearly a trip back to the Italian capital is required – purely for research purposes of course!).
And, I will be truthful, the desire to return to this enchanting city has only increased after reading Mark Lamprell’s new novel about three groups of people, all of whom it would seem have a special connection to the Eternal City.
Why Everyone Visiting Rome Should Read One Summer Day in Rome
People do say, that life collides, that everything happens for a reason and that we cannot control fate. Well perhaps that is true and if so, Mark Lamprell’s latest novel highlights the essence of fate perfectly.
Alice, an art student from New York feels slightly out of place in her current world. Mum, a highflying lawyer doesn’t understand why her daughter fails to succeed like the rest of the family and is bamboozled by her outlook. In a last-ditch attempt to control her daughter she introduces her to an up-and-coming bright spark from her law firm and is quietly grateful that they hit it off and move in together. Nothing like a bit of crazy-mother-control to send you packing at the first opportunity I suppose.
Meg and Alec, are a successful couple based in LA who’s relationship has taken a nose-dive. Alec is completely consumed by work whilst Meg has started one of those mummy-type blogs that see her laying their life bare for all to read about on the internet. Her latest article idea, however, has them packing their bags and heading off to Rome on the off-chance that they will find a specific tile-maker who can recreate a very distinctive coloured tile that she once procured from a little hotel located in one of Rome’s famous Piazzas. So obsessed with this tile and how it will look when they finish renovating their home, she is unable to see how her infatuation with a little blue tile is destroying her relationship.
Then there is Connie and Lizzie, sent off to Rome by Connie’s husband Henry, who has specifically requested to go to the Italian capital. A strange request as well considered that poor old Henry has passed away. Both ladies are emotional, understandably so, after all, one is mourning the loss of her beloved, the other the loss of her brother and to add to their misery when they arrive in the Eternal city memories flare and, for a while at least, it seems that history and jealousy is intent of bubbling to the surface once again.
One Summer Day in Rome however, is more than just a novel about the lives of five individuals; it also highlights some great places to visit if you are ever in the city. Likewise, hidden within the novel are many little gems that, if you simply wandered Rome without the aid of a guidebook you would miss. For example, how many people know about the geometry in Vatican Square or why you should head to Ponte Sant’Angelo just as the sun is setting. Even if you are not swept up into the lives of the main characters, reading this book ahead of visiting Rome will definitely give you a few more things to add to that list of must-see’s whilst there.
Our Final Thoughts on One Summer Day in Rome
For me, this is one of those books that as soon as I picked it up I knew it would only be a matter of hours before I would be closing the back cover. It was a novel I consumed in a matter of hours, not only because I wanted to uncover more about Rome that I had missed on our first visit, but I also wanted to know what was going to happen to the five main characters and how their lives would all become entwined, if at all.
This is most definitely a beach-worthy summer read and one that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a bit of fact mixed up within a story of fiction.
Have you read One Summer Day in Rome or any other books set in Rome that you would recommend?