The Sweet Lifeby Sharon Struth (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Series: The Sweet Life #1
Published by Kensington, Lyrical Press on September 19, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Contemporary, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Romance, Travel
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon • Book Depository • Goodreads
I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
In Italy, the best attractions are always off the beaten path . . .
Mamie Weber doesn’t know why she survived that terrible car accident five years ago. Physically, she has only a slight reminder—but emotionally, the pain is still fresh. Deep down she knows her husband would have wanted her to embrace life again. Now she has an opportunity to do just that, spending two weeks in Tuscany reviewing a tour company for her employer’s popular travel guide series. The warmth of the sun, the centuries-old art, a villa on the Umbrian border—it could be just the adventure she needs.
But with adventure comes the unexpected . . . like discovering that her entire tour group is made up of aging ex-hippies reminiscing about their Woodstock days. Or finding herself drawn to the guide, Julian, who is secretly haunted by a tragedy of his own, and seems to disapprove any time she tries something remotely risky—like an impromptu scooter ride with a local man.
As they explore the hilltop towns of Tuscany, Mamie knows that when this blissful excursion is over, she’ll have to return to reality. But when you let yourself wander, life can take some interesting detours . . .
“Struth has a gift for layering stories within stories while keeping them all connected.”—Library Journal
“The plot is refreshing and will definitely keep the reader turning page after page.”—Fresh Fiction, SHARE THE MOON
“Sharon Struth writes a good story about love and loss. She knows her characters and has a path she wants them to take.”—Eye on Romance
Two wounded souls discover each other and begin to heal in picturesque Italy in the delightful travel novel, The Sweet Life by Sharon Struth. Following thirty-nine year-old Mamie Weber as she travels to Tuscany for a work assignment, which is a big leap for someone who has barely left her house in the last five years since a devastating car accident nearly ended her life. While tasked with secretly reviewing the tour company that she has to talk her way into due to a ticket transfer mix up–which just so happens to be full of welcoming people who’d attended Woodstock in the late sixties–Mamie takes the opportunity to see the Italian countryside as a new beginning, and a way to get some of the old her back. But she didn’t bargain for the handsome tour guide Julian Gregory to catch her interest, or for his haunted eyes to pull her in while he tries to keep her safe from her wild sight-seeing ideas. Who knew that a two-week overseas trip could change two strangers lives so dramatically, so fast?
As Mamie is taken under the wings of a lovely husband and wife on the tour, as well as Julian’s watchful and knowledgeable ones, Italy vibrantly comes to life under Sharon Struth’s lovely descriptions of the sights, sounds, people, and glorious food that populate the Tuscan region. I felt as if I was traveling along with the group as the made their way from walled cities to towers, to vineyards and churches, finally winding up in a restored villa as they cap off their two-week journey. Not only do you get a great perspective on Mamie and Julian’s narratives since The Sweet Life is told in their points of view, but the secondary characters are well-developed and fleshed out. I really loved how unique and colorful the members of the tour group were, as well as the locals we met along the way were just as I imagined.
I give The Sweet Life a five out of five. Mamie and Julian’s journey is one of overcoming loss to find happiness again, and I really enjoyed their blossoming romance throughout the book. The writing was well-paced and the descriptions of the Tuscan country side and sights of interest made me yearn for a trip ASAP. The Sweet Life is a great travel log with a sweet romance throughout, wrapped up with a fun ode to the music of Woodstock mixed in. I really enjoyed this book, and I definitely recommend it to readers who love romance with a little bit of angst with more mature characters.
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About Sharon Struth
Sharon Struth believes you’re never too old to pursue a dream. The Hourglass, her debut novel, is a finalist in the National Readers’ Choice Awards for Best first Book, and her Blue Moon Lake Novels include the bestseller, Share the Moon.
When she’s not working, she and her husband happily sip their way through the scenic towns of the Connecticut Wine Trail, travel the world, and enjoy spending time with their precious pets and two grown daughters. She writes from the friendliest place she’s ever lived, Bethel, Connecticut. For more information, including where to find her published essays, please visit www.sharonstruth.com or visit her blog, Musings from the Middle Ages & More.
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Sharon Struth’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for THE SWEET LIFE:
Tuesday, September 19th: Books & Bindings