Book No. 3: One Summer Day in Rome
Author: Mark Lamprell
There are three parallel stories that take place over the course of a day and half in Rome. The stories are not related to one another, except that they occur in the same day and in the same city. [Do not want to give away too much]. The characters of the stories are also from three different generations: young adults, adults and elderlies, each presenting different stags of love. The characters are intriguing, their stories are intriguing but what is most fascinating about the book is the narrator…Rome herself. That’s right! The book is narrated by Rome, the city! I know, how very interesting!
Love is complicated; young love, adult love, old love, long lasting love, fragile love — all of it. It is so complicated and the act of pain goes hand in hand with it. You simply cannot have one without the other. I loved how we got to see the similarities in love in all three stages and how eventually, they all had the same message: Love is not perfect, do not look for perfection in it. Instead, accept it the best way it presents yourself, it might not be what you hoped for, expected but if it is the best your partner can offer, then you must acknowledge it. Love will hurt you and you will have to decide if you can move past the pain and continue with love. The topic of infidelity comes up in all three stages of love, I found that to be disappointedly interesting. I’ll have to leave it at that, the rest is up to you to read and see how you feel.
This is not a book of many great quotes, per se, despite the very well written novel that it is. In fact, my favorite quotes are at the beginning of each chapter, where each begin with a quote from a different author of a different book. These quote set the tone of the chapters. However, here are three that stood out to me as I was reading.
“The bones were arranged in elaborate decorative patterns and scenes to remind the living of the brevity of their passage on earth. And just in case the living missed the point, a sign translated into several languages was there to guide them: what you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be….”
“How do I know?
I have been here since the beginning.
I was here when Romulus killed Remus.
I was here when Augustus draped the city in marble.
I was here when Peter died upside-down for the love of his Christ.
I was here when Christina surrendered her kingdom for the love of her faith.
I am here now and will be here long after you leave.”
“..that in comparison to the daily activities of the rest of her family, what she was doing was trivial, that therefore she was trivial, that she was letting the side down. It all arrived in one brief but devastating epiphany.”
…and if I may indulge you in two of the chapter header quotes that are a particular favorite of mine:
“We always deceive ourselves twice about the people we love – first to their advantage, then to their disadvantage.” – Albert Camus, A Happy Death
“If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.” – Giuseppe Tomasi de Lampedusa, The Leopard
Yes, I do recommend this book, for anyone who loves romance, humor and perhaps most importantly, Rome. The book is full of details of the city, intertwined so clearly in the story line of the characters that you don’t read it as a guide or a how to, but the beautiful and very important backdrop that it is. I found myself often thinking “oh I’ve been there” or “Oh, I have to find that the next time I’m there” and then reminding myself to come back to the story.
It is a VERY quick read; possible in one shot if you have the time.
Until the next book, Happy Reading!