Saturday, September 7, 2013

Book Review: Three Months in Florence by Mary Carter

Anyone who has ever had the feeling that a relationship took a really bad turn will empathize with Lena Wallace, the heroine of this book. And Lena is a heroine. Dutifully becoming the hard working, supporting wife, she gives up her art career to raise a family. Her initial dreams of a honeymoon in Florence seem to move further away as her marriage settles into a routine of being a good wife and nurturing mother. Even when her husband gets a dream job of teaching history in Florence, her protests about moving the whole family there rather than letting her husband go by himself soon become meek and accepting. When her husband gets an extension of his stay in Florence, she again tries to gather up the strength to protest, but soon accepts her husband’s explanation that financially it just makes sense that she stay in the USA with the kids. 

Finding out that her husband has a mistress through a phone conversation with the mistress and incorrectly delivered flowers is enough to put every wife into a deep depression. But Lena develops a surprising strength and is determined to not let husband off that easy. She will now finally see Florence, maybe not exactly as a honeymooner, but certainly with her husband – who is already living in Florence with his mistress. 

What develops in Florence is Lena coming to terms with her marriage and her life overall. Initially traveling to confront her husband about his betrayal, Lena assesses her life and her marriage. She is able to think clearly what is best for her and her dreams and aspirations. With the background of the gorgeous Florence and freed from the daily rut of a 16 year marriage, Lena finds to herself for the first time in years. The ending of the story did surprise me initially, but makes sense when one sees Lena as a heroine, who takes charge of her life. 

This book is extremely well written, the initial reaction by Lena is as vivid as if the reader was present in the same room. The author manages to make the reader feel punched in the stomach by the discovery of the mistress, just like Lena does not know what hit her when she finds herself talking to her husband’s mistress. This is a well written book that keeps the reader turning pages wanting to find out just how Lena will decide on marriage, family and life.

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