It Happened in Tuscany
#1 Best Seller — Denver Post
IPPY Bronze Medal — Independent Publisher Book Awards contest
Selected for the Book Showcase by BlueInk Reviews—Booklist Magazine
Mencini’s crisp, concise writing style works nicely. … all of Mencini‘s characters feel authentic. The author writes tension and drama beautifully, delivering unexpected twists and revelations, not only about Francesca, but also about what Will and Sophie hide in their hearts. The story’s surprising, complex, and deeply satisfying ending answers many questions … A mix of history, mystery, and romance, It Happened in Tuscany is sure to please readers of all these genres, plus those who simply like a well-crafted quest.
— BlueInk Reviews
It Happened In Tuscany is a touching story that captures the power of love, the bond of family, the essence of friendship, and the ability to heal from life’s experiences. It is a heartwarming story that will resonate long after the last page has been read.
—Kathleen Anderson, Jersey Girl Book Reviews
The gripping, opening World War II sequences, where we first encounter Will and his comrades, are visually descriptive and emotionally draining, as words and deeds are so vividly and powerfully committed to paper…This story is a heart-warming, heart-breaking drama, which is part history, part mystery and part romance.
—Yvonne Gill, Fiction Books Blog
Reading the novel It Happened in Tuscany, I laughed, I cried, and I reveled at being in Italy. Gail Mencini is a master at weaving all things Italy into her novels. Readers will feel as if they’re walking along village cobblestones, devouring Tuscan delicacies, gazing at Gothic cathedrals, and enjoying the view of vineyards from hilltops high above.
—Jalynn Venis, author of Ghost Island
Reviews posted on Netgalley
Review from Suzy Henderson on February 4, 2020
The opening chapters bring the reader directly into the action…You can hear the volley of gunfire, see the men, puffing, sweating as they follow the trail upward, a trail that grows steeper with every step…a nice book to learn a little about one of the Italian campaigns, and to read about Italy. Good characterisation, good prose, imagery and visual scenes within the narrative.
Review from Nikki Carberry on January 29, 2020
I really enjoyed this book, Ms Mencini seamlessly moves from past to present, bringing Italy alive with ease…I felt as if I too was one of the characters discovering not only Italy but learning about each other. I recommend this to everyone who likes a lovely story set in a foreign country with a bit of adventure and life lessons thrown in.
Review from Keely Sherer on January 27, 2020
The descriptions of the landscape and architecture sent me to Tuscany in my mind…I love Sophie, and see a lot of myself in her. She is kind, sometimes lost and lonely, and cares for others – especially people that may not deserve her caring in the beginning…And, Will, I just want to hug his neck.
To Tuscany with Love
Inspirational Women’s Fiction — USA TODAY
#1 Best Seller — Denver Post
Winner of Beverly Hills International Book Award — Chick-Lit Fiction
Sons of Italy National Book Club selection — Winter 2014
Featured in Italia! magazine — February 2014
Finalist 2014 International Book Awards — Women’s Lit/Chick Lit
Finalist 2014 USA Best Book Awards — Fiction: Women’s Lit/Chick Lit
Finalist 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards — Chick-Lit Fiction
Top of the Town Readers’ Choice Author — 5280 Magazine 2014
Category Finalist 2015 Eric Hoffer Book Awards — General Fiction
Finalist 2015 Colorado Authors’ League Writing Contest — Mainstream Fiction Books
Gail Mencini’s debut novel adds the volatility of young love to an enchanting landscape. Bella Rossini’s love triangle, supplemented by the stories of her friends, is a passionate entanglement that complicates the course of her life. … Rewarding elements include the theme of travel as a restorative force; Italy emerges not as a touristic, escapist destination, but as a place with deep significance in the characters’ search for forgiveness and a new sense of direction. … A clear-eyed look at the many ways plans can derail, and at the resilience of those who get back on track. … entertaining account of the realization that old friendships can restart to provide support amid hardship.
— ForeWord Reviews
A fun, poignant story about eight college students’ shared experience in Italy and how their youthful idealism and indiscretions affect their adulthoods. Mencini’s debut novel starts in the present day with the middle-aged Bella Rossini receiving an invitation to reunite with people from her past—including a man who broke her heart. As a result, she’s forced to confront the choices she made after their relationship failed. The story then rewinds 30 years to a night that a rebellious Bella spends in jail. … Mencini also provides beautiful prose that brings settings to life: “[T]he morning sun yielded to a landscape vista dotted with hilltop villas, vineyards, and olive groves. Gold, orange, pink, and dusty greens unfolded in a rolling patchwork.” An intriguing tale about how people can affect one another long after they part ways.
— Kirkus Reviews
To Tuscany with Love is a great book-club read: a story of love, hope and transformation, with some romance sprinkled in for good measure.
— Laura Farmer, The Gazette
Set against the beautiful landscape of Tuscany, you’ll find yourself lost in a moving story of friendship and love. Mencini’s beautiful prose will transport you to the romantic streets of Italy where your heart will be captured by the lives of eight strangers who find friendship during one summer that will forever alter their lives.
— Renee Miller, Denver Books Examiner
This is a compelling and realistic story that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, it provides much food for thought. … The author provides the reader with a richly vivid setting that reads like a tourist guide. … To Tuscany with Love is a touching story that captures the essence of friendship and life experiences. It is a heartwarming story that will resonate long after the last page has been read. Kudos to author Gail Mencini on a wonderful debut novel. 5 STARS*****
— Jersey Girl Book Reviews
To Tuscany with Love is a captivating story and one so well written that readers will want more of Mencini’s unique way of telling a tale. The Italian setting is magnificent and one which stimulates the reader’s imagination. The characters are wonderful, the plot intriguing, and the flow of the novel is just right to engross readers from beginning to end.
— Karen Pirnot for Readers’ Favorite
A powerful debut novel that transports readers to the lush Italian countryside and into the lives of these college students on summer holiday in Tuscany. The lies & lust experienced by the characters left me enraptured and flipping pages quickly. The Big Chill -feel type reunion at the end brings it all together and the truth that comes out left me absolutely gob smacked. Highly recommend that you read this with a large glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.
— Mandy Brooks – Book People in Austin, TX and Erica Bates – Tattered Cover in Denver, CO
For anyone who loves anything Italian, Gail Mencini’s charming “coming of age” debut To Tuscany with Love is an entertaining novel of a small group of college students spending a life-changing summer together discovering love and friendship against the beautiful Italian landscape. The group is reunited in Tuscany thirty years later resulting in an unpredictable set of circumstances. Author Gail Mencini’s familiarity with Tuscany is refreshing. Her debut novel leaves the reader considering the importance of friends in one’s life as well as the “marks” they’ve left on one’s life during varying ages and stages. Great reading group pick too.
— Cynthia Callander – The Vero Beach Book Center, Vero Beach, FL
To Tuscany with Love explores the molding of friendships during college years, when we are at our most open and vulnerable as human beings. … Mencini’s lean style scrutinizes relationships and human foibles with honesty and compassion in an impressive first outing as a novelist. Through her characters, Mencini asks the question: Does our past define our destiny, or does it simply provide a broad tapestry of possible endings and new beginnings for us to choose from?
Mencini writes about the landscape of Tuscany with a knowing eye and the heart of an Anglo-Florentine. To Tuscany with Love will leave you hungry for all things Italian and more stories of lovers who discover the unexpected treasures and adventures of a summer abroad.
— Jalynn Venis, author of The Pajama Supper Club and Other Bedtime Stories
Reviews posted on Netgalley
Review from IvyD for Manic Readers and Miss Ivy’s Book Nook on January 9, 2014:
Ms. Mencini immediately engages the reader, skillfully bringing the characters, their experiences, environs, and Tuscan region of Italy to vibrant life. Hard to believe this is her debut. … Like all good reads, To Tuscany with Love sweeps the reader away into another life, time, and place.
Review from Jenny Simonson, Black Hills Book Club on January 20, 2014:
Best character driven novel I’ve read! Mencini’s imperfect characters battle through moral dilemmas, death, and personal demons to reach places of acceptance, understanding, and friendship. … To Tuscany with Love will be an excellent book for book club discussion!
Review from Roxanne Kade on January 22, 2014:
This book was about friendship, loyalty, betrayal, love and lust. It was an enthralling read that kept me wanting more. If you are looking to be swept away on a romantic adventure this books is the one for you.
Review from H. Lee on January 10, 2014:
This book was full of love, loss and friendship. The trials that you go throughout life and relationships and what you do with all of your experiences. … I highly recommend this book to anyone whom is looking for a powerful read. Pick it up!
Review from Kerry Walsh on November 26, 2013:
What a joy this book is to read! Gail Mencini captured the essence of a visitors’ perspective of Florence beautifully. The book could almost double as a tour guide, however the story of the friendships formed by the eight young people will capture your heart. … A light read, a beautiful story, and a stunning backdrop that is Tuscany. Loved it. Hope there is a sequel.
Review from Katarina Ortmann on December 8, 2013:
I love, love, love this book. The story takes us from the initial meeting and forging or friendships during a semester abroad in Tuscany. Descriptions of the scenery/sights, as well as the characters are beautiful. I found each person to be unique and three-dimensional … all of them written with heart. … I liked the end, I found the story real, heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. After reading this, I will look for more books by Gail Mencini.