Skip to main content

At Least You're in Tuscany by Jennifer Criswell


At Least You're in Tuscany is a lively and honest memoir of Italy, a breath of fresh air among others I've read. It displays an intimate portrait of the pulse, the quirks and the realities of a small Tuscan town.

Just as well, the book does not merely wax poetic about the beautiful Tuscan scenery but, more importantly, it attempts to bridge the yawning gap of cultural intricacies and present them in a much closer and understandable light.

After taking a few holiday trips in Italy, Jennifer Criswell decided to finally move to the beautiful hill town of Montepulciano and become a writer. Quite easier said and dreamt than done, but she held on to her mantra; she may be alone and almost running broke but 'at least she's in Tuscany'.

In her first year of stay, adventures, good and bad, await her and even claiming some old Sicilian roots barely helped. There's none about the joys of renovating a villa or the makings of a romantic crossing-continents love scenario here. Instead we are swept by our heroine's maze-like search for a job, struggle for residency and citizenship, greedy landlady and small town gossips.

Yet despite it all, she manages to find genuine neighbors and friendships on unlikely places and spends her days strolling with her beloved dog, Cinder, stopping by her favorite coffee and cheese shops, talking with Italian friends under a stoop and sampling the Tuscan dish. I could definitely say her enthusiasm surpasses everything and it is this bright outlook that also lets her immerse, enjoy and be more accepting of things.

Between a tourist and a native, a lot of things get lost in translation with nothing to bridge it at all. What I like about her accounts is that she was able to put herself in a middle ground as if the usually closed Tuscan curtains (to foreigners) sometimes fall away to reveal its real beauty, welcoming her as part of the place slowly and over time. I think these small glimpses are the highlights of the story for me.

The quaint flowery descriptions and the image of idyllic living, a formulaic way to usually charm readers (including me), isn't strongly present and I like that, too. Criswell presents her Tuscany in an honest note tinged with much realities and simple achievable pleasures, making the journey very relatable and genuinely fun at the same time. I am looking forward to hear more of her avventura.

Summary

At Least You’re in Tuscany: A Somewhat Disastrous Quest for the Sweet Life is Jennifer Criswell’s memoir about her first year in Montepulciano during which her dream of expat life meets the reality of everyday challenges and results in sometimes funny, often frustrating, always lesson-filled situations.

Jennifer Criswell’s move from New York City to Tuscany was not supposed to go like this. She had envisioned lazy mornings sipping espresso while penning a best-selling novel and jovial Sunday group dinners, just like in the movies and books about expatriate life in Italy. But then she met the reality: no work, constant struggles with Italian bureaucracy to claim citizenship through her ancestors, and, perhaps worst of all, becoming the talk of the town after her torrid affair with a local fruit vendor.

At Least You’re in Tuscany is the intimate, honest, and often hilarious tale of Jennifer’s first year in Montepulciano. During that time, her internal optimist was forced to work overtime, reminding her that if she were going to be homeless, lonely, and broke, at least she would be all those things—in Tuscany. Jennifer’s mantra, along with a healthy dose of enthusiasm, her willingness to embrace Italian culture, and lessons gleaned from small-town bumbling, help her not only build a new, rewarding life in Italy but also find herself along the way.

Title: At Least You're in Tuscany: A Somewhat Disastrous Quest for the Sweet Life
Author: Jennifer Criswell
Genre: Memoir, Cultural, Non Fiction
Published: September 2012
Publisher: Gemelli Press
Rating: ♨♨♨ 1/2 (3 and half cups - Quite relatable with intimate portraits of a small Italian town. A closer look into the many faces of Tuscany.) 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Release Day: Bohemian by Kathryn Nolan

RATING/REVIEW: ☕☕☕☕ (4 cups of soothing, slow burn romance!)
Bohemian is a modern day love story about two very different people whose common love for the written word brings them together and in the end may drive them apart.  Lucia and Calvin never would have met in the same place except for the presence of The Mad Ones, an old fashioned bookstore found in the beautiful area of Big Sur.  Lucia is a supermodel, at the age of 26 what use to thrill her has been leaving her bored almost.  When a scheduled shoot in an old fashioned bookstore suddenly fans the flames of her love of reading she starts yearning for more.  Calvin inherited The Mad Ones from his beloved grandfather.  His grandfather's love of reading and his lifestyle has always brought joy to a young Calvin but he never really subscribed to that way of life.  When he meets Lucia he might have been starstruck for a bit.  What does a geeky nerd like him have in common with a beautiful woman like her.  When he finds out they …

Blog Tour: Ride With Me by Ashley Hastings: Review plus Giveaway!

RIDE WITH ME by Ashley HastingsPublication Date: April 5, 2018 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating/Review: ☕☕☕ 1/2 (3.5 cups of funny and sweet but sexy romance) Ride with Me pairs up a sexy cop and a sweet nerdy but adorable grad student who spend their time getting to know each other through a ridealong.  But first they had the most unique meet cute involving car chases!  Who can beat that?!  Lucy and Grayson may not appear to be compatible but in Ride with Me they definitely hit the right notes together. Sweet, short and funny, Ride with Me is a lighthearted read that would put a smile in any romance readers face.

BUY NOW!Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Jq6nsq(#FREE with #KindleUnlimited) Paperback: https://amzn.to/2EpsefW


SYNOPSIS:A bad boy cop and a straight-laced student are about to go on the ride of their lives… He’s the law, but she’s the one making the rules. Graduate student Lucy wants order and predictability in her life. She always has a list to consult and a plan to execute. Poli…

Review Post: Fool Me Once by Catherine Bybee

Rating/Review: ☕☕☕☕ 1/2 (4.5 cups, this romantic suspense will give new meaning to The First Wives Club)
You never know what you really would be getting when reading a Catherine Bybee book.  On the outside, each book can definitely hold its own as a great contemporary romance novel.  Read a little bit further, you get well-defined, multilayered characters and a romantic suspense in the making. Pretty soon you will be amazed on the intricate storyline balanced well with the main characters developing romance.  Fool Me Once is definitely a Catherine Bybee book.  The first in her new series, First Wives,  Fool Me Once is also a spinoff from her popular Weekday Bride series.  And yet again, Ms. Bybee delivers in her great characters, well thought out plot and melding her two series together without one overpowering the other.
The story starts out as the head of Alliance and their legal go to person, Lori try to help one of their client who unexpectedly lost her husband.  To get her away …