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The story of four American strangers who bond in Italy and change their lives over the course of an exceptional year, from the bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun. Don't miss Frances Mayes in PBS's Dream of Italy: Tuscan Sun Special! She watches from her terrazza as the three American women carry their luggage into the stone villa down the hill. Who are they, and wha The story of four American strangers who bond in Italy and change their lives over the course of an exceptional year, from the bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun. Don't miss Frances Mayes in PBS's Dream of Italy: Tuscan Sun Special! She watches from her terrazza as the three American women carry their luggage into the stone villa down the hill. Who are they, and what brings them to this Tuscan village so far from home? An expat herself and with her own unfinished story, she can't help but question: will they find what they came for? Kit Raine, an American writer living in Tuscany, is working on a biography of her close friend, a complex woman who continues to cast a shadow on Kit's own life. Her work is waylaid by the arrival of three women--Julia, Camille, and Susan--all of whom have launched a recent and spontaneous friendship that will uproot them completely and redirect their lives. Susan, the most adventurous of the three, has enticed them to subvert expectations of staid retirement by taking a lease on a big, beautiful house in Tuscany. Though novices in a foreign culture, their renewed sense of adventure imbues each of them with a bright sense of bravery, a gusto for life, and a fierce determination to thrive. But how? With Kit's friendship and guidance, the three friends launch themselves into Italian life, pursuing passions long-forgotten--and with drastic and unforeseeable results.


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The story of four American strangers who bond in Italy and change their lives over the course of an exceptional year, from the bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun. Don't miss Frances Mayes in PBS's Dream of Italy: Tuscan Sun Special! She watches from her terrazza as the three American women carry their luggage into the stone villa down the hill. Who are they, and wha The story of four American strangers who bond in Italy and change their lives over the course of an exceptional year, from the bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun. Don't miss Frances Mayes in PBS's Dream of Italy: Tuscan Sun Special! She watches from her terrazza as the three American women carry their luggage into the stone villa down the hill. Who are they, and what brings them to this Tuscan village so far from home? An expat herself and with her own unfinished story, she can't help but question: will they find what they came for? Kit Raine, an American writer living in Tuscany, is working on a biography of her close friend, a complex woman who continues to cast a shadow on Kit's own life. Her work is waylaid by the arrival of three women--Julia, Camille, and Susan--all of whom have launched a recent and spontaneous friendship that will uproot them completely and redirect their lives. Susan, the most adventurous of the three, has enticed them to subvert expectations of staid retirement by taking a lease on a big, beautiful house in Tuscany. Though novices in a foreign culture, their renewed sense of adventure imbues each of them with a bright sense of bravery, a gusto for life, and a fierce determination to thrive. But how? With Kit's friendship and guidance, the three friends launch themselves into Italian life, pursuing passions long-forgotten--and with drastic and unforeseeable results.

30 review for Women in Sunlight

  1. 5 out of 5

    Susan Johnson

    I really wanted to like this book better than I did. It has its elements. It's about three women in their 60's who decide against retirement home living and decide to rent a villa in Tuscan. What a wonderful idea. They are all healthy, talented and have money. They are not dependent on their Social Security checks. They drop $1000 on old books without a blink of an eye, They cart home cases of wine and armloads of flowers. They are not worried about money at all. They fall into unique employmen I really wanted to like this book better than I did. It has its elements. It's about three women in their 60's who decide against retirement home living and decide to rent a villa in Tuscan. What a wonderful idea. They are all healthy, talented and have money. They are not dependent on their Social Security checks. They drop $1000 on old books without a blink of an eye, They cart home cases of wine and armloads of flowers. They are not worried about money at all. They fall into unique employment opportunities, take classes especially in Italian, spend time in town drinking cappuccinos and visiting with the locals, meet interesting men and live a wonderful life. It's very reaffirming and wonderful although the excess started getting to me a little (sour grapes perhaps wishing I was living like that). So what bothered me? It ambled and ambled. I finally narrowed down the problem. There is another couple already living there about 10-15 years younger than the women. They are already embedded. The woman is a famous niche writer and poet. She is writing about her former mentor in Tuscany, Margaret, another writer. And it's this tangent story that slows the story down. Margaret is not involved in the story and yet takes up copious amounts of space. This leads to my common complaint of the apparent lack of copy editors working now. A good one would have axed that story line right out and the book would have flowed so much better. Here's the other complaint. Most of the visiting Americans seem to come from the San Francisco area, known locally as the Bay Area. Apparently this is due to the wine connection. So I am happily reading along when native Californians are referring to San Fran. This would NEVER ever happen. It is almost like a racial slur, fingernails on a chalkboard, an insult. This is such a marked error that it almost destroyed the book in itself for me. Please if you are going to San Francisco never say San Fran. It's just a glaring error This book had such potential and if someone with a red pencil had fixed the ambling it would have been wonderful. I am so ready for books that explore lives after 60. Thanks to Net Galley for a copy of this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    ☀️ 3.5 sunlit stars to Women in Sunlight, a novel of Tuscany! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️.5 Frances Mayes is back with a new novel of Tuscany. This time, there are three American friends who have leased a mansion. An expat is living next door, and her quiet life is completely disrupted by the arrival of these women. The backstory is that each of these friends were about to begin living in a retirement home (shoutout to Chapel Hill, NC!), but instead, decided together to spend a year in Tuscany, almost like a “last ☀️ 3.5 sunlit stars to Women in Sunlight, a novel of Tuscany! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️.5 Frances Mayes is back with a new novel of Tuscany. This time, there are three American friends who have leased a mansion. An expat is living next door, and her quiet life is completely disrupted by the arrival of these women. The backstory is that each of these friends were about to begin living in a retirement home (shoutout to Chapel Hill, NC!), but instead, decided together to spend a year in Tuscany, almost like a “last hoorah” (I still think they have many, many great years left, but I think they thought of it as their last hoorah prior to firmly retiring). Each of the ladies’ progress as characters shows that we are always learning about ourselves no matter what stage of life we are in. Through their time in Tuscany, the friendship of the women grows, eventually with the expat neighbor, too. As with other Mayes’ novels, the Tuscan setting is rich with culture, food, and famous Italian locales. The book had an adventure-type feeling, almost like a travel memoir at times. I’ve traveled to Italy and enjoyed re-visiting some locations and memories through this book. While there was an age difference between me and the characters, I could relate to them in thinking about my mom. She and I read and talk books regularly, and I often wonder how she feels reading about my age group (alllllll the time) instead of her own. Kudos to Frances May for being age-inclusive. Overall, Women in Sunlight feels like an adventurous, fictional travel memoir with themes of female friendship and discovery of self. Thank you to Frances Mayes, Crown Publishing, and Netgalley for the ARC. Women in Sunlight is now available!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

    *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com 3.5 stars If you can’t get to Italy in a hurry, the next best thing to a plane ticket to one of Europe’s most culturally rich locales is to pick up a Frances Mayes novel. The bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun fame returns with a fictional tale of Kit, a writer and expat, who has lived in the quaint Italian town of San Rocco for over a decade. Her life is disrupted in a gratuitous manner when three retirees from the US arrive and take up residence in *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com 3.5 stars If you can’t get to Italy in a hurry, the next best thing to a plane ticket to one of Europe’s most culturally rich locales is to pick up a Frances Mayes novel. The bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun fame returns with a fictional tale of Kit, a writer and expat, who has lived in the quaint Italian town of San Rocco for over a decade. Her life is disrupted in a gratuitous manner when three retirees from the US arrive and take up residence in the villa next door. Women in Sunlight is a rendition to the bonds of female friendship, all set to the breathtaking stage of the rich food, culture and famous cities of Italy. For over a decade Kit Raine has been living the dream in San Rocco, Italy. A writer by trade, Kit has been trying to pen the biography of her close friend and mentor, novelist Margaret Merrill. Kit is hit with a curveball when three women arrive next door. The trio have recently formed a bond back in the states when they decided to trade plans to enter a retirement home in the US, for as year in a luxurious villa in Tuscany. As Kit helps these women find their feet in their new home, she is reminded of why she loves Italy so much. In just a year, each of these four women will enter a new phase in their lives, as their friendship thrives and at the same time, they fully immerse themselves in the Italian way of life. Although I haven’t read a Frances Mayes book before, I enjoyed the film Under the Tuscan Sun, which is based upon the same book title written by Mayes. Italy, and in particular Tuscany, remains on my travel bucket list. Even though I will not be embarking on a trip to this beautiful part of the world anytime soon, Frances Mayes quelled my longing for a trip to Italy with Women in Sunlight. For those readers who enjoy travel adventure style novels, this one will hit the spot. Women in Sunlight is a piece of fiction, but there were times when I had to gently remind myself that I was not reading a biography or memoir. Some areas of the novel were a little clunky for me and I struggled to obtain a firm grip on the changing perspectives of the book, which swapped from first to third person. I would have preferred and felt more comfortable with Kit narrating, these sections of the narrative took my interest. The prose comes across as being quite literary, as there are many fleshed out descriptions of the rich colours and tastes of this novel. What also struck me about Women in Sunlight, is that it is filled with many realistic descriptions of great tourist sites, cities, architecture, art, beautiful scenery, fine food and wine references. This is a sensory and culinary overload for the reader, especially if you love Italian cuisine. It is culturally rich and along with the frequent language insertions, Women in Sunlight almost reflected a guidebook of sorts to the region. There a few message to be taken away from Women in Sunlight. Female friendship is one of the core themes of this novel, along with self discovery. As this is story focussed on women in their prime and later stages of their life, it reminds us that often the best is yet to come. I appreciated the carefree attitude and the willingness of the American retirees to abandon their safety and plans of life in the US, for a very different life in Italy. I admired their enthusiasm, strength and bravery. Likewise, Kit the established expat, is faced with a big life change as the book progresses and it was interesting to read about how she responds to this situation. I also enjoyed following Kit’s journey to get the biography of her mentor and friend Margaret off the ground. Women in Sunlight is an intimate travel adventure style novel. Although the focus is on a more mature set of women, readers of any age will be sure to enjoy the journey each of these characters embarks on over the progression of the novel. The characters are a lively set and the way in which Women in Sunlight has been written helps the reader to feel like they are an extra travel companion. I enjoyed being welcomed into the fold of this close knit group. One to escape to when you are dreaming of Italy! *I wish to thank Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    Whose voice is it? This story boggled me. Never was sure who was telling the story and what on earth Margaret had to do with anything. Sorry I wasted my time reading this.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brooke — brooklynnnnereads

    After reading the summary of this novel, I thought that I would like it but I never expected to love it as much as I did. This novel is the stories of these four (technically five if you include Margaret) women and their own personal journeys---both physical in location as well as emotional. If you want to potentially give yourself an existential crisis, this would be the read to pick up. That isn't necessairily a bad thing. Even though the women in this novel are aged 40-60+, their dilemmas are After reading the summary of this novel, I thought that I would like it but I never expected to love it as much as I did. This novel is the stories of these four (technically five if you include Margaret) women and their own personal journeys---both physical in location as well as emotional. If you want to potentially give yourself an existential crisis, this would be the read to pick up. That isn't necessairily a bad thing. Even though the women in this novel are aged 40-60+, their dilemmas are familiar. What they are facing, most of us will face also. If not now, in the future. Due to that, this book is incredibly realistic and thought provoking. Maybe, I'm not in that specific character's shoes now but what about in the future? Also, some of the emotions that they are going through are not age specific and those, I feel now as a younger woman. Seriously, include this with my response to "Eat, Pray, Love" because this book made me want to pick up my life and escape to a faraway place right now. I really enjoyed each main character and the depth of each of their story's. Even though I loved reading this novel, it was by no means an 'easy read'. The writing style was not of the kind that flows quickly and has you racing through the pages. Instead, it's more of the literary fiction where it's extremely detailed and requires the reader to remained focused in order to not lose anything while reading. As well, this novel alternates between quite a few point of views and is not extremely clear in when it would switch over. I could see how a reader could become confused if they didn't stay focused while reading. This was such a beautiful novel regarding each character individually as well as a novel about friendship. I know I will reread this book in the future because it left such an impact. I can only imagine that I will feel more deeply about this novel in the future due to my own life experiences. ***Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review***

  6. 4 out of 5

    Joan Austen

    I slugged through this book out of respect for the author who wrote the marvelous Under the Tuscan Sun, as it is her first novel set in Italy, but I really think she should stick to travel memoirs or poetry. Three older (in their sixties) women rent a villa in Tuscany for a year instead of moving to a retirement home – such a promising premise, such a disappointing execution. (Isn't 60 a little young to be in a retirement home anyway, wasn't this the original hippy generation?) There were so man I slugged through this book out of respect for the author who wrote the marvelous Under the Tuscan Sun, as it is her first novel set in Italy, but I really think she should stick to travel memoirs or poetry. Three older (in their sixties) women rent a villa in Tuscany for a year instead of moving to a retirement home – such a promising premise, such a disappointing execution. (Isn't 60 a little young to be in a retirement home anyway, wasn't this the original hippy generation?) There were so many people mentioned that by page 300/400 I was still having trouble keeping the characters (and their various hobbies and love affairs) straight. Some guy named Hugh showed up near the end, and I am still trying to figure out who he was related to or how he fit in, but didn't care enough to go back and find out, (I was two weeks reading it, which is unusually slow for me). It was like some sort of senior chick-lit, but poorly written, with the tense all over the place, and virtually no plot line. The whole first person present tense narrator thing, speculating on the three American women neighbors, was awkward at best, as one never really got to know the characters, and the points of view kept shifting, (sometimes in the same paragraph), in a way that I can only describe as odd. There were also lots of poetic phrases thrown in at random which slowed the story down, and it was very slow to start with. The author may be a published poet but I don't want to read about the boneless cat and the placenta being like a jellyfish and various other weird descriptions. The only redeeming feature was that at the end the author didn't have them all run off with the (unappealing) men they had met, (thank god with age comes wisdom). The book was so bad they will probably make a movie out of it, and maybe that will improve it. (let's cast it - Susan Sarandon, Jane Fonda and ?) The last eighty pages or so were more fast flowing, so with the help of a good editor it might have been a better book. A totally disappointing read, that I had been so looking forward to.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Leigh Kramer

    2.5/3 stars What I liked: the focus on older characters (Camille is 69, Julia is 59, and Susan is 64), the way the three start fresh in Italy, one part of Kit's storyline (this may be a spoiler but it happens somewhat early on: (view spoiler)[she gets unexpectedly pregnant for the first time at age 44 (hide spoiler)] .) Where I struggled: The structure was really confusing. This is written in first person and third person present tense. But it's also on the meta side in that Kit, a writer, abandons 2.5/3 stars What I liked: the focus on older characters (Camille is 69, Julia is 59, and Susan is 64), the way the three start fresh in Italy, one part of Kit's storyline (this may be a spoiler but it happens somewhat early on: (view spoiler)[she gets unexpectedly pregnant for the first time at age 44 (hide spoiler)] .) Where I struggled: The structure was really confusing. This is written in first person and third person present tense. But it's also on the meta side in that Kit, a writer, abandons her current project and writes about the women instead. So we're reading her manuscript, but it's more memoir/biography than fiction. At least, that's what I think was happening and therein lies the rub. When the women move next door to Kit, she's a part of the story but there's so much that she simply could not know that's depicted in her account of Camille, Julia, and Susan. I really liked the three women and their friendship and how, instead of moving to the retirement community where they met, they decide to move to Italy for a year. The clear message is that life doesn't end by a certain age and these women have so much more living to do. The way this is explored is so rich. This could have been the novel and I would have liked it so much better. It was hard to go from reading about the women and then get yanked over to Kit. I also felt like I knew the least about Susan- her storyline was minuscule in comparison. Alternatively, Kit's story could have been the novel too, or at least part of it. I really didn't care about her friend Margaret or why she felt the need to write a book about her. Anything Margaret-related distracted me from Kit's storyline. I loved her relationship with Colin and wanted more of it because while their relationship clearly works, he travels so much for work and I wanted to know more about that particular dynamic. Also the spoiler I hid above- this was one of my favorite parts of the novel and I wanted to know more about how she felt about it as the months passed. We got a good amount of processing at the beginning and at the end but not much in between. So I liked parts of this story but the combination was confusing and took me out of what I was reading. Parts of it dragged. There was an aspect of Julia's story that had an overly neat ending. But I really want to see more stories centering around older characters so I hope more authors will recognize their stories are worth telling too. Disclosure: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    Way over-written, especially for a light read. I'm a firm believer in write less and say more. There were too many boring details that added nothing to the story. I skimmed much of it, so unless you have a lot of time to waste, choose a book with more substance.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    This was a book club read and oh my god, I was not the target audience for it. Women in Sunlight followed three white women in their 60s who were at a turning point in their lives. They were being urged to join a senior citizen community and weren't ready for that step in life, instead, they dropped everything and moved to a villa in Italy. Everyone in this book was the worst. Life was fairly easy for them in Italy, they had money, and when they ran out of money, they found jobs quite easily as This was a book club read and oh my god, I was not the target audience for it. Women in Sunlight followed three white women in their 60s who were at a turning point in their lives. They were being urged to join a senior citizen community and weren't ready for that step in life, instead, they dropped everything and moved to a villa in Italy. Everyone in this book was the worst. Life was fairly easy for them in Italy, they had money, and when they ran out of money, they found jobs quite easily as well as new romantic interests. Kit, who was an American and lived next door, was a writer and decided to make their lives her next novel. Kit's writing (as well as the book's) was over the top and pretentious. The way the characters spoke to each other was no believable and there was never a climax to this novel. I cannot recommend this to anyone. Nope.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    3+ Are you unable to take that trip to Tuscany? Reading Women in Sunlight is the next best thing to actually being in this beautiful region of central Italy. The story is about three lucky American women who rent an old stone house in the town of San Rocco. How fortunate one of the women is a gourmet cook who creates many savory Italian dishes. Of course, only the freshest ingredients are used, and the meals are always accompanied by the perfect wine -in vast quantities. The women make many new f 3+ Are you unable to take that trip to Tuscany? Reading Women in Sunlight is the next best thing to actually being in this beautiful region of central Italy. The story is about three lucky American women who rent an old stone house in the town of San Rocco. How fortunate one of the women is a gourmet cook who creates many savory Italian dishes. Of course, only the freshest ingredients are used, and the meals are always accompanied by the perfect wine -in vast quantities. The women make many new friends, both compatriots and local residents. It is also fortunate they get to travel to other beautiful towns, free. The local realtor gives them accommodations to evaluate for possible rental properties. Beautiful vistas, innumerable new friends, exquisite food, always wine flowing, and never a pound gained. What could be better? Maybe this book is all too unrealistic, but it certainly was a therapeutic escape. Who wouldn't want to leave this pandemic stricken world behind, even for just a little while?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bonnye Reed

    GNAB It took me about twice as long as normal to finish this novel because I had to stop and cook and eat so many times! This is one of those books that awake you to the extraordinary friends you need to touch base with, the pasta you haven't made lately, the clothes you don't have yet and the travel you need to erase from your bucket list and just order tickets. And if you paid attention you will know to leave the return trip date open. Three middle aged, currently alone ladies meet at the open GNAB It took me about twice as long as normal to finish this novel because I had to stop and cook and eat so many times! This is one of those books that awake you to the extraordinary friends you need to touch base with, the pasta you haven't made lately, the clothes you don't have yet and the travel you need to erase from your bucket list and just order tickets. And if you paid attention you will know to leave the return trip date open. Three middle aged, currently alone ladies meet at the open house and orientation of a Senior Living community in Chapel Hill, NC, and decide to touch base after the day's events. All are ready to down size, to spend a lot less time on cleaning and home maintenance and more time footloose and fancy free. They want to travel. They want to see the world. And Cornwallis Meadows would make that all possible. When the time comes they could move from the apartment to assisted living to skilled nursing care as needed. Or they can just pool their funds and go to Europe for a year while they make up their minds.... I don't know how many books by Frances Mayes you can read before you have to go to Tuscany. But I fear I'm in the ballpark.... I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Frances Mayes, and Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. pub date April 3, 2018 Crown

  12. 4 out of 5

    Deana

    This book could have been very good as some of the storylines had me invested in the characters and wanting to turn the page; however there were too many storylines and characters. The author also tends to over-describe the scenes, I found myself skimming some of the paragraphs.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Bryant

    I kept thinking of "Enchanted April,"as I read this, although "Women in Sunlight" is nothing like that delightful movie. Instead of 30-something women at crossroads with their lives and loves, most of these women are 60-something. But it doesn't matter what your age is. When you have the opportunity to leap, it's unexpected and magical what can happen. Kit's story is first person, Camille and Susan and Julia and Margaret's stories are not. The different points of view add depth and complexity, be I kept thinking of "Enchanted April,"as I read this, although "Women in Sunlight" is nothing like that delightful movie. Instead of 30-something women at crossroads with their lives and loves, most of these women are 60-something. But it doesn't matter what your age is. When you have the opportunity to leap, it's unexpected and magical what can happen. Kit's story is first person, Camille and Susan and Julia and Margaret's stories are not. The different points of view add depth and complexity, because don't we experience our own life even as it becomes entwined with others? There's old loss and new love, death of beloveds and birth of others. There's food and art, friendships and home making, gardens and wine, abundance and theft, dancing and stillness. And Italy. The cover image doesn't become literally clear until near the end of the story, but that doesn't matter. Throughout this lovely story, the leap of each of these women into water and into sunlight, occurs again and again.

  14. 5 out of 5

    The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)

    Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes is a book that will appeal to those who enjoy travel and learning about other cultures. The story has some wonderful elements that describe life in Tuscany and the concept is quite interesting. Unfortunately, there are just too many characters to keep track of in the novel, which distracts the reader from the main plot. Full review on The Candid Cover Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes is a book that will appeal to those who enjoy travel and learning about other cultures. The story has some wonderful elements that describe life in Tuscany and the concept is quite interesting. Unfortunately, there are just too many characters to keep track of in the novel, which distracts the reader from the main plot. Full review on The Candid Cover

  15. 4 out of 5

    JoAnn

    4.5 / 5 stars Review coming soon, but add this to your summer reading list now!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    Women In Sunlight By Frances Mayes What it's all about... Three women meet at an open house for an over 55 village and based on their compatibility and other interests...decide to rent a house together in Italy. They arrive, they fall in love with Italy and most of its people and they learn, they grow, they expand their lives. They actually make their lives better. They travel all over Italy. They cook. They eat. They taste wines. They either renew their life purpose or come up with a new life purp Women In Sunlight By Frances Mayes What it's all about... Three women meet at an open house for an over 55 village and based on their compatibility and other interests...decide to rent a house together in Italy. They arrive, they fall in love with Italy and most of its people and they learn, they grow, they expand their lives. They actually make their lives better. They travel all over Italy. They cook. They eat. They taste wines. They either renew their life purpose or come up with a new life purpose. Why I wanted to read it... All of these women...Camille, Susan and Julia..have been affected by some form of sadness...death, addiction, rejection. All of these women are vital and lovely. They throw themselves into their new lives very pleasantly! They adopt three cats! What made me truly enjoy this book... The ladies are lucky enough to live next door to Kit...and Colin...who own their home and have lived in Italy for a while. Kit is the perfect companion. She advises them...helps them...and takes part in as many of their adventures as she can. Kit has a secret adventure of her own...sort of brewing. Why you should read it, too... This book abounds in beautiful words and phrases and sentences. Little flecks of Italian makes this book even more wonderful. Readers who love this kind of gentle wordy book will love this one! I received an advance reader’s copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley and Amazon. It was my choice to read it and review it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marla

    I tried to listen to this book and on Disc 1, Track 9 it said "Part Two" and I thought nope. I can't sit through this for 14 CDs. You have to grab me from the beginning or I won't continue. I have WAY too many books to read to try and trudge through one that just isn't exciting me with Disc 1.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brent Soderstrum

    I won this book through GoodReads First Read program. I made it halfway through this book I couldn't take it anymore and threw in the towel. This is a travel log for those who are going to Italy. The reader is misled to believe there is a story coming but that proves to be a lie. You learn about books, art, food, tourist attractions and other things Italian in this book that is about three older ladies who decide to postpone the retirement village and rent a home in Tuscany, Italy for a year. The I won this book through GoodReads First Read program. I made it halfway through this book I couldn't take it anymore and threw in the towel. This is a travel log for those who are going to Italy. The reader is misled to believe there is a story coming but that proves to be a lie. You learn about books, art, food, tourist attractions and other things Italian in this book that is about three older ladies who decide to postpone the retirement village and rent a home in Tuscany, Italy for a year. Their neighbor is also an American writer named Kit who is in her mid-40's. Susan, Camille, and Julia get to know Kit, each other, Italian men, and Italy. Absolutely no story. I felt my life and other people I know's lives are more exciting then these ladies. Picture you writing about a year in your life going into great detail about what you eat and drink, where you go and what you do. That is really all there is to this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Neil Plakcy

    What a lovely, lyrical book! I admire the way Mayes is able to differentiate between the poetic first person voice (Poet Kit Raines) and the more prosaic third person which follows the three Americans. It was tough to keep Susan, Julia and Camille separate at first, though after a while they gelled as unique individuals. At first the author's tendency to jump in and out of characters' points of view was confusing, but eventually I gave in and let the voices mingle.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    While I've loved Frances Mayes's memoirs about her life in her dream house in Tuscany, I find her fiction a little too chick-lit for me. I know all that wine and olive oil plays a big part in her actual life and would love to read more about that, but when translated into a fictional setting, ironically does not work for me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I actually finished this book a few weeks ago. First, let me say how thrilled I was when I saw that Frances Mayes had a new book coming out, and then to request and receive a free copy of it electronically? I was thrilled! I fell in love with the book almost from the start. The characters are all at about the same point in life; women of a certain age and stage, all contemplating settling into life at a facility that makes life easier for seniors. They meet as they tour the place. All agree it is I actually finished this book a few weeks ago. First, let me say how thrilled I was when I saw that Frances Mayes had a new book coming out, and then to request and receive a free copy of it electronically? I was thrilled! I fell in love with the book almost from the start. The characters are all at about the same point in life; women of a certain age and stage, all contemplating settling into life at a facility that makes life easier for seniors. They meet as they tour the place. All agree it is seemingly beautiful and peaceful; but they wonder if they are ready for that moment in time; that "next step", so to speak. The three women become friends and begin spending time together. A weekend at the beach brings up the curious idea of renting a house together for a year in Tuscany, and their friendship and adventure are sealed. As the women move into their rental villa, the expat neighbor watches them with curiosity, and soon all become fast friends; life opening up and changing for all four of them. If you have ever had that Italian dream; the dream of la dolce vita, this is the book for you. I want to be these women; I want to form friendships as they did and live in Italy for a year in a Tuscan villa, exploring Florence and Venice, making paper, art, food - living the good life. Thank you Frances Mayes, for the gift of this book and for taking me to a beautiful world with your words.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gina *loves sunshine*

    This one starts out pretty slow, jumps around a bit, set ups up the lives of women settling down in Italy - you would think it could really produce a good story........maybe it does!?!?! DNF @ 10%, it just did not grab me at all. Maybe I wasn't quite drawn to this group of women in their 60's navigating retirement..I thought I could - I'm still into YA and NA romance, LOL. It has its audience, early reviews show 3-4 stars, try this out if it's calling you! my guess is it's a decent read if you h This one starts out pretty slow, jumps around a bit, set ups up the lives of women settling down in Italy - you would think it could really produce a good story........maybe it does!?!?! DNF @ 10%, it just did not grab me at all. Maybe I wasn't quite drawn to this group of women in their 60's navigating retirement..I thought I could - I'm still into YA and NA romance, LOL. It has its audience, early reviews show 3-4 stars, try this out if it's calling you! my guess is it's a decent read if you have the patience! My Mom would probably love this book!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carole

    Thank you to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for providing an e-galley of Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes in exchange for an honest review. Very rarely do I reach the end of a novel and wish it would go on for hundreds of pages. Frances Mayes, the author of Under the Tuscan Sun, captures the imagination of the reader through exquisite language and with obvious love to describe the landscape, the history, the food, the wines, the architecture and the people of Tuscany. This is the story of thre Thank you to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for providing an e-galley of Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes in exchange for an honest review. Very rarely do I reach the end of a novel and wish it would go on for hundreds of pages. Frances Mayes, the author of Under the Tuscan Sun, captures the imagination of the reader through exquisite language and with obvious love to describe the landscape, the history, the food, the wines, the architecture and the people of Tuscany. This is the story of three American older single women, Camille, Julia and Susan. They are in the process of assessing retirement communities in the US when, on a whim, they lease a villa in Tuscany for a year and move in together. They become friends with Kit, also an American expat, who happens to be their neighbor. The four women, while getting acquainted and becoming good friends, encourage each other to make the best of what Tuscany can teach them. The year will prove to be life-changing for all of them. By the end of the book, you will be in love with Tuscany and see it through the eyes of Kit, Camille, Julia and Susan. What a joy this book is. Women in Sunlight is a treasure to be re-read more than once and savoured over and over again.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Jones Hullinger

    I was a Goodreads Giveaway Winner! Here is my honest review: I found this to be a lovely story revolving around the power of female friendship.  Camille, Susan and Julia decide to take charge of their lives after being widowed and experiencing a upheaval in the family.  Each lady is contemplating purchasing space at a senior living complex but instead decide to become friends and reside in Italy for a year.  Clearly they made the right decision.  Neither woman would ever think that this experienc I was a Goodreads Giveaway Winner! Here is my honest review: I found this to be a lovely story revolving around the power of female friendship.  Camille, Susan and Julia decide to take charge of their lives after being widowed and experiencing a upheaval in the family.  Each lady is contemplating purchasing space at a senior living complex but instead decide to become friends and reside in Italy for a year.  Clearly they made the right decision.  Neither woman would ever think that this experience was going to transform their life.  I absolutely loved that female friendship is at the heart of this novel.  I absolutely loved that angle.  The reader gets to travel along with the ladies for their year in Italy.  We get to visit different cities, eat delicious food, see gorgeous gardens, and view breathtaking art.  The reader gets to drink a a cappuccino on the piazza with the locals nodding their greetings.  Violetta will even bring you a biscotti to enjoy your coffee.  Frances Mayes has a knack for bringing Italy to life for you....so much so that you really do get a realistic experience just by reading her books. I give it a 3.5.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    I am one of author Frances Mayes many fans, at least I thought I was. And she writes of places/topics close to my heart: the SF Bay Area, North Carolina, seasonal cooking, and replacement families forged from heartache. WOMEN IN SUNLIGHT touches all of those topics, dutifully. Therein lies the problem with this book. It lacks cohesion. There is always a problem when the narrator is required to explain the connective tissue of the various strands of the book to herself and the reader because it i I am one of author Frances Mayes many fans, at least I thought I was. And she writes of places/topics close to my heart: the SF Bay Area, North Carolina, seasonal cooking, and replacement families forged from heartache. WOMEN IN SUNLIGHT touches all of those topics, dutifully. Therein lies the problem with this book. It lacks cohesion. There is always a problem when the narrator is required to explain the connective tissue of the various strands of the book to herself and the reader because it isn’t clear to either. The explanation doesn’t hold true and doesn’t justify the reading experience. There’s too much folded into this book, some of which just should have been dropped; saved for another book. The best story involves three women who decide to opt out of a senior-living environment and set out for Italy together. They’ve just met and it’s a real leap of faith. Side-stories just don’t measure up and detract, persistently, from their tale. We don’t get nearly enough about them and their interactions with their newfound world. I began to skip the other parts. Mayes is a better writer than this. I received my copy from Penguin’s First to Read program.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Peebee

    I expected to like this book much more than I actually did. It’s probably more of a 3.5 rating, but it’s so long that by the time the book started to get better in the end, I was almost over it. It’s very Italian, in that it felt like the author was working for the tourism authority in her laborious descriptions of just how beautiful everything is, and that those descriptions were excessively ornate without a ton of substance. There were so many characters that it really took me a while to remem I expected to like this book much more than I actually did. It’s probably more of a 3.5 rating, but it’s so long that by the time the book started to get better in the end, I was almost over it. It’s very Italian, in that it felt like the author was working for the tourism authority in her laborious descriptions of just how beautiful everything is, and that those descriptions were excessively ornate without a ton of substance. There were so many characters that it really took me a while to remember who everyone was, between four protagonists, their husbands, ex-husbands, kids, mentors, new relationships — it just went on and on and on, in an unnecessarily complicated plot that ultimately was fairly predictable. But if your dream is to escape your life by running away to Italy when you hit retirement age and/or tragedy strikes, then this might sound appealing to read about after all.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Onceinabluemoon

    4.5 rounding up. For chic lit this hits all my buttons, I listened to the audio while gardening for two days, I was in bliss, how could I not love creating an Italian garden, the lush talk of Italian food, travel, new experiences surrounded with friends. Of course there is female dreams, trauma and loss, but the whole ambiance of Italy dripped off the pages. Loved women in sunlight as I too was under that same sun enjoying that warm book of friendship.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mum

    hardcover/library audio/OD First, this audiobook narrator is one that I generally don't like. She is sloooooow (and yes, I know I can speed up the audio) and usually her inflections of tone irritate me. For this book she seemed a little better, if still SO. SLOW. Still not my favorite, but I did listen when I was in the car or doing chores. Next. I should have followed my instinct and not picked up this book after I read the blurb. It just isn't really my sort of book at all, I can see where some hardcover/library audio/OD First, this audiobook narrator is one that I generally don't like. She is sloooooow (and yes, I know I can speed up the audio) and usually her inflections of tone irritate me. For this book she seemed a little better, if still SO. SLOW. Still not my favorite, but I did listen when I was in the car or doing chores. Next. I should have followed my instinct and not picked up this book after I read the blurb. It just isn't really my sort of book at all, I can see where some would love it more than I did, but you can see by how long it took me to read it (I listened to/read two other books while reading this one) that I didn't find it compelling. The book has some issues. There is a lot going on, so many story lines and points of view that it was confusing at times and when I have to stop and think who a character is every time their name appears then there are just too many people to follow. Between the lives left behind, husbands lost or left, colleagues from the past, new acquaintances...... It was overwhelming. The book is, I think, supposed to be read as part the first person narrative of Kit (poet/author resident of Tuscany) and her writing of a book about the three women who move in one fall. The point of view would sometimes change in a paragraph and I found myself having to go back and read over things because I wasn't sure whose perspective I was reading. I found Kit's story boring and the added storyline of the book she is writing about her deceased writer friend brought it down even more for me. I didn't really see how it tied in to the rest of the book, although Kit did try to link them by saying she is for the three women what Kit was for her. Ummm. Maybe? I really wanted to be intrigued and inspired by these women who up and move to a different country in their sixties (or nearly 60s), but I didn't find their stories all that compelling. Had the narrative given them more to overcome or more backstory to deal with I could see myself really eating that up. These women had normal lives, normal losses, lots of money, and really their naval gazing was irritating to me. Little indiscretions from their pasts come up, but feel thrown in to give them some bit of conflict with their lives so far. Like they are going through some big change in life, when I didn't really see a lot of growth. They were wealthy, retired and able to drop everything and go to a new country to live and adventure. Yay. I don't know. It just didn't work for me. This next bit is probably all me. I can see where a lot of people may disagree with me on this. I really dislike books where most of the writing has to do with all the author knows about a country, art, literature, poetry, food, life in general. ("I have learned and researched a lot on the subjects and now I want to share my self-indulgent feelings and perspectives on all of it! I know! I'll write a novel and share it all that way!") Probably 50% of this book was not story but detailed descriptions of any of the above, but they didn't serve to propel the narrative. It was a travelogue. The characters travel Italy and we read about it. The narrator is a poet/author and we read about it. Everyone in Italy is so open to the ART!!! We read about it. THE FOOD!!! We read about it. Yawn. There is some story in and around that, but not a story that kept me reading into the night or thinking about it when I wasn't reading. I should have quit it and wonder why I didn't. I was compelled to finish it more because of a personality quirk in me than the book's ability to grab my attention.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Christine Lussier

    I received a digital copy of Women In Sunlight from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I like some of Frances Mayes work, others, not so much. Women in Sunlight was a nice escape from the crazy February weather. Three random women meet at a senior living housing presentation, become unlikely friends & move to Italy. Kit & Colin are already living there, also from the States. The book jumps around depending on how the story is being told, which was a bit distracting at times. Kit is the ma I received a digital copy of Women In Sunlight from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I like some of Frances Mayes work, others, not so much. Women in Sunlight was a nice escape from the crazy February weather. Three random women meet at a senior living housing presentation, become unlikely friends & move to Italy. Kit & Colin are already living there, also from the States. The book jumps around depending on how the story is being told, which was a bit distracting at times. Kit is the main "speaker", but we also read about the women & learn some of their stories. The story flows at times, & lags at times. Kit is writing a book (attempting) on her deceased friend Margaret. Margaret could have been left out of the story completely & nothing would be missing, in my opinion. However, as a work of fiction, just go with it. Not as engaging to me as Under the Tuscan Sun (which I loved, the book, not the movie), but she does a great job with the description of the countryside & food. If you enjoy her stories, give it a try.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lois

    Escapist chic lit reading for baby boomers. The novel is crammed with descriptions of landscape, art, food, gardens, and Italian villages. The single older women each find a handsome available man or dance partner, and the younger woman is rewarded with an unexpected baby. All the men are gentle and supportive. An entertaining summer read that verges on fantasy.

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