The synopsis of this new book releasing in March caught my attention, and I was really looking forward to reading it. One marketing blurb proclaimed that it was a great pick for fans of Beautiful Ruins. I loved Beautiful Ruins so I decided to give The Italian Party a chance. Unfortunately, this book fell short for me. In fact, it is my first official DNF (did not finish) of 2018.
Before I get into where this book went wrong for me, let me first say that I hate not finishing books. I always hope they will get better, but after 100 or more pages of a book, I should be hooked, or at least intrigued enough to keep reading. Unfortunately, The Italian Party just didn’t hook me.
The story is set in 1950’s Italy and centers around two young newlywed Americans, beautiful Scottie and her clean-cut husband, Michael. The two move to Italy, and we quickly learn that they don’t really know that much about each other. In fact, both Scottie and Michael are keeping big secrets from one another. This was all very intriguing, and I really, really wanted to get hooked on this story. But I think the writing style just wasn’t right for me.
The book is written in chapters of course but each chapter is broken up into smaller sections. While this kind of “mini chapter” writing appeals to many readers, it doesn’t to me. Sure, I like short chapters just as much as the next person. It’s easy to sneak in a chapter or two on a lunch break or before bed. But for me, a book needs to either have short chapters or long chapters. I don’t like chapters that are broken up into section after section after section.
Another issue for me was the writing. There was a lot of telling and very little showing. I’ve previously written a blog post about showing vs. telling when writing, and this is a classic example. While this story was intriguing and I wanted to be drawn into it, I just couldn’t get there. I wanted to really understand how Scottie and Michael felt instead of just reading descriptions of their physical features and being told what they were feeling. They were always scared, nervous, confused, happy, etc. But there was no showing of these emotions, nothing to draw me in or make the characters relatable.
So it was a miss for me. But I will say I have read several reviews of this book in which readers just raved about it. So I say give it a shot and see if you enjoy it.
I received an advance reader copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.