Love in a Tuscan villa

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I chose today's book, Love Falls (HarperCollins, 304 pages, $13.95), because I was intrigued that the author, Esther Freud, is Sigmund Freud's great-granddaughter; also because the main character, Lara Riley, is of my era.

Love Falls

Lara is 17 in the summer of 1981, when Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer. I was also a teenager that summer — but that's where the similarities end. I, for example, am not British and was not whisked off to Italy by my reclusive father to spend the summer at a Tuscan estate, where I then spent my days adventuring with the Willoughbys next door and falling in love with the family heir, Kip.

Lara (yes, named for the Doctor Zhivago character) is no stranger to adventure — she traipsed through India, Greece, Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan with her mother — but getting to know her father and in turn some of her family's secrets is an experience she had not anticipated when her father casually asked her to join him.

The coming of age story is engaging and amusing and adequate escapism, but aside from knowing it's the 1980s, I never got a sense of it; the characters could have been living in the 1920s or '40s or '60s for all I knew.

Love Falls is Freud's sixth novel; she is most known for 1992's Hideous Kinky, upon which the 1998 film starring Kate Winslet was based.

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I often wonder how long it would have taken Dorothy Parker, the "Constant Reader" of The New Yorker, to unsheath her talons on the unsavory avalanche of "coming of age" books which ceaselessly masquerades as literature these days. Quoting Dottie on a particularly saccharine children's book, "Tonstant Weader fowed up".

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This page contains a single entry by Teresa Budasi published on December 20, 2007 7:28 AM.

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