To Tuscany with Love (Paperback)

By Gail Mencini

Capriole Group, 9781938592003, 398pp.

Publication Date: August 10, 2020

List Price: 16.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

Can one college semester abroad change the course of a person's life?


Bella Rossini longs for a large family and close friends-two things she has never known. Bella thinks she can handle anything until her mother sends her to Italy for a semester abroad and she finds herself living with seven strangers in a foreign country.


Hope, Bella's likeable roommate for the summer, and the "perfect" twins, Karen and Meghan, quickly become Bella's friends. The guys-Stillman, Phillip, Rune, and Lee-are a mystery to Bella and come from backgrounds as different as their personalities. Stillman, haunted by a hard past, and Phillip, an athlete, are both fueled by competition. Studious Lee is a pre-med student by family mandate, and Rune, who tries to romance all the ladies, is a Hollywood-bound wild child.


These eight college students come together with sizzling chemistry and rebellious humor. In one whirlwind summer, while uncovering the charms of Italy, they discover both friendship and love.


After their summer together, life - and loss - happens.


Thirty years later, Bella receives a mysterious invitation for a reunion of that college semester abroad. She has a score to settle and a dream to pursue. In Tuscany once again, Bella realizes that she is not the only one with secrets, unfulfilled dreams, disappointments, and anger. Bella and her classmates plunge on a startling collision course that none of them could have predicted.


Set against the allure of Tuscany, with an irresistible fusion of heartbreak and humor, this debut novel, "To Tuscany with Love," explores the fear of letting the past determine the future, the promise of new beginnings, and the power of friendship.



Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

Discuss the goals of each of the characters as they return for their reunion: redemption, forgiveness, retribution, escape, inspiration, opportunity for a new direction, and reuniting with a lost love are all possibilities to contemplate.


How do the events during and immediately following their college semester abroad shape Bella’s future?


Discuss the reasons why people might stay in relationships that are destructive or unfulfilling.


Consider the good and bad life choices the characters make and how that impacts not only them, but also others.


Karen and Lee each acted in an inappropriate or “wrong” manner. Discuss how their actions might have helped one or more of their friends in the long run.


How do the characters each grow as a person during the course of the novel?


For each character, discuss whether the group’s friendship impacted the characters’ individual growth during their semester abroad, later during their reunion, or during both periods of time.


Stillman’s childhood molded his future in more than one way. Discuss how his future was shaped by his past, whether you would have made similar choices or not, and why.


Consider the varying reactions of the characters to stresses and disappointments in their lives.


What specific event or element of each character’s past do they fear will guide their future? (This could be an event, the continued search for an unfulfilled goal, or their previous mistakes.)


Consider how the individual characters were positively and negatively impacted by the existence of, or their need for, a family.


Compare how the characters’ different backgrounds impacted their lives, goals, and personalities.


Consider the importance of friends in your life and how they impact you during different ages.


Discuss reunions and your own fears and hopes when attending one.


Share your favorite or least favorite reunion story with your group.