I had mixed feelings about this book. Clearly, Frances Mayes is a talented writer. She has an amazing ability to portray her travel experiences with poetic narrative, a talent not all writers possess. As much as I enjoyed her writing style, however, I found myself skimming through much of this book, particularly where food was the main focus, perhaps due to the fact that I do not cook much. Her descriptions of the life and food of Tuscany did not make me yearn to cook, but it did make me hunger for Italian food and to visit the country someday. I did thoroughly enjoy reading of the restoration mishaps, as I have had some experience with do-it-yourself projects gone awry myself! If you enjoy books about travel and cooking, you may enjoy this book. I highly recommend the movie starring Diane Lane, loved it!
I absolutely loved this book and have another copy on my keeper shelf! I think this is a must-read for anyone who loves travelogues or Italy. Just be warned...reading this book will make you hungry for food you can't find easily in this country!
Betsy G. reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on
Helpful Score: 5
This book was delightful to me. I am interested in history, gardening, cooking, and fixing old houses, and Frances Mayes weaves all these together in this story of her home in Tuscany. Almost like going on vacation.
This book really pulls you right into the experiences of Frances Mayes and her journey spending summers in Italy restoring a 200 year villa located on 200 acres of land complete with olive trees, pear trees and everythign else that can be found under the sun. The book is written in such a way that you feel that you are right there with her. I happened to read it during the summertime and was inspired to FINALLY plant my own herb and vegetable garden. Recommended read!
Not at all like the movie... it is a true story though. The writer describes the landscape and life in Tuscany in a way that makes you feel you have been there yourself. There are some awesome recipes included throughout the book.
Frances Nayes opens the door on a new world when she buys and renovates an abandoned villa in Tuscan. She takes the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. She also creates dozens of seasonal recipes in her kitchen and includes them in this book.
If a great, big helping of the warmth and beauty of Italy is what you crave, then dont skip on the satisfying treat of Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. It is a delightfully alluring memoir about an American couple who revives an old farmhouse in Italy. Mayes serves generous descriptions of the splendor of Tuscany and blends it together with a remodeling undertaking, and the pleasure of simply delicious Italian meals. If you've seen the movie first, you may be slightly disappointed. While the book and the movie are mostly similar in the renovations and the culinary feasts, the greatest difference is that the authors journey is not a quest to find herself; she was already further along that road in the book. Frances Mayes buys the home with her husband and together they renovate the farmhouse while delving into a quiet, Italian existence. Read other reviews at http://readinginthegarden.blogspot.com
I loved reading this book. Europe has always been my future and nothing would be better than recreating a part of its past. plus, reading this it made me really hungry because she was cooking seeminly delightful treats all the time!
One of the best books I have ever read, this one will be on my "keeper" shelf! I could feel the heat, hear the voices, and taste the oh-so-perfect food that seems to be the fuel of the entire country...the currency of Italy lies in its food, and in its history, and when the two combine, there is nothing more delightful. If you have an interest in seeing the "real" Italy, not what you find in the tourist brochures, I highly recommend this book.
ISBN 0767900383 - As a fan of lists, I'm always curious about books that make bestseller lists. I rarely read them, but I'm always curious. This was the case with Under the Tuscan Sun until a rather beat-up, unsellable copy fell into my hands. My curiosity, but little else, has been satisfied.
A recap of the plotline is usually the second paragraph for me. The trouble here is that this book doesn't actually have a plotline. The author and her boyfriend bought a house in Tuscany, living there during the summer and restore it and the land around it. Seriously, that's it: no actual point, no build up, not a character to root for (although there were moments I admit to rooting for the house to fall down on them, just to liven things up). So much for the recap!
Beautifully written, Under the Tuscan Sun isn't without redeeming qualities. Tuscany sounds like a bit of Heaven on Earth and Mayes, reputed to be a good cook, turns out to be a decent writer, at least so far as descriptive writing goes. A few short sections are even well-done humor. For that, the richness of language, the way you can nearly smell the food and hear the quiet of the countryside, for that, Mayes gets 5 stars. For boring me nearly to death, ZERO stars! An average of 3 stars seems a reasonable compromise. There are definitely readers for this type of book, I just happen to not be one of them. If you're looking for a relaxing read, this one certainly fits your needs; if you want a storyline, something more exciting than recipes, this book is a snore - if your blood flowed to the rhythm of this book, you'd be dead.
Under the Tuscan Sun is one of my all time favorite movies- I mean, who among us hasn't imagined making a huge change in their life that includes making the move to a beautiful place like Italy? I guess I was under the impression that this book was an expanded version of the movie. Well, its expanded, but it isn't that much like the movie. The book is a diary of the author's experiences in remodeling the house and becoming familiar with the Tuscan countryside around her. If you have seen the movie, you will recognize bits and pieces, but you find them totally not in the same context as the movie. For instance: the author is married so she isn't overseeing all the remodeling by herself. THAT made me sad as I had always seen the Frances of the movie, played by Diane Lane, as a bit of an inspiration- maybe I could also do it alone. Knowing she didn't really do it alone kind of takes the wind out of my sails leaving me feeling (once again) doubtful and incompetent.
Frances Mayes writes beautifully so the book is beautiful. But if you are a total romantic and a big fan of the movie, you may come away from the book feeling a little disappointed. Better to read it prior to seeing the movie.
Lori C. (rotza) reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on
Helpful Score: 1
Although I enjoyed the movie, I loved the book ..... THEY ARE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!!! This book is about remodeling mishaps, language barriers, and amazing details about a beautiful country and it's people. F. Mayes' writings make you feel as if you've gone to Tuscany! This is a great read!
Thoroughly absorbing for anyone in love with beautiful European locales and restoring romantic old houses and gardens. Occasionally Mayes lets her own sense of romance run away with her resulting in an overblown turn of phrase or a self-consciously twee sentence, but given her surrounding we forgive this as understandable.
When I first started reading this book, I was disappointed because it wasn't funny like "A Year in Provence" which has a similar theme. However, once I got over that, I began to appreciate this book and grew to love it. I was sorry when it was over. Lovely look at what it's like to pick up and move to Italy even though everyone thinks you're crazy. Don't think it's like the wretched movie. It's much better.
Very good book, great recipes! I watched the movie first, so if you've done the same, you may be a little disappointed, because the book is more in-depth into the author's experience in Italy than the dramatized version of her life shown in the movie. But I loved the movie, so I got the book!
The true account of Frances Mayes life in Tuscany. Her writings describe her life with such imagry that you almost feel like you are there with her. This is a true account, unlike the movie. I really enjoyed it.
Generally speaking I'm usually thrilled with reading the book a good movie was made out of, but this book had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MOVIE. Yes, the main character was a woman, yes she was in Tuscany, and yes she fixed a house, but that's about all the two had in common.
If you're a fan of stream-of-consciousness style writing, you'll love this: it's like being stuck in someone's head. Before you jump on the bandwagon, though, if you don't usually read that style, think about YOUR average daily thoughts.
If you saw the movie, you still need to read the book, which is completely different. The book will make you want to chuck it all and move to Italy and live the charmed life (just make sure you have boatloads of money). Truly delightful, and will make you envious.
Read the book before you watch the movie or you will be extremely disappointed. After seeing the wonderful movie, I was excited to find out it was based on a book. The book and the movie are as different as night and day. The movie is fast paced, the book, a very slow read.
An intense celebration of what Mayes calls the voluptuousness of Italian life'...appealing and very vivid..The book seems like the kind of thing you's tuck into a picnic basket on an August day...or better yet, keep handy on the bedside table in the depths of January.
I liked this book, but several of my friends did not. I didn't see the movie, but apparently it's NOTHING like the movie. It's basically a memoir of her time as she and her boyfriend buy a house in Tuscany. It provides a great description of Italian food and the countryside. It's got several recipes included and is sometimes sold in the travel section of book stores.
I LOVED the movie (with Diane Lane) - and although the movie did take some of the aspects of the book, the book is definitely NOT the movie. However, Frances' imagery is absolutely amazing - her descriptions transport you to Tuscany!
It was very entertaining, and intersting to read. I think Women will appreciate the story better than men - but, who knows? Well written and descriptive; the reader is transported to Tuscany and all it's passions; food, love, the land, the scenery, the culture. Yummy.
I absolutely loved this book! It was great reading before going to bed, a fantastic book to wind down with.
Before reading it I was under the impression it was a humor book. I didn't find it funny nor do I think it is supposed to be funny.
It is a wonderful memoir about the author falling in love with a place and finding a connection to a home, a summer home in Tuscany (she didn't have that same feeling of 'home' with her apartment in the city).
After reading the book I watched part of the movie but had to shut it off---the movie was nothing like the book with different story lines altogether and very different but not in a good way.
The movie by the same name was based loosely on this book. It was interesting to see how the different facts came out in the movie in a slightly different slant. Also gave a wonderful picture of "another life".
tani reviewed Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy on
Helpful Score: 1
This is a wonderful and heartwarming book, though it is nothing more than the story of a couple who bought an old farmhouse in Tuscany, Italy, and renovated it to live in it for part of each year. Parts are funny, other parts give insight into Italians and Italian life, and there are some mouth-watering Tuscan recipes.
I guess I expected this book to be more of a story than it was. Having lived in Italy for 3 years as a service member, and learned to speak Italian, the descriptions of the people and the towns were pretty accurate. I don't think the decription of the attitude of the contractors was accurate though. I found Italians are a hard working, generous people who enjoy life with gusto. This book seems more bragging about how much money they have to spend than anything else and how many "famous" people they know. The recipies are wonderful, IF you love to cook. Overall, it was dissapointing and boring.
I personally found it annoying to read about someone else's travels in this Tuscan paradise. It was more about the country and the food than having a particular plot that sucked me in. It's like listening to your neighbors talk about their Italian vacation. Great, when do I get to go?
Most important - read the book on its own merits - it is nothing like the movie. Dig in and enjoy being transported to a world you can only imagine being able to afford... buying an old, dilapidated home in central Italy that you get to transform into a dream home to live in every summer. Her descriptions of the Italian villages, countryside and foods will leave you truly yearning to visit.
I suppose I should have read the book before I watched the movie. I absolutely love the movie but I thought the book left a lot to be desired. I couldn't get through the entire book. I tried but quickly lost interested. I'm glad to see that so many people enjoyed it but for me; I'll stick with the movie.
So I saw the title and thought, "what a great movie, I bet the book will be awesome." Needless to say, they were nothing alike, but I was pleasantly surprised, surprised to find that I would actually enjoy a book like this. I always wanted to go to Italy and this book just established that want even more. Loved it!!!
This book was very boring to me...I didn't even make it halfway through. I actually enjoyed the movie more with its metaphors of rebirth and second chances; however, the book is nothing like the movie. Although it beautifully describes Italy and is wonderfully descriptive, it is not a book that held my attention. I need a story. I don't want to read pages and pages of descriptions.
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes has long been on my to read list. Unfortunately, though, I found it really challenging to stay engaged in this meandering memoir. Some paragraphs and phrases capture my attention because they capture a certain beauty. For the most part, though, the book reflects a stream of consciousness journal and travelogue, and I can only read so much of that.
Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2016/12/under-tuscan-sun.html
Reviewed for the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.
Main character is a poet, travel writer and gourmet cook (there are some recipes in the book). She ends of buying a villa in Tuscany. Per USA Today - "This beautifully written memoir about taking chances, living in Italy, loving a house and, always, the pleasures of food, would make a perfect gift for a loved one. But it's so delicious, read it first yourself."
I have not read the book myself, but have seen the movie (loved it) that is based on it - "Under the Tuscan Sun", starring Diane Lane.
I did not read this book straight through. It was a book to savor and digest. I read part of it, read another book, then came back to this one, read another book, and then finished this book. However, I loved the language and descriptions which the author used. Sometimes I felt truly transported to another place; as if I were revisiting a beloved country, though I've never been there. As a Southerner, Mayes' comparison of Tuscany to Georgia resonated as being true to me. A sense of place and home is a rare gift, and Mayes shares it well. I enjoyed her description of foods, but did not read the recipes and have no plans to try to cook any of them. But I'm sure an adventerous cook would have a lot of fun with the dishes in this book. A long, cozy read - to be savored like a fine glass of wine.
There are only a handful of books that I started and never finished, this was one of them. It's a great story, buying a house in Italy and restoring it. But I really don't care about what paint you chose that you talked about for 4 pages. And how you dug up some pots in the back yard that you have now restored. She talks about going to the market to buy fresh produce in every chapeter. We understand that the tomatos are the freshest you have ever seen. Whop-di-do.
"Frances Mayes presents a sensual celebration of Tuscany with hypnotic descriptions of culinary bliss and everyday rituals on long days when she savors the sun. This is creative writing heaven! She is not only a best-selling author, widely published poet and gourmet cook; she is also a travel writer who can describe lands and culture in sensuous and evocative language.
Halfway into the book, I became heady with the desire to just run away to Tuscany. I want to write like her, I want to think like her, I am intoxicated by her creativity." amazon review
From the cover:
"Frances Mayes opens the door to a wondrous new world when she buys and renovates an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. In sensous and evocative language, she brings the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. An accomplished cook and food writer, Mayes also creates dozens of delicious seasonal recipes from her traditional kidtchen and simple gard, all of which she includes in the book. A celectration of the extraordinary quality of life in Tuscany, Under the Tuscan Sun is a feast for all the senses."