A multi-author collaboration from the pen-name Olivia Hart is on the blog today. Please read on for my review of
Best described as a snapshot read, this multiple perspective, multiple character story is set in a small apartment complex in Rome. Each of the apartments’ residents has a say in the story – some move rapidly with plenty of action, others are more slow reveals of just moments in time. Overall, the story was pleasant to read, if disjointed, as each character’s story was broken into specific moments. A gay couple, a single older man, a young family with a particularly nosy wife, a photographer who is subletting his space to a musician, and the widow with her adult daughter. The sense of everyone being involved in and commenting to the comings and goings and moods bring a slight sense of insularity and small town feel, even in the midst of a very busy Roman suburb.
There are romances and secrets, drama and everyday life playing out on the page: and while it wasn’t a read in one sitting story that demanded my attention, the story was reasonably well-written, even as the multiple cut ins and out to display all the perspectives and moments was horribly distracting. It was hard to find any one character that jumped out as much or as clearly as Anita – but she also captured the most page time with her hidden romance with a Japanese man several years her elder, the return of her first love and her toxic ‘friendship’ with one of the most vapid and vindictive ‘friends’ I’ve ever met.
While I think this story would have been far more successful with less ‘input’ from the multiple characters as they competed for attention with loosely developed stories and no measurable growth, the stand out moments from the story were the immature and often overly emotional reactions from Anita – and her constant state of confusion. Perfect for a pool-side read where attention can be split between an acceptably written if not wholly engaging story and life as it happens around you.
Title: Upstairs, Downstairs
Author: Olivia Hart
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Setting: Italy
Published by: Aria
Published on: 1 October, 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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Secrets on your doorstep don't stay secret for long... A romantic comedy perfect for fans of of Debbie Johnson and Holly Martin.
When Daniele Bracci – a musician at Rome's Opera Theatre arrives at his new apartment, he is surprised by the warm welcome he receives from his neighbours. Giovanna however, is more preoccupied with introducing him to her daughter Anita. But what she doesn't know is that for the last two years, Anita has been secretly seeing someone else.
When Anita is introduced to the new tenant, she has the shock of her life – Daniele was Anita's first love at high school. Can she come to terms with the terrible way things ended between them?
But Anita isn't the only one with something to hide... and none of these secrets go unnoticed by Pina, the apartment gossip who writes everything down in her secret diary...
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: