"What is that hard to define quality that makes a book memorable? Is it complex and interesting characters? Is it a captivating plot with unexpected twists and turns? Maybe it's the setting and the "feel" of the book. Or, perhaps, it's the ability to connect with the story, tap into that magical "relatability" factor that lingers long after the last page has been read.
Any one of these elements is vital to a story, but rarely do we find books that have all of these qualities. However, The Only Way to Paradise is such a book."-Michele Bell, Best-Selling Romance Author. (Five Stars)
A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
In this novel, four women find refuge in the little heaven that is called Residenza Betta in Florence. Though they are figments of my imagination, the Residenza is not.
Elisabetta, her son Cosimo, and his lovely Adriana are all very real and very dear to me.
They are my second family, and I miss them when we are apart.
"Betta" insists on mothering me, though I am the age of her own mother. An act that typifies her is when she picked up an opera ticket for me on her motorscooter in the rain when I could have gotten it for myself.
She feeds me, she scolds me, and she surveys all my purchases to make certain I haven't been cheated.
Cosimo is now in another hotel, learning his trade, even though he could make much more money as a gorgeous Italian actor. I tell Adriana, his fiancée, to keep him away from Hollywood.
The lovely Adriana is a 21st century incarnation of Renaissance artist Fra. Fillipo Lippi's atypical Madonna model.
She is tall and slender, fair with beautiful brown eyes.
My son took one look at her and said, "If things don't work out with Cosimo, I'm your man."
Adriana and I tell each other our secrets and giggle together like sisters.
Milano 25 is a real taxi and you can read about its amazing driver on the Internet.
Lastly, I did fall on the concrete pavement, and was treated just as gently by a much younger version of Roberto.
I believe agape
is a genetic component of all Italians.
I write this in this happy house that has given me so much pleasure in Florence.