I loveeee to read and there are many books I can read nonstop for days on end but The Italian Girl has got to be up there with my top 5 books ever. If anything is proof that love and obsession go hand and hand it is this book. Yeah I know, it’s fiction but the way the story unfolds it’s as though you’re watching these characters live instead of reading about them.
Lucinda Riley has literally produced a masterpiece through her portrayal of Rosanna and Roberto. Riley takes her reader on a journey through the world, beginning in a humble Italian town she then thrusts her protagonist into stardom and allows her to be a part of some of the greatest cities in the world; from London to Paris to New York, Milan and more.
The novel spans almost 20 years, written as a letter from Rosanna to her son Nico and the twists, turns and betrayals which the characters are faced with are fitting for a novel set in the operatic world. It may be strange but the level of description used makes one feel that they are present in Rosanna and Roberto’s shows and that we are able to hear them sing and see their love and passion grow. But with love comes hatred and Riley warns her audience of the fine line between love and hate. A fine line which is the novel’s main theme, along with the idea of an obsessive, selfish love. Despite this there is happiness in the story, perhaps not for the main characters but the love which the minor characters share is enough to bring a tear to anyone’s eye.
The Italian Girl is not exactly a unique story – in fact I’m sure I saw a Bollywood film which mirrored the narrative – but it is written and executed in such a way that for me it’s up there with the stories by the Margaret Mitchell’s of the world.