Frances Mayes






Broadway Books, 2006
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
Frances Mayes was the real life inspiration for the movie UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN. Mayes' travel book, by the same title, featured the story of her famous trip to Italy. Her new book, A YEAR IN THE WORLD, is a travelogue of a series of trips she has taken in one year. The chapters are divided by her exotic destinations: Spain, Portugal, Italy, Morocco, Greece, Crete, The British Isles, Scotland, Turkey and Naples.
A YEAR IN THE WORLD is an interesting way to see faraway places, through Frances Mayes' eyes. She captures the spirit of enchanting destinations and immerses readers in the scent of their foods, history, gardens, architecture and colors. Her descriptions are vivid and the people she encounters along the way open a fascinating doorway into foreign cultures. Her husband Ed, and old friends they sometimes share lodging with, bring a comfortable quality to the locations and experiences. The food and wine are a strong feature throughout her travels. She even includes a few recipes to tempt readers.
Mayes has an easy writing style that draws you into her adventures. Her experience of places frequently evokes a reference to poetry and literature -- like THE SECRET GARDEN as she sits in a garden in Scotland or THE SHELTERING SKY while in Fez.
A YEAR IN THE WORLD is a wonderful choice to take on vacation or to read when you feel like getting away. It can be read slowly since it is structured in such a way that you can put the book down and come back to it whenever the mood to travel comes over you.
April 2006


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