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A Perfect 10
ISBN: 9780063321311
July 2023 

Florence, Italy - World War II and 2019


Tori MacNair has left her husband, Duncan, and their farm, and his emotional cruelty. Learning that upon the death of her beloved grandmother Duncan had withheld an invitation to a memorial vigil, Tori came to the realization that enough is enough. Her husband's constant control of her life, his degrading comments about her, and his excuses as to why she couldn't travel to visit her family have come to a boiling point for Tori. With the money her grandmother has left to her, Tori packs her bags and flies off to Florence where the memories of her trips there with her grandmother are vivid. The only problem is that she is contracted to write a book about her life in the Highlands as a laird's lady. So, that's not going to happen. She'll need to explain this to her agent, and hopefully come up with a substitute topic.

1944 -

Stella Infuriati is in her early teens, but without her parents' knowledge, she is secretly helping the Resistance in her little town in Italy. She and her brother Achille are just a small part of the locals who are doing what they can to foil the Nazis. But it is dangerous work, and the ultimate penalty is death, and they all know this. For Stella, it's also a way to escape the hurt of knowing that her mother and father are much more devoted to her brother than they are to her. They both, however, survive the war, and Achille becomes a famous race car driver, but Stella just disappears, leaving no trace of her existence.

2019 -

Tori's determination to remain in Italy requires that she apply for rights to rent an apartment, as well as have a solid income to live on. With the help of her realtor, Chiara, Tori is introduced to a local attorney, Marco, who begins to assist with the mountains of paperwork required by the Italian government. Tori is also encouraged by her agent in the UK to do some background work on her grandmother's attachment to Italy, and to the famous race car driver that she loved. There is also the distasteful but necessary need to divorce Duncan, and to reconcile herself with her new life. Tori and Marco strike up a tentative relationship, which complicates matters a bit. Tori's anxiety, and her lack of self-esteem thanks to Duncan, are issues that pop up as she grapples with her feelings for Marco. But there is the mystery of her grandmother's life in Florence, the friends she visited there, and the girl who disappeared after the war that keeps Tori from dwelling on her problems. 

ESCAPE TO FLORENCE is a debut novel that is undeniably a winner. Readers will immediately get drawn into the fascinating story of Stella, and to embrace Tori's personal life as she works to change her life. Beautifully written, a page turner, and an interesting historical background make ESCAPE TO FLORENCE a Perfect 10 for me.

Jani Brooks

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