This rather miserable little image is partly the result of my not being chez moi - don't like to fiddle too much with a strange Mac to get what I want. However, the book I've just finished reading, Late Season by Christobel Kent, was just what I wanted for a holiday read. This is the second book I've recently read by this author, the other being "The Summer House". Both are set in Tuscany, and both show a dark side of the backdrop to a thousand holidays.
Kent uses an obvious but nonetheless successful technique in both novels - and perhaps in others. Each follows two stories - one of incomers to the region, one of the residents who observe them. This allows for the two viewpoints to develop, increasing our interest as we wait to learn how the characters will eventually interact. She uses the device of flashback to flesh out the characters, and in "Late Season" a certain suspension of disbelief is asked of the reader as the denouement reveals convoluted relationships. But the end-of-season sadness, present even as the sun shines, is beautifully captured, the details of life in a holiday house real and compelling, and the tensions among a group of friends, one of whom is dead a year before the story opens, subtly developed.
Kent writes well and tells a good tale. The result is an above-average holiday read. All right, all right - I know you're all back at work!