Monday, 7 May 2012

Dang! What a review!

Divorce, Milan Style By Rome-based blogger aka Erica Firpo, freelance journalist (Huffington Post, NYTimes Intransit Blog, The Guardian UK Rome's City Guide)

A few weeks ago, I received a request to review Australian writer Catherine McNamara’s debut novel “The Divorced Lady’s Companion to Living in Italy”. To be honest and even though I was flattered that finally I was invited to review a book of fiction (keep ‘em coming!), I was hesitant, thinking that perhaps this was a Lombard cousin of Under the Tuscan Sun, where the protagonist would renovate a fashion house instead of a farm house. Then I reread the last line of McNamara’s blurb:

But sexy glamorous Milan is about as unfeeling as a Prada bag.

Dang. That’s harsh. And anyone willing to write that sentence must have a sense of humor. The Divorced Lady’s Companion is fast-paced, snarky and deliciously humorous. In a nutshell, its the story of Londoner Marilyn Wade who post-40 divorce sends her spiraling down to Milan to follow the seemingly charmed reincarnation of an old and somewhat mythic acquaintance. Language problems, fake friendships, a psychic, Italian boyfriends, S & M, shopping and ex-husbands are the expected hijinks, and McNamara writes them quite well. For all the pitfalls, misguidance and naivete as Marilyn traipses through Milan, she is as endearing as she is persistent in getting further away from her divorce. She doesn’t see Milan through rose-colored glasses- if anything, she sees it through the bottom of a shot of grappa: slightly bitter, definitely strong and with a necessary buzz. Divorce and Milan are just supporting cast to showing how a mid-40s woman can grow up and out just a bit. McNamara’s writing had me laughing out loud at Marilyn’s hijinks and their impossibilities. Unrealistic? Absolutely and not at all, remember this is Italy and the impossible does often happen. Combined with exaggerated yet plausible stereotypes of women and men, whether British, Italian or otherwise, the Divorced Lady’s Companion is fun, aggressive and definitely a page turner– with a sneaky bit of “slice of life”, Milan style. The Divorced Lady’s Companion to Living in Italy Indigo Dreams Publishing, April 2012 Read it.


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Read my guest post Living in Translation on Talli Roland's super cool blog and learn when NOT to ask whether there are any condoms in the jam


  1. OMG! What an AMAZING review!!! Congratulations!!

  2. Dang! What a review!
    Dang! What a book!

    1. Thanks Downith! I'm looking forward to reading yours sometime in the future too!

  3. Fantastic! And so well deserved!


  4. Fantastic - I'm sure you feel pretty good right now!!

    Thank you so much for the autographed copy of your novel!! I am SO LOOKING FORWARD to reading it!! Just picked it up today.

    Congratulations, Ingrid

    1. Thanks Ingrid! I so hope you enjoy the read. Sit back, relax and get ready for one crazy ride through Italy! Xcat

  5. Hi Catherine
    I've posted a short review of your book on my blog today. You can read it here:

    Thanks for a great read

  6. Thanks for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your further write.