Review: The Book of Love by Phillipa Fioretti

Title: The Book of Love

Author: Phillipa Fioretti

Published: Hatchette Australia April 2010

Synopsis: Lily, a queen of style in retro clothes, and Robbie, her boyfriend, run a second-hand bookshop in Sydney. In a shipment of old books from Nairobi, Robbie discovers a rare French book of ancient Roman erotica. With only four copies in existence, and valued at twenty million dollars, he is determined to sell it despite Lily’s suggestion that they return it to the Italian government.  Days later, William, a dashing Russian employed by a fine arts firm in London to retrieve stolen art works, arrives at the shop. Robbie refuses to hand over the book, and disappears, taking his and Lily’s life savings with him. What follows is a funny, witty romantic comedy that takes readers from Sydney to Rome, in a whirlwind of pretty dresses (on Lily), daring actions (by William) and clever dialogue… ‘First rule of travel – never walk past a toilet without using it.

Status: Read from November 28 to 29, 2011 — I own a copy {Courtesy the author/Hachette Australia}

My Thoughts:

The Book of Love is a contemporary tale of romance, mystery, adventure and comedy. Partners, Lily and Robbie, own an antiquarian bookshop in Sydney Australia. When Robbie discovers a rare book worth twenty million dollars amongst the boxes of second hand books purchased at a Nairobi market, he is determined to sell it and disappears leaving Lily broke and at the mercy of William, a fine arts broker, as well as shadowy figures who are determined to claim the book. In pursuit of Robbie, Lily and William travel to Rome but what they find is more valuable than a rare book.
Despite its contemporary setting, the Book of Love is reminiscent of classic black and white films starring Audrey Hepburn, a mix of Charade, Roman Holiday and How to Steal a Million. In fact I envision Lily looking a lot like Audrey Hepburn given her penchant for vintage dresses. Lily is a surprisingly complex character with a difficult past she has struggled to overcome and trapped in a bad relationship with the faithless Robbie out of obligation rather than love. She has low self esteem which causes her to doubt herself at every turn though she slowly begins to rebuild her self confidence over the course of the novel.
William, though Russian, I imagine to look like a young Sean Connery though with a posh English accent. I liked his principled character and admired his belief in honour and duty. He is certainly a wiser choice for Lily than the feckless Robbie who is casually selfish and cruel.
Though it is a bit of a slow start, the book picks up the pace as the chase begins. Fioretti maintains the tension as Lily and William try to evade other parties interested in the book and find Robbie before he sells the book. Naturally there are several romantic misunderstandings between Lily and William that threaten their burgeoning relationship – Lily lacks the confidence in her intuition and William is determined to do the right thing by her.
The Book Of Love is a well written, entertaining and charming debut novel by a Australian author Phillipa Fioretti. Lily and Williams story is continued in The Fragment of Dreams (review to come).


About the Author

Phillipa Fioretti was born in Sydney and studied Humanities, Visual Arts and Museum Studies and went on to work and exhibit as a printmaker, as well as teaching part time at tertiary level. She currently writes full time and was selected for participation in the 2008 Hachette Australia/Queensland Writers Centre Manuscript Development Program. Phillipa is married with two children and lives in Adelaide.

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Available to Purchase

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: AWW Feature & Giveaway: Phillipa Fioretti, For One Night Only | book'd out

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