The Italian Party by Christina Lynch Book Review
The Lowdown from Goodreads
Publication Date: March 20, 2018
A delicious and sharply funny page-turner about “innocent” Americans abroad in 1950s Siena, Italy. Newly married, Scottie and Michael are seduced by Tuscany’s famous beauty. But the secrets they are keeping from each other force them beneath the splendid surface to a more complex view of ltaly, America and each other.
When Scottie’s Italian teacher–a teenager with secrets of his own–disappears, her search for him leads her to discover other, darker truths about herself, her husband and her country. Michael’s dedication to saving the world from communism crumbles as he begins to see that he is a pawn in a much different game. Driven apart by lies, Michael and Scottie must find their way through a maze of history, memory, hate and love to a new kind of complicated truth.
The Italian Party By Christina Lynch Book Review
I, like many others, have a romanticized view of the Italian countryside, and I am a little obsessed. I have watched Stealing Beauty, Cinema Paradiso and Under the Tuscan Sun a thousand times. It was one of the reasons I fell in love with the second season of Master of None. Just recently I watched Call Me by Your Name, and I was in awe of the landscape. I think it is not just the beauty, but the lifestyle. Long lunches, late dinners, and an appreciation for language, art and relaxation are things that I feel I need to respect more here in America. A couple of years ago I read The House at The Edge of Night by Catherine Banner, and was totally lost in her fictional Italian Isle. Now The Italian Party has me yearning for a trip to Siena.
The book opens with Michael and Scottie, newlyweds on the first day of their new life in post-war 1950’s Italy. Though they seem eager and innocent at first, we quickly learn that both are harboring secrets from each other. Michael, a Ford tractor salesman, is actually a spy for the CIA, fighting communism and promoting capitalism. He has another secret he is keeping from his seemingly innocent, naive wife as well. Scottie is young and gorgeous, with a biting sense of humor. She is keeping a big secret from her husband too. Both are in love with the idea of each other and the idea of marriage, but neither knows what it takes to be in a real relationship.
The plot thickens when a teenager, Robertino, friend and Italian language teacher of Scottie and local “informant” to Michael, disappears. The search for him and the discovery of each other had me mesmerized. The book was also surprisingly funny, and I found myself chuckling here and there. There are so many pieces to this story, and it is incredibly fun to continue uncovering secrets. This book is about the facade, the facade everyone puts up to hide. The facade that countries present to justify their actions. The thing is, it doesn’t take much for these covers to unravel if you pay attention.
I am Really Into The Italian Party by Christina Lynch. I love historical fiction, politics, gossip and the romance of the Italian countryside, and this book had them all. Lynch had me never wanting to leave her world of 1950’s Siena, and I found myself looking up pictures of the city at that time to further immerse myself in the culture. It is an important look at America’s war on communism and its relationship with other countries. This book was fun, sexy, romantic, mysterious and I couldn’t put it down. I just regret not sitting in the Italian Countryside while drinking cappuccino (only before noon) while I read it.
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Christina Lynch’s picaresque journey includes chapters in Chicago and at Harvard, where she was an editor on the Harvard Lampoon. She was the Milan correspondent for W magazine and Women’s Wear Daily, and disappeared for four years in Tuscany. In L.A. she was on the writing staff of Unhappily Ever After; Encore, Encore; The Dead Zone and Wildfire. She now lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. She is the co-author of two novels under the pen name Magnus Flyte and she teaches at College of the Sequoias. The Italian Party is her debut novel. She is happy to answer your questions about Italy, writing or how to keep your dog off the sofa (answer: don’t even try).