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In addition to her Tuscany memoirs, Under the Tuscan Sun, Every Day in Tuscany, and Bella Tuscany, FRANCES MAYES is the author of the illustrated books In Tuscany and Bringing Tuscany Home; Swan, a novel; The Discovery of Poetry, a text for readers; five books of poetry; and most recently a southern memoir, Under Magnolia. She divides her time between homes in Italy and North Carolina. Visit France Mayes's blog at www.francesmayesbooks.com.
Even people who don't normally read travel books are aware of the old Italian villa that Mayes and her husband restored, chronicled in Mayes's bestseller Under the Tuscan Sun and three other books about Tuscany. So it's somewhat surprising when Mayes declares her wanderlust, her passion for other beautiful places in the world. She adores Tuscany, but also loves tasting other people's cuisines, learning their gardening habits, reading their poetry, swimming their waters. She's always looking around and wondering, "How do place and character intertwine? Could I feel at home here? What is home to those around me? Who are they in their homes, those mysterious others?" In this luminous volume, she and her husband visit southern Spain, Portugal, Sicily, southern Italy, Morocco, Greece, Crete, Scotland, Turkey and places in between. Usually they rent an apartment or villa, so they can cook, sprawl and feel like "locals." They survive a couple of package trips (a cruise around the Greek islands, a small charter around Turkey) which only highlight the pleasures of independent travel-having the freedom to wander and discover things for themselves, without a schedule. And happily, there's no mention of prices to mar readers' escapist fantasies. (Mar. 14) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Using their villa in Tuscany as a home base, Mayes (Under the Tuscan Sun) and her husband travel to Spain, Portugal, France, and the British Isles and then on to the Mediterranean, where they experience Greece, Turkey, and North Africa. She shares her observations about the history, architecture, art, and customs of each locale, excelling at describing the cuisine of each country, province, city, and town and creating mouth-watering impressions. The author is such an enthusiastic and passionate traveler that she inspires listeners to start planning their own trips, but the finest feature is her own narrative style, which is melodious and enchanting. This is truly a travel journal of the observations, encounters, and many meals Mayes and her husband experienced over five years. Cassandra Campbell's mellifluous voice is suited to the pronunciation of occasional foreign words or phrases and provides a soothing delivery for Mayes's commentary. For anyone interested in armchair travel; highly recommended for all public libraries. Gloria Maxwell, Penn Valley Community Coll., Kansas City, MO Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Those who want to find parts of themselves they didn't know existed, take risks, have an adventure . . . and discover another culture altogether, with its different rhythms, tastes, smells, and ways of being human--those readers will find in Mayes a kindly, eager, tough-spirited guide." --Houston Chronicle "Mayes is a master at capturing a solid sense of place through her lush, poetic narratives." --Orlando Sentinel "It's easy to understand why Mayes has become a kind of cult figure for seekers of The Good Life. She not only inspires us to seize the moment, sip the wine, and smell the roses, she also makes us feel it is quite possible to transform our lives, just as she did." --Lexington Herald-Leader "Mayes displays a gift for conveying everyday life through her writing . . . and presents a simpler, less frantic version of how to live one's life." --USA Today "Frances Mayes is, before all else, a wonderful writer." --Chicago Tribune "Armchair travel is rarely this astute and fun." --Scripps-Howard News Service "Nobody is better than Frances Mayes at giving the sharp sensory details that take you immediately into a place: colors, sounds, smells, tastes...Her writing captures the whole experience...This is travel writing of high quality, focused on beauty." --Cleveland Plain Dealer "Befitting her gifts as a poet, Mayes's prose shines with evocative imagery, bringing life to every subject she encounters across her peripatetic year." -Booklist