ARC Review ~ Rome in Love

Author: Anita Hughes
Series: Standalone
Genre: Chick Lit/Romance
Page Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: August 4, 2015 (Happy Book Birthday!)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: ARC via publisher (Thank you, Macmillan!)
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Amelia Tate is this year's "It girl."  Cast to play Audrey Hepburn's role in a remake of Roman Holiday, she finds her wildest Italian dreams have come true.  She has a handsome boyfriend, is portraying her idol in a major motion picture, and gets to live in beautiful Rome for the next two months.

The dolce vita is everything Amelia hoped for an more.  She finds an unexpected friend in the hotel laundry room, a charming young woman named Sophie.  Together, they discover all the amazing riches that Rome has to offer.  But when Amelia's boyfriend breaks up with her over her acting career, the Eternal City begins to feel more like a prison than a palace.

Amelia accidentally discovers a stack of letters written by the real Audrey Hepburn in her old hotel suite that starts to put life into perspective.  Then she meets Philip, a handsome journalist who is the under the impression that she is a hotel maid, and it appears as if things are looking up again.  The problem is she can never find the right time to tell Philip her true identity.  Not to mention that Philip has a few secrets of his own.  Can Amelia finally have both the career and love that she's always wanted, or will she be forced to choose between the two?



Rome in Love by Anita Hughes brings the sights, sounds, glamour, and all the gloss of Rome to readers as we follow along on Amelia Tate's journey through her career and relationships.  You'll practically smell the freshly-baked herb bread right out of the oven, practically taste the pastas and pizzas being dished out at outdoor trattorias, and practically feel like you're wearing a Balenciaga ball gown yourself.

And although Anita Hughes's use of descriptive imagery undoubtedly aids the narrative and overall reading experience, unfortunately, Hughes pushes aside other paramount "ingredients" to a novel - leaving them in the dark.  Even her praised descriptive imagery gets a bit . . . too much (at times).  The fundamental core of a book is the story itself, however, Hughes's overuse of descriptive writing elements often hurts her narrative.  And perhaps at first, that may not seem like such a bad attribute of the book.  Well . . . trust me, it is.  

The reader is quite honestly notified of every single character's outfit choice every single time that character makes an appearance.  So not only do we have to know main character, Amelia's, taste in clothes, we are also forced to read about other's.  And then, whenever Amelia goes out to dine (like seriously, three or more times a day), we must read an entire page's worth of what her pizza tastes and looks like.  (Okay, I'm exaggerating  . . . a bit.  But still.)  The extreme overuse of descriptive elements distracts readers from the actual storyline. 

And then we get into the storyline: It isn't deserving of much praise, either.  It's a banality.  Sure, I haven't read a book exactly like this one before, but it sure feels like I have!  Let me summarize it for you: Girl goes to foreign country.  Girl wears cute clothes and eats good food!  Girl meets boy!  Girl keeps secret from boy.  Boy keeps secret from girl!  Oh no!  Girl and boy work it out and live happily ever after.  Yay.


Another aspect of the story that really bothered me was the "unrealistic factor."  

SPOILERS (highlight to view):
So, there's this girl, Amelia, and she's an up-and-coming movie actress often compared to Audrey Hepburn.  Okay.  She randomly meets a PRINCESS in the hotel laundry room who becomes her BFF.  Said Princess of some little European country BEGS Amelia to take her to the clinic across the street EVEN THOUGH THEY'RE COMPLETE STRANGERS.  Hahahaha . . . that's not all.

There's a whole lot of insta-love, too.

So, Rome in Love.  I didn't completely dislike it, I just didn't . . . like it.  I don't know what else to say; That's the honest-to-God truth.  The book is cute at times, but I felt no real connection to any of the characters.  It lacked depth and substance.

If you do happen to give this read a try, hopefully you'll have better luck with it than I did.


Julia's a dreamer. She often zones off periodically throughout the day thinking up plans for the future, pining over fictional characters, and concocting up possible plot lines for stories.

You can find Julia on her main blog, Peach Print, on Twitter @peachprint, on Instagram @yapeach, and of course, right here on the APCB blog.

9 comments:

  1. That's a shame because I so wanted to love this book! Rome and Hepburn...Two of my fave things!

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  2. Great review, Julia Anne! Guess what? I'd swear up and down that I've read books that sound almost exactly the same *ROFL* Undemanding, easy storyline, more like old wine in an old bottle. These stories have been done to death the world over!

    Ruzaika @ The Regal Critiques

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  3. Hmm. Well. All the details, eh? And so many secrets... eep, this is probably not for me at all. New Adult too - I struggle so much with New Adult contemporary romance. So sorry you didn't enjoy this one more, Julia! But excellent review :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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  4. It sounds like the story wasn't executed well.. There were... unnecessary things and maybe nothing really new to offer to readers... Great review! :)

    czai @ the Blacksheep Project

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  5. It's a shame you didn't like it that much, when I read the summary it sounded incredibly good and very original! Great review :)

    Lipstick and Mocha

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  6. I read this as well and felt the same EXACT way! I liked how descriptive she was with the cuisine, fashion (sometimes) and tourists spots, but it did get a bit repetitive. The dialogue is what hindered me from giving it a higher rating. * sigh * I was really hoping this story inspired by Hepburn would be a hit, but unfortunately it wasn't. Great review Julia :)

    Tika @fANGIRLconfessions

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  7. Awww thats sad, it sounded quite a cute read. It reminded me of Maid in Manhatten a little bit, but the opposite way round. I hate it when people over describe, I' like "I HAVE MY OWN IMAGINATION THANK YOU, I CAN IMAGINE PIZZA WITHOUT YOU HAVING TO DESCRIBE EVERY SINGLE LITTLE BIT TO ME THANK YOU!" Sad times about the bad book, but sadly us book worms have to deal with a bad one evey so often, maybe this mean there is a fantastic one just around the corner! Happy reading (hopefully better books!)

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  8. It does sound like a good read, shame you didn't enjoy it that much.

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  9. A shame this one didn't quite work out in the end... I do like it when the descriptions are done wonderfully so that we really get to experience Rome as well (and I definitely love when the setting is a unique place) but it's a shame it is a bit overdone and kind of ruins the book :/

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