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Urbino, Unexpectedly: A Story of Love and Self-Discovery

Maria Chiara Marsciani
Maria Chiara Marsciani (2014) 
ISBN 9780991362110
Reviewed by M. Cristina Lanzi for Reader Views (06/14)

“Urbino, Unexpectedly: A Story of Love and Self–Discovery” by Maria Chiara Marsciani can certainly be labeled as a love story. However, I believe that this is also a novel about growth and, unquestionably, a novel about Italy. Maria Chiara Marsciani portrays a year of love and a year of Italy: not only the author is able to narrate the birth of a strong relationship, but she also describes the Italian scenery in every detail, from the different panoramas to the Italian typical lifestyle. 

This is the story of Clara, a twenty two year old woman who lives in Milan, studies to become a lawyer, belongs to a well-off family, and spends the summer on the Italian coastline. Yes, her life would seem ideal, but Clara doesn’t really fit with her friends, she doesn’t get along with her mother and she is not even sure about her career… of course everything changes when she meets Leonardo, a young doctor who steals her heart.  

Although I found the novel a little cliché, overall the storyline was engaging. If on one hand we have the classic love story with the happily ever after ending; on the other hand the author was able to describe not only the love between Clara and Leonardo, but also the girl’s conflicting feelings and fears during her year-long passage to adulthood.
 
Whereas sometimes I felt too old for this kind of book, which I would classify as a coming of age story, it is a heartwarming book with a genuine love story that would have definite appeal to the young adult audience because they could easily connect with Clara’s obstacles: the altercations with her parents, the controversies with her best friend, the hopes and expectation for this new and beautiful love.

What I loved the most about “Urbino, Unexpectedly: A Story of Love and Self–Discovery” by Maria Chiara Marsciani were the descriptions of Clara’s contradictory emotions: she struggles dealing with the ups and downs of life and the author was able to express her sensitivity in a way that felt real. The writer also showed a great bias for the ambiance which gave the book an extra layer of depth that I strongly appreciated.  Maria Chiara Marsciani painted her birth-country with such attention to the detail that, being Italian myself, I felt right at home.

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