Aug 312012

Experience A Virtual Tour of Europe for $15

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Paperbackswap

*yawns and stretches* Sorry!  Please excuse my sleepiness, I’ve just returned from a fantastic sojourn in Europe and I’m just a teensy bit jet-lagged… 😉

During the summer she turns thirty, Gwendolyn Reese – an unsophisticated and inhibited middle school math teacher that passionately loves listening to musical soundtracks – expects to be trying on wedding dresses, picking out flowers, and planning a wedding with her boyfriend of two years. But instead she is being shanghaied by her aunt’s S & M Club (S for Sudoku, M for Mahjongg – had you shocked there for a moment, didn’t I?) to travel on their five week tour of Europe. Now, instead of viewing this opportunity as the once-in-a-lifetime experience it is, Gwen sees it merely as a chance to check off many historic sites and landmarks on her “must-see list.”

Because of her routine-obsessed, schedule-oriented, regulated way of living life, Gwen is unable to connect to the places she is seeing, she is unable to connect to her fellow travelers, to life in general…until she crosses paths with Ralph Waldo “Emerson” Edwards…

While traveling through Italy, France, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and England Emerson pushes Gwen out of her comfort zone, challenges her to be spontaneous and uninhibited, and teaches her how to experience life in a new way. Through shopping excursions, sightseeing detours, and many sumptuous meals readers (and Gwen) are taken on a tour of Europe filled with insight, sophistication, rebirth, and romance.

What an incredible journey! I truly love Marilyn Brant’s style of writing – it’s lyrical, descriptive, and magnetizing. Like a well-blended smoothie, Ms. Brant is always able to strike a perfect balance between the different components and elements of her story. Infusing travel, self-discovery, history, comedy, philosophy, psychology, and romance in her story, Ms. Brant capably whips together a tale that is as creamy and decadent as Italian gelato.

I must mention how excessively I enjoyed ALL the characters of this book! Gwen is likable and endearing, Emerson is filled with a hefty dose of attractiveness, boyish charm, and complexity, Thoreau kept things interesting with his mind games and provocations, and Aunt Bea and all her sassy friends are just a hoot! Theses are the sort of characters I wouldn’t mind spending more and more time with!

If you are in the mood for a vibrant, flavorful, and stimulating European adventure, I suggest you pick up a copy of A Summer in Europe! Fans of E. M. Forster* and Jane Austen will find much to delight in with this clever work of fiction. I highly recommend!

*Even though I have seen and greatly enjoyed the Merchant Ivory adaptation of E. M. Forster’s novel, after reading A Summer in Europe, I am definitely inspired to pick up the original novel and read it for the first time!

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  4 Responses to “A Summer in Europe – Marilyn Brant”


    Lovely review, and I couldn’t agree more. Loved this one!


    I have this one on my wish list and love the idea of traveling vicarious with a character.

    Thanks for sharing your review!


    I have this on my TBR list, I’ll have to move it up-thanks for sharing!


    You made my weekend!! I just saw that you’d posted your lovely review on Goodreads, but I hadn’t realized you’d reviewed it here, too. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful comments about the story. I’m *thrilled* you enjoyed it!!

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