I've worked too many long days this week and slept too many short nights, so I'm giving myself a Friday off. I'm in need of a comfort read, so in a minute I'm going to make a pot of tea and slather orange marmalade on some crunchy oatmeal toast, then open Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes.
That book, a poet's mouthwatering memoir detailing the purchase and restoration of an ancient Italian villa, affected my niece's life in a very romantic way. She read it while in high school and was so entranced that although she was fluent in Spanish and needed no more foreign language credits, she resolved to study Italian. She also began to dream of visiting Italy.
She achieved her goals through hard work and determination. She excelled at Italian, and during her last year of college was able to spend several months in Italy.
Last summer I had the pleasure of seeing her married to a handsome Italian man. She's blissfully happy, and she now has plenty of reasons (read: in-laws) to visit Italy often.
Sometimes real life is every bit as satisfying as a good romance novel.