What a sweet and emotional book! Slow Burn in Tuscany by Giselle Fox is light on plot but heavy on love and romance.
Recently divorced, Brianna decides to take a tour of Italy with her best friend. Amazingly, her high school nemesis, Madison Blake, shows up on the same tour. Brianna discovers some shocking truths about the past and it turns out Madison isn’t quite the bad person she remembers. Instead, a growing attraction blossoms between them and they find themselves falling in love. As Brianna gets to know Madison better, she is forced to make a difficult decision about how she wants to spend the rest of her life.
Fox is a good writer with a strong command of language. She writes lyrically about both the growing love between Madison and Brianna and the beautiful Italian scenery. As someone who has traveled to Italy, I felt very immersed in the setting Fox created.
We reached for the door handle at the same time and our hands brushed in mid-air. They settled against the handle together, hers on top of mine. I held my breath as I heard the softest moan escape her lips. She picked up my hands and held it a moment. Then, pressed it to her chest. I could feel her heart pounding, fast and hard against my palm.
“That’s just from looking at you,” she whispered. (Loc 1338)
Brianna and Madison are both fleshed out characters with their own motivations, wants, and desires. As the love grows between the two women, their seemingly implausible relationship (high school enemies reunited after 18 years!) grows naturally under Fox’s steady hand. Although the transition from enemy to friend to lover happens rather quickly, it never felt rushed or false.
The only criticism I have is that there isn’t much of a plot. The story is focused intensely on the emotional journey of each woman, both apart and together. The romance is sweet and the sex is plentiful and hot, like a good romance novel should be. But not much actually happens. They travel, they eat, they fall in love, they eat some more (it is Italy after all), they break up and come back together. If you are in the mood for an emotional exploration of a relationship between two women set in beautiful Italy, then this is the book for you.