countdown boutiques-francophones Learn more scflyout All-New Kindle Home Music Deals Store sports Tools Registry

Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
120
2.9 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Showing 1-10 of 43 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on July 4, 2000
I really enjoyed "Under the Tuscan Sun", so I decided to read "Bella Tuscany". I found "Bella Tuscany" to be a little boring and not at all what I'd expected. I had expected to see Mayes grow more accustomed to living in Italy and there fore be more "Italian". She still seemed like an American living in Italy with the "Oh my I'm in a foreign country" syndrome most tourists encounter. I had expected Mayes to have grown a lot more as a writer also, I found this book to be dry. It was like she was rambling on and on and on. I was to the point where I didn't even want to finish the book just so I could be put out of my misery. The book should have ended at the end of "Anselmo's Idea of Tomatoes", she had the perfect book-ender as the chaper closer, instead she rambled on and on for 30 more pages. It was nice to see what happened to some of the characters and things like that. But, she is writing "In Tuscany", she could have saved some of the rambling for that. I'm not sure if I will even bother with "In Tuscany" because I found this to be so boring.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 26, 1999
Having just finished reading her first book about Tuscany, "Under the Tuscan Sun", a charming and compelling narrative about restoring an old house in the hills of Tuscany and learning to live in Italy, and having just returned from a trip to Italy myself, I could hardly wait to read this book. I should have saved the $15 and spent it on a few more bowls of that wonderful Italian chocolate gelato.... I guess when you pour years worth of experiences into a book, it's hard to come up with something else to say fast enough to get a sequel out while the money machine is still spitting out bills.
I think I will go back and re-read her first book, so that the impression that sticks in my mind is not the horrible sense of disappointment that grew worse with each page of this book.
Sigh...
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 5, 2000
I loved Under The Tuscan Sun which focused on Tuscany, its people, places and food. This book is about Sicily, where the author was either cold, rained on, put in crummy rooms or deeply frightened by the mafia, which she seems to believe are everywhere, and Venice, where we learn about her bird phobia, and San Francisco, where she buys another house to renovate and gives the ultimate bird to her former husband by (if you believe it) not recognizing him at her daughter's wedding. It is also about Ed, who I refuse to believe exists. But most of all it's about shopping. Fran buys everything she sees, smells, or heard rumors of, and will doubtless be named the patron saint of shopkeepers in Tuscany and Umbria. This is a boring and self-absorbed effort that her editor should have stopped cold.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 10, 1999
Under The Tuscan Sun was terrific. It was refreshing and had an interesting plot for a non-fiction book: how will the acquisition and restoration of Bramasole work out? All of us who have fantasized about doing what Ms. Mayes did were intrigued. Bella Tuscany, however, is pure trash. No intrigue, no hook and outright boring. Moreover, it is poorly writtenand has virtually no educational worth. Ms. Mayes and Ed should stick to writing poetry which is not read by anyone but students. Moreover, she should leave the Cortona area alone. Citizens of the area are tired of her and the publicity she has invited. Now that she has made a few bucks, maybe she will just blend into the beautiful Tuscan environment and let the world's spotlight tarnish some other area.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 26, 1999
The "Bella Italia" industry cranks up again, when our smug and self-satisfied rich Americans deal with the quaint natives once again. How many times over the two books do we have to be told about the sufferings on the bank account caused by renovating a country villa in the most expensive region of Italy? Oh, yeah, for sure! If she really wants to know anything about Sicily and the mafia ("I never heard anyone say mafia in a whole week!" she exclaims breathlessly. No, they don't tend to go round talking about it, and when they do, the term mafia is not usual...at least amongst my Sicilian relatives!)....Ms Mayes..read Peter Robb's "Midnight In Sicily".
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 28, 1999
Another disappointment. This dribble has little to do with Italy and no plot. This best part of the book is the picture of the house. The chapter on Sicily appears to be plagerized from On Persephone's Island by Mary Taylor Simeti who has lived in Sicily for years, speaks the language and in contrast to Ms. Mayes really knows the people (published 1986). it is disgusting to see a writer mention her sadness about prostitution in Italy and then move on to discuss hiring full time garderners and choosing between tile or marble for the bathrooms. Also, it is suprising for a woman who claims to love teaching to portray the students she has as "uh like idiots".
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 26, 1999
Please tell me what vacationing in Sicily and Venice, attending a funeral in Minnesota and a wedding in California have to do with Tuscany. The reader buys the book expecting several hundred pages filled with insight into Tuscany only to be bored to tears with the ramblings of a self-indulgent author. Frances Mayes has taken her fantasy of becoming the next Martha Stewart to the pinnacle. First she's a poet and travel writer, then a chef and now a landscape designer and art historian. Even Martha wouldn't attempt this many feats as a mere mortal! This book was written for one reason, to coattail on the success of her first book and to rip the reader off!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 30, 1999
Ms. Mayes' smug, contrite, superior attitude is a total turn-off. If I could give this book a zero star rating I would. This book has none of the charm and warmth and character of her first book. I didn't buy this book to read about her childhood or her parents or her siblings. I didn't buy this book to read about Minnesota, her house in California, or her daughter's wedding. I didn't buy this book to read about her trashing her houseguests. I didn't buy this book to read poetry, or her opinion of art. Ms. Mayes should really be ashamed of herself.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 16, 2000
Many superb books have been written about buying and restoring old homes and discovering new and engaging cultures. Frances Mayes has vulgarized the genre. That may be her only claim to the fame she so clearly covets in the world of letters. I truly hope she spends the rest of her days in the California she claims she hates so much. This for making me suffer through her "writing". Bella Italia deserves so much more...so do we. Try " A Tuscan Childhood". It's a wonderful read!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 6, 2000
Let's see, her first choice to live was Greece, and, throughout both books, although she loves her Tuscan home, her land [Whose land is this anyway, she snobbily thinks, when native Italians try to help her prune the garden] she admits she's "squeamish" about folk customs, food, the people in general. Mayes claims to be "at home" in Italy, that she is now Italianized -- and then gives us a recipe where she adds at the end of it, "Serves two." Serves -- TWO?
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse