Monday, February 3, 2014

Review: Happy Ending by Francesca Duranti

Back Cover Blurb

The arrival of a mysterious young stranger disrupts the lives of a wealthy, unhappy family

Ever since he was a little boy, Aldo Rugani has been drawn to the world of the aristocracy. Now an art dealer with a questionable past, Aldo finds himself a regular guest at the Tuscan estate of the affluent but unstable Santini family. He also works his way into the confidence of the clan’s elderly but very much alive matriarch, Violante. Tough and indomitable, the grande dame is determined to see that her troubled family has a secure future before she dies.

As an outsider, Aldo can only watch as the family members mindlessly self-destruct. He pines for Lavinia, Violante’s much-adored, romantically reckless widowed daughter-in-law. But on one particular weekend holiday in Tuscany, a young visitor comes to the Santini estate. A friend of Lavinia’s son, Marco intends only to stop over briefly. But before he departs, everything will be different for the hapless Santinis.


In this character-driven, prize-winning, international bestseller, members of an affluent Italian family must each resolve deeply ingrained personal issues. The setting is on a beautiful Tuscan belonging to matriarch, Violante. On the estate are three villas of different sizes.

Violante is getting on in years and is eager to find the perfect family member to inherit her estate and legacy. As her family gathers at the estate, she works on a plan and analysis for succession.

Lavinia, is the widow of her eldest son and mother to her only grandchild, Nicola. Violante raised Nicola when she moved to Milano to work and live.

Leopoldo is Violante’s second son who is married to an American woman named Cynthia. Their marriage is one in name only, for they are childless and their marriage is celibate.

Aldo is a family friend who lives on a neighboring estate. His entire life, he has been in love with Lavinia, despite her first marriage. Widowhood led her into several unfulfilled relationships with unworthy men.

Their lives are turned upside down when a friend of Nicola’s arrives. This quiet young man soon impacts everyone’s lives, inadvertently forcing changes in each of the characters he has interacted with.

Page by page, individual secrets are revealed as each character is faced with life-changing choices. Written with gentle wisdom and flowing prose, this brief novel is enchanting and engrossing. It is a story about individual choices in life that leaves the reader with a hopeful, satisfying ending. It is profound, lush, and a thought-provoking read. Very highly recommended.

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