Monday, September 16, 2013

Book Review & Giveaway: Lake Como

**Giveaway is now closed**

Hallie Elliot has a perfect life. She is an up-and-coming interior designer in one of San Francisco’s most sought after firms, and has just recently become engaged to Peter, a brilliant young journalist. But when she stumbles upon Peter and her boss in what seems to be a compromising position, her trust in her perfect life is shaken.

So Hallie escapes to Lake Como, Italy to spend time with her half-sister, Portia Tesoro, an Italian blueblood dealing with the scandal of a public estrangement from her cheating husband. While staying in the Tesoro villa, Hallie falls in love with the splendor and beauty of Lake Como, and finds work designing the lakeside estate of a reclusive American tech mogul. The caretaker of this beautiful estate is a handsome man named Angus, and Hallie finds herself drawn to his charm and kindness, despite hints of a dark secret in his past.

But just as Hallie is beginning to find her footing on Italian soil, she uncovers a family secret that upends all the truths she’s believed about herself, and calls into question the new life she’s built in Lake Como.

Sisterhood, family, career, and sumptuous descriptions of Italian life fill the pages of this newest offering by Anita Hughes.
Lake Como is a heartbreaking and heartwarming story of love, self-discovery, and the quest for truth. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

Amy Bromberg:

Anita Hughes takes the reader on a decadent, beautiful, and unforgettable journey to the vibrant and beautiful Lake Como. I've never been to Italy (or anywhere in Europe for that matter), but after reading this book, Lake Como is definitely on my must-travel-to list.

Anita is a master in developing characters and the relationships between them. Even though Hallie's mother didn't act like a "mother," it must have been wonderful to have her and her grandmother there to raise her. I love the special relationship Hallie has with her grandmother, a lady who has a great dry sense of humor. She made me laugh several times. It felt as if I was right there with Hallie and Portia when they went to the fancy parties in the beautiful villas. It reminded me of dressing up to go to the prom or high school dances, but of course their dresses and gowns were much fancier and more elegant. And of course I can't not say something about the romance and heat between Hallie and Angus. From Anita's descriptions of him he seems like a pretty dreamy guy.

Lake Como will take the reader outside of their everyday life and into a fairy tale of scrumptious tasting and salivating foods, gala parties and beautiful settings that one will only find in Italy.

The only complaint I have is that it wrapped up a little too neatly. But other than that it's definitely a beautiful and quite romantic read.

Melissa Amster:

As with her other books, Anita devises a life of decadence for her characters, in terms of location, food, and fashion. While it's so far beyond my own means, it's nice to delve into this world and soak up all the richness she provides. The visualizations are outstanding and I feel like I'm standing right next to her characters.

Lake Como was an enjoyable story, full of mystery and intrigue. There were so many secrets that Hallie had to uncover during her stay in Italy. My favorite part was reading about her mother, Francesca's past and finding out new truths that she didn't tell Hallie in person. The characters and plot were very strong and interesting throughout.

As far as Hallie goes, I found myself getting frustrated at her for overreacting sometimes. While her reactions were warranted at times, I felt she usually made too big a deal about things or acted too impulsively. I wanted to tell her to take two steps back, breathe deeply, and really think before speaking. Also, I am hoping this will not be made into an audio book, based on how often the characters mumble or murmur throughout the story. It would be very hard to understand what was going on if I had to listen to them speak that way.

Overall, Lake Como was a great summer (or any time of year) escape read and provided a delectable armchair adventure. I look forward to what Anita will be coming up with next!

Movie cast suggestions:
Hallie: January Jones
Peter: Tobey Maguire
Portia: Alessandra Mastronardi
Angus: Michael C. Hall

Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the book in exchange for an honest review. They have TWO copies for some lucky US readers!

How to win:
Since it's happiness month, please tell us a travel experience that made you really happy.

One entry per person.

Please include your e-mail address or another way to reach you if you win. Entries without contact information will NOT be counted.

US only. Giveaway ends September 22nd at midnight EST.

You might also enjoy:


Melanie Backus said...

I travel experience that always makes me happy is going to Disneyland with my grandchildren. I guess I am a kid at heart so to take in all the delightful sights and sounds there and to see beaming little faces as they take it all in too....priceless! Lake Como sounds like a wonderful I really must read. Than you for the chance.

mauback55 at gmail dot com

Charlotte said...

Getting in the motor home is a happiness in it self. Then any where we go its the other part.

Lisamarie said...

We took my daughter to New York for her High School Graduation present...we spent a week (which was still not enough time) there exploring the city. It was a happy time because of celebrating a milestone in her life.


SkokieShopper said...

I am always happy to go back to my home away from home, Sanibel Island, FL. On this little island, they have at least 3 little indie book shops that are just delightful. Can't wait to go back in February!

Patricia said...

Spending the day in Carmel. So serene and so beautiful.
patricia dot mariani dot esq AT gmail dot com

Janine said...

For starters, my ex is one of my best friends. He moved to Hawaii after we divorced. For my 40th birthday, he bought me a trip (all paid) for me to come visit him. he took me around Oahu showing me the places he loved and knew I would too. Of all the trips we took there, that was my favorite of all. I can't afford to travel anymore, so I hold onto those memories. Plus, I get my travel fixes through books. I loved Lake Come.

Bonnie K. said...

We rented a house in Victoria, B.C.. It was the first time my husband and I and our children had been outside of the United States. We invited my parents to join us. Our children, parents and we had a grand time.

bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

DD said...

My honeymoon on Martha's Vineyard almost 14 years ago is one of the happiest travel memories I have. It was fall, so driving along the cape, around Boston, even around Newport, Rhode Island, was some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen!

dawndennis66611 at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Best time was one of our cheapest vacations...we went with my siblings and their kids, my dad and his family, all to a cabin on a river. It was the best seeing our kids play, explore, and go canoeing. The best part was at night, after dinner. We'd all gather around the fire and tell ghost stories, and make smores :D

Booksintheburbs(at)gmail (dot)com
Lisa Salazar

pascale said...

I think my happiest travel experience happened two years in a row: we rented a big house in the Outer Banks with family and friends (my best friend): two families that enjoyed relaxing, eating, drinking and being together.

My second happiest travel experience,again happened two years in a row: when I was maybe 8 years old, my parents rented a house in Jamaica with their good friends! It was magical.

Funny that those two vacations were so similar.

Jessica said...

I recently traveled to MI for a class and I had a really good time!

Thank you!
-Jessica M

Unknown said...

Traveling to San Francisco is always a happy experience for me.


Carole said...

Melissa, sounds like a good read. Are you going to add it to the September Books You Loved? Cheers

rhonda said...

Just got back fron santa barbra with my husvabd &son

S.Sabia said...

My husband and I took our two daughters (at the time they were 4 and 20 months) to Disneyland in November of '07. It was perfect weather, the lines weren't too long since it was the off season and we had so much fun. I had gone several times when I was a kid but it was a whole new experience seeing it through their eyes!

S.Sabia said...

Forgot my e-mail!


susieqlaw said...

My happiest travel experience(s) have been family trips to the beach as a child. I could stare at the ocean forever and be calm...loved playing on the beach and splashing in the pool. Beautiful memories.

EFC Chrissy said...

Going to the beach with our family is a travel experience that makes me happy. We have such a fun, relaxing time.


susieqlaw said...

susieqlaw again! forgot to post my email

sendsusanmail at gmail dot com

My happiest travel experience(s) have been family trips to the beach as a child. I could stare at the ocean forever and be calm...loved playing on the beach and splashing in the pool. Beautiful memories.

Susan @ The Book Bag said...

I don't have to travel to exotic places. I love the mountains so anything we can get to Colorado or even The Black Hills of SD, I am happy. It's so beautiful there.

Connie said...

I have always loved to take a cruise so this past spring when my son, his wife and two of his children suggested that my husband and I join them on a cruise, I was absolutely delighted. We got three separate rooms with the two children staying in the room in the middle. How wonderful it was to meet on the deck between our rooms every morning and enjoy an early morning cup of coffee while everyone woke up. Then, we headed to breakfast and whatever the day held for us for entertainment. In the evening, we met for a cocktail on the deck and then headed for dinner. It was such a relaxed way for everyone to have a wonderful vacation without one person being “stuck” with cooking or cleaning. I loved it and highly recommend it to all families.

I’m truly looking forward to reading “Lake Como” and thank you for the wonderfully generous giveaway!

Kerry said...

I love taking trips back East with my kids for a good portion. They (and I) get to spend quality time with my parents... I also loved my trip to Charleston 10 years ago for my best friend's wedding. It was a great visit and we had fun wandering around....

Unknown said...

We rented a cottage in France and had a great time visiting the chateaus and tasting the wine.

Mrs Mommy Booknerd said...

We have a condo in Door County WI and it is heaven on earth!

Mrsmommybooknerdsbookreviews at gmail dot com

Jennifer Huelsebusch said...

My dream trip to London in May was the best trip I have ever taken! It was definitely worth the wait and I can't wait to go back!

Linda Kish said...

I'm easy...any time I go down to San Diego to go to the zoo or Sea World makes me happy.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

bn100 said...

going to an amusement park with friends

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Unknown said...

We recently traveled to Gatlinburg TN with my parents and my two young children. I have such wonderful memories of going hear as a child so it was fun to see my children have similair expereiences.

Kritters Ramblings said...

I know since my honeymoon was just a year ago, I should say that, but the first real vacation my husband and I took while were dating was a road trip through Hershey and to Niagara Falls, it was awesome!

Britney Adams said...

We love to travel and our vacations always include our three young children plus my parents. Doesn't matter the destination, the journey is always half the fun!!

texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

Hailey Fish said...

The traveling experience where I was most happiest was when I lived in Australia for 3 months with my sister and my brother in law. I graduated high school, had worked throughout my entire senior year, then flew to Australia on my own which was the first time I've ever been out of the country by myself. It was a happy time because I was able to bond with just my sister and my brother in law. I'm planning on another trip to Australia in October of 2014. I can not wait to go back. It's going to be even more fun because I'm older, a lot more confident and independent.

Donna E said...

I'd guess that going to Israel would be my happiness travel -- we went twice, but that was in 1986 & 1987. We took both children the 1st time, but only our son the 2nd.
A more recent travel experience that made me happy -- going to VA in 2011 to attend a reunion of some of those same people who went to Israel (we'd all been stationed in Germany together). Hubby also took that travel time to show me Gettysburg and some of the other local flavor.


Unknown said...

I got to go to Sydney, Australia about 8 years ago, and LOVED it! It was in June, which is winter there, but the average temperature while we were there was 70 degrees! It was absolutely beautiful, and I had a great time. I want to go back soon!

rubynreba said...

Our trip to the Mall of America with our granddaughter this summer made us all happy!

Unknown said...

Traveling with my mom on a cruise! It was such a great three days!
missamberljohnson at gmail dot com

jodi marinich said...

after all these years of going. i am still in love with disneyworld. now seeing it thru my kids eyes is even better. it is the happies place on earth

Heather said...

I loved traveling to Mexico on a class trip when I was in high school. It was beautiful there, we had a lot of fun, and we helped to build houses for some people who really needed them. I think the combination of a vacation and helping others was wonderful. I met a lot of nice people in the village we stayed and had fun playing soccer with the kids there. I hope every high school student can have a similar experience.

Heather Azacia at

Melissa said...

Thanks for participating and sharing your happy vacation memories with us!

Thanks to St. Martin's Press for sharing the book with our winners. chose TWO winners from all entries with contact info (one entry per person).

Congrats to Amber Johnson and S. Sabia!