SEPTUGENARIAN British sisters-in-law Lizzie and Constance are in Rome on a mission: to scatter Henry’s ashes into the River Tiber.
American Alec and Australian Meg are equally focused – in their case, on finding the elusive source of a specific blue tile for their unhappy marital home in the US.
Alice is taking respite from her fine-art studies in New York to draw breath before becoming engaged to Daniel.
Architecture student and would-be artist August is also making the most of the school year’s long summer break, travelling with a group of fellow Brits to examine Italy’s magnificent buildings up close.
Stephanie, on the other hand, is more or less local, having put down roots in Rome, where she works as an emergency-room doctor after practising medicine for long stints in high-pressure war zones.
Narrated by the self-proclaimed “Genius of Love”, this novel brings together an eclectic cast of characters whose trajectories invariably intersect in one way or another once fate has delivered them to Rome.
Their adventures unseat scabs from emotional wounds and create both solid new alliances and fresh divisions as relationships are tested.
While the storyline is fictitious, the setting is almost entirely real. Lamprell uses creative licence only in his renaming of a few hotels – everything else is described exactly as it exists: the frustratingly traffic-clogged streets and cobbled alleyways, the graffiti-daubed walls, the rain-scoured marble monuments, whether world-famous or little-known.
Spanning roughly 30 locations in and around the centre of Rome, this book doubles as an insider’s peek into a side of the Eternal City that few tourists are likely to stumble onto when left to explore unaided.
What will eventuate for Lizzie, Constance, Alec, Meg, Alice, August and Stephanie during their encounters in enigmatic, enchanting, ever-lasting Rome? Only the Genius of Love can foresee their futures with certainty.