The book came to her attention because it takes place in Italy and, after reading it, she was kind enough to post a very flattering review on Amazon.com.
In Vain Pursuits Bunny and her sister, Linda, travel to Italy to purchase an authentic Neapolitan presepio, or Christmas creche, for Linda’s collection of nativity sets.
The two sisters travel from Venice down through Italy to Naples, inadvertently attracting the sinister attentions of the Italian Mafia on their way.
My oldest son married an Italian girl and has lived in the Veneto region of northern Italy for more than twenty years. I visit them whenever I can. Writing this book was an opportunity for me to relive and share many of my impressions of this beautiful and gracious country and its people.
Of course, my own experiences were nothing like those of Bunny and her sister. I’ve never knowingly encountered any mafiosi, for one thing. However, their flight to Italy which opens the story was inspired by one memorably unpleasant real-life thirteen-hour ordeal over the Atlantic.
While one reader felt the book put too much emphasis on the Italian countryside and its attractions, many readers seemed to appreciate the local color.
It is always a balancing act when trying to give the reader a feel for a particular place. Too much detail bogs the story down while too little leaves your characters floundering in a featureless space.
I tried in this book to share the atmospheric items that struck me the most powerfully on my first visit to Italy, without turning the book into a tourist brochure. I hope, for the most part, I succeeded.