If You Could Go Anywhere by Paige Toon - book review: From heartache, secrets and grief to discovering yourself and finding love

If You Could Go Anywhere by Paige Toon
If You Could Go Anywhere by Paige Toon

Angie Samuels has only ever viewed the world by listening to the stories of travellers passing through her small mining town in South Australia.

Now, aged 27, she has the chance to realise her dream of seeing it all for herself… but is she brave and bold enough to leave the only place she has ever known?

If you are looking for the perfect reading getaway this summer then look no further than this simply gorgeous sunshine romance from the very talented Paige Toon, an author who can break our hearts, put them back together again and make life seem that little bit more special.

Author of a string of warm and perceptive novels for both teens and adults, Toon fills her stories with characters to adore, stunning locations in which to indulge your senses, and emotional dramas guaranteed to keep you dabbing at your tears and turning the pages.

And If You Could Go Anywhere is the perfect holiday companion… a sizzling, sensual love story which moves from the humid heat and flat desert landscape of the Australian Outback to the food, glamour and glories of Rome, and on to the magnificent heady heights of Stavanger in Norway.

‘If you could go anywhere, where would you go?’ Angie Samuels has been asking people that question since she was thirteen years old in the hope that one day she will leave the opal mining town of Coober Pedy, a part of South Australia that ‘resembled Mars and the moon,’ and discover faraway countries like France, Austria, Spain and Italy.

As the years have passed it has become a distant dream as Angie has been devotedly caring for her beloved grandmother, Ginny, whose last years were cruelly stolen by Alzheimer’s disease. Ginny raised Angie after her mother died only days after giving birth and the debt of love and gratitude to her grandmother has kept Angie anchored to Coober Pedy.

Angie’s mother had travelled extensively in Europe before she came home pregnant to Australia 28 years ago and Ginny would only say that Angie’s father was ‘a bad man.’ But now Ginny has died and Angie has discovered that her absent father is an Italian restaurateur called Guilio Marchei who lives in Rome.

With more than a little help from her friends and neighbours in her home town, and an enigmatic stranger called Alessandro Mancini in Rome, Angie finds herself free to ‘stretch her wings and fly’ to Italy to meet the family she never knew existed… but now she can go anywhere, she’s never felt more lost.

Toon can’t help but capture everyone’s heart in this beautiful tale which blends a young woman’s coming-of-age journey with a compelling tour of the very best Rome has to offer… from its gregarious citizens, the sights ancient and modern that have lured visitors for centuries, and the food that has made dining out in Italy one of the world’s greatest culinary experiences.

And in between the mouth-watering delights of lamb sweetbreads, spaghetti alla carbonara and diced pancetta, readers can revel in the simmering romance between the handsome but troubled Alessandro and the irresistibly kind, funny and selfless Angie.

Emotions always bubble near the surface in Toon’s clever, insightful novels and here she brings us a story about the different kinds of love that make the world go round, the relationships that hold us steady on life’s journey, and the strength that comes from family and friends.

From heartache, secrets and grief to discovering yourself and finding love, If You Could Go Anywhere is the perfect way to escape this summer!

(Simon & Schuster, paperback, £7.99)