If you are not already familiar with my ‘RNR’ series here on the blog, it’s a monthly series where I read and review a book that I have recently read. This way, I am holding myself accountable to read at least one book a month, and although I haven’t done such a great job at it recently, it’s the effort that counts right?
This month I am reviewing a very special book, and the first one where I personally know the author! Tiffany Parks, the author of Midnight in the Piazza, is editor at Where Rome magazine and co-host of the podcast, The Bittersweet Life. I thankfully had the chance to work with Tiffany on the The Bittersweet Life podcast this past winter/spring.
Tiffany’s book, Midnight in the Piazza, was published on March 6, 2018. I ordered mine off Amazon and was so excited to finally have received it. With that being said, I normally don’t go for fiction books. I’m one to usually read books in the genre of “self-help” or “self-improvement”, but Midnight in the Piazza was just the change I needed.
As a brief overview, Midnight in the Piazza is a story about a 13-year-old girl named Beatrice Archer. Beatrice, a lover of all things history, art, and Rome, couldn’t be in a better place to solve an art mystery after relocating there from Boston as her father received a position to work at the American Academy in Rome. Beatrice is naturally very curious and it was her curiosity that not only helped her in solving one of the biggest art crimes Rome had ever seen, but it also landed her in the hands of danger…
Although I have lived in Rome for almost 2 years, I have never read a book that was based in Italy, or about Rome nonetheless so I felt this was the perfect book to introduce me to Italian/American literature. Here is what I loved about it:
- Mystery- this book is a mystery through and through. The book has 32 chapters which are very short, considering it’s a children’s book, but each chapter is filled with just enough action and suspense to make you want to keeping reading another 2 or 3 chapters each time…
- Rome- don’t you love watching movies and seeing it take place in a city or town you are very familiar with? That’s how I felt reading Midnight in the Piazza. The details of the city described in the book make it possible for the reader to visualize it and having seen the turtle fountain with my own eyes, makes every little detail described even more special.
- Language- obviously since the book takes place in Rome, there are some phrases in Italian (which are translated in the footnotes of each page). The interaction with the locals and Beatrice normally happens in English, but I loved reading the Italian tidbits in there that made it seem that much more real.
- Expat- as a fellow expat, much like Beatrice, it was interesting to see the point of view from a 13 year old perspective. Like many expats, Beatrice carries the same characteristics although she’s only a teenager. She’s brave, curious, determined, and incredibly intelligent.
- Synchronicity- “Synchronicity is the theory of meaningful coincidence.” I loved that this theme was so important in the book because it shows that everything is connected. People come in your life for a reason, strange coincidences happen in order to lead to something else.
Reading Midnight in the Piazza really made me see Rome in a different light than before. With the legend of the turtle fountain, it makes me wonder how many more mysteries are there in this city? How many more secret passageways are there connecting palaces together through underground tunnels? There is still so much that I feel I don’t know that will take a lifetime to find out, considering how old Rome is and how many stories there are to tell from centuries past.
Midnight in the Piazza was the change in genre that I needed and really opened my eyes to appreciate the art and history of Rome so much more. Although it’s targeted for ages 8-12, I can say this book can be enjoyed by all ages and would be a great novel to gift a young reader in your life!
I also got to attend Tiffany’s book event today at Otherwise bookshop and it was so exciting to be there for the “launch party” in the city in which the story was inspired from.
“Opportunities present themselves, people who have the means to help you are thrown into your path, all bringing you toward your goal…”
-Midnight in the Piazza, Tiffany Parks
All my love,