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The Only Way to Paradise

Vandagriff, G.G.

148 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 098362321X / ISBN 13: 9780983623212
Published by O.W. Press
Used Condition: Good Soft cover
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098362321X gift inscription written by the author, pages are clean and free of markings, light wear to corners and edges, ships same day or next. Bookseller Inventory # 232000267

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Only Way to Paradise

Publisher: O.W. Press

Binding: PAPERBACK

Book Condition:Good

About this title

Synopsis:


What causes picture-perfect suburban Oakwood residents, MacKenzie, Roxie, Sara, and Georgia to desert their therapist and fly off to Florence? Answer: A romantic Italian movie that prompts Roxie to ask: "If Italy is so healing and therapeutic what are we doing in Ohio?"
Even Sara, the most duty-bound of the group, finally joins the pact they dub "The Crazy Ladies of Oakwood," and only a week later, they find themselves in Florence. Embraced by the entire province of Tuscany, each woman becomes entangled in experiences she could never have foretold. Not only do they find the fascinating Italian men that Georgia promised, but new sides to themselves and each other.
Against the glittering background of Florence, their dramas play out:
MacKenzie returns to her student days as an art historian, discarding her identity as the controlling Oakwood charity patron and society hostess. Renewing her acquaintance with the David, she vows to let herself be sculpted rather than trying to sculpt others. MacKenzie finds not only a new talent, but a new man who appreciates it, just as her husband decides to re-enter her life.
Roxie, who has always approached life as a circus, is drawn unwillingly into a passionate romance with a gorgeous Italian professor, Stefano. Her physical response to Stefano taps into lost memories, causing her to literally run from him. Roxie, a quirky and colorful Cubana, senses danger in visions and smells that resurface of a rotting summerhouse behind her Florida home. With his nurturing and passionate love, Stefano helps her to face the "broken piece" inside her.
Sara unveils part of her that no one but her instructors know. She is an extraordinarily talented concert violinist. Normally trapped in the demanding life of an ob-gyn (scripted for her by her Vietnamese immigrant parents), she is temporarily freed. She performs for others for the first time, and experiences unprecedented joy. However, the coping mechanism she used to handle the pressure of her job threatens to destroy her new life.
Georgia, a grieving widow, processes her life without Ben and without her violin career that ended early because of arthritis. Looking for a new passion in life, she finds that satisfaction comes to her in "giving back" to those around her the lessons and knowledge she has learned through her successes and mistakes in La Dolce Vita. Just as her perspective is changing, she reunites with her first love, Arturo, and must make a decision about the direction of her future life.
Though ages have passed since the rebirth called the Renaissance, Florence still inspires change by breathing out its creative mix of energy, beauty, and courage. Where Michelangelo "set free" the David by sculpting a block of marble, each "crazy lady" finds her exterior "Oakwood" self burnished away by new experiences, revealing a new self. This burnishing is not a gentle process, but exuberant Italians help them through it with their all-embracing agape.They discover in it a balm that binds them together and puts them on the road to recovery, the road that is "The Only Way to Paradise."

From the Author:

A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
 
            In this novel, four women find refuge in the little heaven that is called Residenza Betta in Florence. Though they are figments of my imagination, the Residenza is not.  Elisabetta, her son Cosimo, and his lovely Adriana are all very real and very dear to me.  They are my second family, and I miss them when we are apart.
"Betta" insists on mothering me, though I am the age of her own mother. An act that typifies her is when she picked up an opera ticket for me on her motorscooter in the rain when I could have gotten it for myself. She feeds me, she scolds me, and she surveys all my purchases to make certain I haven't been cheated.
Cosimo is now in another hotel, learning his trade, even though he could make much more money as a gorgeous Italian actor. I tell Adriana, his fiancée, to keep him away from Hollywood.
The lovely Adriana is a 21st century incarnation of Renaissance artist Fra. Fillipo Lippi's atypical Madonna model.  She is tall and slender, fair with beautiful brown eyes.  My son took one look at her and said, "If things don't work out with Cosimo, I'm your man."  Adriana and I tell each other our secrets and giggle together like sisters.
Milano 25 is a real taxi and you can read about its amazing driver on the Internet.  Lastly, I did fall on the concrete pavement, and was treated just as gently by a much younger version of Roberto.  I believe agape is a genetic component of all Italians.
I write this in this happy house that has given me so much pleasure in Florence.
G.G. Vandagriff
February, 2011

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