A Summer in Europe - Marilyn Brant (2011)

Gwen just celebrated her 30th birthday and expected an engagement ring from Richard, her boyfriend of two years. What she got instead were pearl earrings, which according to Richard, are to replace the old ones she always wears. Apparently Richard does not fully appreciate the sentiment behind wearing the pearl earrings of her late mother. Her aunt Bea, on the other hand, generously gifts her with a tour of Europe along with Bea and her Mahjong and Suduko club. Gwen is not entirely sure about going but after her birthday dinner with Richard, decides it might be good for them to spend some time apart. Gwen and Bea embark on the trip of a lifetime, meeting some fairly interesting characters along the way who help Gwen open her eyes to what it means to really live. One of those characters is Emerson, an English physicist who has the potential to be someone very special to Gwen. That is if she can muster the courage to see beyond her stable, predictable life with Richard and truly follow her heart. After enjoying Marilyn Brant's last two books, I was excited to read A Summer in Europe. I am happy to say her books just keep getting better. I was completely hooked as soon as I started reading and thoroughly enjoyed the evolution of Gwen, from a shy and reserved teacher to someone who, by the end of the book, has really come out of her shell and understands about living a passionate life. An extremely delightful and satisfying read. (LEK)

A Summer in Europe, by Marilyn Brant, is about a woman who travels across the pond to Europe on a grand journey of self-awakening.The summary says: " On her 30th birthday, Gwendolyn Reese receives an unexpected present from her widowed Aunt Bea: a grand tour of Europe in the company of Bea's sudoku and mahjong club. The prospect isn't entirely appealing. But when the gift she is expecting - an engagement ring from her boyfriend - doesn't materialize, Gwen decides to go. At first, Gwen approaches the trip as if it's the math homework she assigns her students, diligently checking monuments off her must-see list. But amid the bougainvillea and beauty of southern Italy, something changes. Gwen begins to live in the moment - skipping down stone staircases in Capri, running her fingers over a glacier in view of the Matterhorn, racing through the Louvre and taste-testing pastries, wine and gelato. Reveling in every new experience - especially her attraction to a charismatic British physics professor - Gwen discovers that the ancient wonders around her are nothing compared to the renaissance unfolding within."

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