10 December, 2011

December Tour: A Summer in Europe by Marilyn Brant For Crazy Book Tours Review

A Summer in Europe
by Marilyn Brant
Publication Date:  November 2011
Kensington Books

On her thirtieth 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 Mah-jongg 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 stunning vistas 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 at a Marseilles cafe. Revelling 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...
About the Author:

Marilyn Brant has been told she writes with honesty, liveliness and wit (descriptors she's grown terribly fond of) about complex, intelligent women -- like her friends -- and their significant personal relationships. Although her favorite pursuits undoubtedly involve books, she proves she's not just a literary snob by confessing her lifelong fascination (read: obsession) with popular music, especially from the '70s & '80s, most flavors of ice cream and a variety of sensuous body lotions/oils.
Marilyn is the award-winning women's fiction author of ACCORDING TO JANE (2009), FRIDAY MORNINGS AT NINE (2010) and her upcoming novel, A SUMMER IN EUROPE (November 29, 2011), all from Kensington Books. She's also a #1 Kindle bestseller and has written a series of fun and flirty contemporary romantic comedies, available exclusively as original ebooks. The first of these, ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAE, was released in June 2011 and hit Amazon's Top 100 List for "Bestsellers in Humor." Her second digital story, DOUBLE DIPPING, was a September 2011 release.
As a former teacher, library staff member, freelance magazine writer and national book reviewer, Marilyn has spent much of her life lost in literature. She's been told -- and not always with the intent to flatter -- that she's "insatiably curious" and "a travel addict." She admits to combining these two passions by taking classes in foreign countries whenever possible and, consequently, she's been able to learn lots of fascinating things in Australia, in England, in Italy and in universities across the United States.
She received her M.A. in educational psychology from Loyola University Chicago, dabbled in both fiction and art at Northwestern University, studied the works of Austen at Oxford University and is an active member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Her debut novel featuring "Jane" won the Romance Writers of America's prestigious Golden Heart®Award. Her second novel was a Doubleday Book Club and Book-of-the-Month Club Featured Alternate Selection. And her third women's fiction book will be featured by the Literary Guild and the Rhapsody Book Club.
Marilyn has traveled to 46 states and over 30 countries (so far -- she's not done yet!), but she now lives in the Chicago suburbs with her family. When she isn't rereading Jane's books or enjoying the latest releases by her writer friends, she's working on her next novel, eating chocolate indiscriminately and hiding from the laundry.
My Thoughts:
If you ever wanted to take a tour of Europe and just never made it, this is the book for you to replace that urge. Summer in Europe takes the reader for an insightful ride, along with Gwendolyn Reese and the other members of her Aunt Bea's Sudoko and Mahjongg Club. For Gwen's thirtieth birthday her aunt has arranged for Gwen to go on the tour of Europe with her. At first Gwen does not really want to spend her time with a bunch of crazy senior citizens but after she thinks about it she decides, why not. She did not get the engagement ring from her boyfriend Richard and she does not want to upset her perfectly organized life to spend it traipsing around Europe. After she thinks about it she throws caution to the wind and decides to go after all. There are others from England who join the tour, as they will be participating in the Sudoko and Mahjongg competitions. In this group from England, Gwen meets two brothers, Thoreau and Emerson Edwards. Gwen and Emerson spend a lot of time together sightseeing. At first there is just friendship but slowly Gwen realizes what she has back home is not necessarily what she wants in life. This story takes the reader from Italy, to wandering the Louvre and climbing the Eiffel Tower, to more sightseeing in London. I loved the book for the story but also for the descriptions of all the stops made along the tour. The way the author described each made me feel like I was there. I could tell that the author was well versed in Sudoko and Mahjongg and Europe. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
You can learn more about Marilyn Brant and her writing at her website here: http://www.marilynbrant.com/home.html
I was given a copy of this book from Crazy Book Tours and was not monetarily compensated for my review.


  1. I keep seeing this book on blogs - I'll have to get it.

  2. Kathleen, thanks so much for your lovely and thoughtful review! I'm delighted you enjoyed Gwen's European adventure ;).

    Ann, I appreciate your comments on this site and on a couple of others. So nice of you!

  3. Thanks for being part of the tour!! :)

  4. Thanks to you Marilyn..my pleasure.



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