The Book of Love
Introducing Phillipa Fioretti, the first new Australian author to be unearthed as part of a joint Manuscript Development Program between Hachette and Qld Writers Centre
Travel from Sydney to Rome in a whirlwind of vintage dresses and daring actions in this romantic comedy debut by Australian author Phillipa Fioretti.
An enchanting and stylish adventure about a Roman holiday gone wrong....
Lily, a queen of style in retro clothes, and Robbie, her boyfriend, run a second-hand bookshop in Paddington, Sydney. In a shipment of old books from Nairobi, Robbie discovers a rare French book of ancient Roman erotica. With only four copies in existence, and valued at twenty million dollars, he is determined to sell it despite Lily's suggestion that they return it to the Italian government.
Days later, William, a dashing Russian employed by a fine arts firm in London to retrieve stolen art works, arrives at the shop. Robbie refuses to hand over the book, and disappears, taking his and Lily's life savings with him.
Phillipa on writing:
"Writing fiction is as addictive and absorbing as art making, and for me, pulled all the disparate threads of my life together into a good solid rope. Writing full time requires your mind to inhabit the world you create - and I wanted an antidote to the seriousness of life. I wanted to play and to laugh, and unwilling to spend my days in crime or fantasy word, I started to write a romantic comedy. I found myself giggling and rocking with glee as I wrote my characters and the situations they found themselves in."
From Phillipa's blog:
Lily's wardrobe - My main character in the book being published wears vintage clothes and these are some I'm sure she would wear. I know I would.
My mother hoarded magazines. My grandmother hoarded images, art catalogues, menus, postcards, theatre programs and news clippings. In those days there was no Internet, and for my grandmother, no television, and thus printed images were precious. My mother was also a newspaper clipping aficionado and champion magazine hoarder.
I picked up the habit and have carried with me, for the last twenty years, an old cardboard box full of images I like. There is no pattern that dictates inclusion. I just like them or they interest me. So for a bit of an image bowerbird like myself, Google Image is a siren, singing to me of the voluptuous pleasures of time wasting.
Phillipa Fioretti was born and raised in Sydney and now lives in Adelaide. She studied Humanities, Visual Arts and Museum Studies and went on to work and exhibit as a printmaker, as well as teaching part time at tertiary level. After the arrival of her family she settled into writing and submitted her third manuscript, The Book of Love, to the Queensland Writers' Centre/Hachette Manuscript Development Program 2008. It was selected for participation in the workshop and subsequently signed up by Hachette Australia for publication in 2010, with another book, The Fragment of Dreams, to follow in 2011. Phillipa now lives in Adelaide with her family. Visit Phillipa's stylish blog where she muses about writing, fashion, art and pink iced butter cake.
Verdict: The Book of Love is the first novel from Sydney base writer Phillipa Fioretti. The book follows the story of Lily, an eccentric, twenty-something year old with a taste for vintage dresses and home-made jams. Lily owns an antique book store with her law-school dropout, unfaithful boyfriend Robbie. Lily is content with her jams and sequins until one day Robbie returns from a buying trip with a lot of junk and one particular book, The Book of Love. From that moment on Lily's life is turned upside down.
Enter William, a handsome English gentleman with Russian roots who has been hired to return the book to a previous owner. The book was stolen from Williams's client by Robbie's seller and William has arrived in Sydney to return it to him (choosing to ignore the fact that the book was stolen in first place from a museum by Williams's client). But William never expected to meet Lily on his trip, and Lily never expected for Robbie to steal all their money and leave the country with the book. William and Lily must now join forces to search for Robbie and get the book back, and they must do it before the men with guns that seem to be following them find Robbie first.
The Book of Love is a beautiful first novel by Fioretti. The story travels with the characters across the world and has mystery and crime fighting mixed in with romance and love. The characters in the book are beautifully described. Lily is an amazing protagonist whose eccentricity and naivety you will fall in love with. While you only wish that William would tell Lily how he really felt and showed her how truly romantic he is. I loved this book and I know you will too. - Fiona Tew
The Book of Love
Author: Phillipa Fioretti
Interview with Phillipa Fioretti
Why did you choose to title the book, The Book of Love?
Phillipa Fioretti: The title for my book, by mutual agreement with the publishers, of course, refers to a rare book of ancient Roman erotica that is stolen and turns up in an antiquarian bookshop in Sydney. Lily, who owns the bookshop, and William who is after the book, get caught up in love throughout the book. So it's a two-for-one title.
Is the character of Lily based on anyone you know?
Phillipa Fioretti: Not one individual, no, although she has the colouring of someone I know. Lily is herself, but she is partly based on my group of friends as a teenager and young adult - we scoured markets for vintage clothes and antiques, liked to read and I lived in Paddington for a while.
What is the best thing about creating a character like Lily?
Phillipa Fioretti: She's great fun to put in a situation and then work out how she deals with it. Like all of us she blunders about in life, but Lily is essentially good hearted and stronger than she realises.
What is your favourite outfit?
Phillipa Fioretti: My favourites come and go, but at the moment it's a pale blue and white, Boo Radley cotton summer dress. It's quite feminine and when I wear it I feel like a milkmaid with a chain of buttercups in some lush pasture.
Tell us a little bit about your next book, The Fragment of Dreams:
Phillipa Fioretti: I can't say much except that new relationships run into all sorts of troubles and testing times. Lily has to find the courage to do what needs to be done, and in her attempts finds herself alone in one of the most beautiful, wild and menacing cities in the world, Naples.
Finish this sentence; the best thing about writing is
escaping into my imagination.