Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 May 2019

Member Reviews

My Review:

Genre: Historical, fantasy, post-WWII.

My Rating and recommendation: Since I did not finish this book I will not give a rating or recommendation as that would be unfair to the publisher, author, and even possible readers that may want to check this book out but a poor rating turned them away.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book and read until late 80-ish, I stopped reading because of personal views but before that I had enjoyed the book, and I liked the characters and wanted to know more. Chapter 1 opened with an extremely gripping scene of a man returning from war, which I loved! Even though I didn’t finish the book I can say that I enjoyed the beginning. Plus, I fell in love with the cover but read my warnings to see if you want to read it for yourself, there are spoilers so read on with caution.

Warnings: Where to start? I was all right with the mentions of Greek gods since they’re just myths . . . but when a character had memories of people from hundreds if not a thousand years before, I was disturbed. There was also the fact that the same character remembered when they were a baby, not even a few months old. I couldn’t finish it after that and am sad about it as I had enjoyed the book so far otherwise. There are mentions of nude statues.
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I was initially intrigued by the unique cover on this book. It's written by a new-to-me author, but the story line also grabbed my attention.

It is the story of Vitto. He returns home from WWII and discovers that he cannot go back to life as it was. His memories are everywhere, haunting him.

While he was away, his father, Robert developed Alzheimers.

Vitto's poor wife, Valerie, now has to care for Vitto, along with Robert and their young son.

When Vitto wakes up in the middle of a nightmare one night and finds himself attempting to strangle his wife, he knows something has to change.

So many hard things in this story. PTSD. Trauma. Alzheimers. And more.

This book is very different from most of the books I read. It is published by a Christian publisher, but there is very little about Christianity within its pages. Much of the story reminds me of an allegory, and there are many references to myths and gods.

I was very intrigued by the story, and found much food for thought, but I didn't necessarily agree with everything as it was presented. It left me with more questions than answers. And I think that may very well have been the author's intent all along.

Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
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I enjoyed this book, and I'm grateful to NetGalley for the chance to read and review it. This is the third book I have read this year that is set in the time of post-World War II, and it is the second book that also heavily references mythology. I was drawn to VItto Gandy and felt for him and his family, trying to deal with his PTSD as well as his father's Alzheimer's, especially considering how new of a disease Alzheimer's was at the time. The descriptions of the Tuscany hotel were lush and beautiful, and I appreciated how the author did not spell everything out for the reader, but left many things open to our interpretation. I definitely recommend this book.
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This book is a great read. The author did a great job blending  Greek mythology with the present.  If you like Greek Mythology you will enjoy this book. 
The story line in this book makes you want to visit the Tuscany Hotel!
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This is one of those books that you read that you know when you are reading will stick with you.  You can feel the characters making their mark on your heart and memory.  Even from the introduction of the Tuscany Hotel, James Markert begins to weave his spell on your imagination.  When the characters finally enter the hotel, the reader is given exacting detail into what I think of as the main character of this story.  The setting is so thoughtfully written that you can’t help but imagine what can be.  The hotel seems tinged in grey, but the possibility of a return to glory twinkles in the edge of your imagination.

You meet the hotel and realize, this is possibility.  This is hope.  Like life, you have to look through your past, see through your fear, see through what is in order to imagine what could be.  For Vitto, and Magdelana, and most of us, it’s that first step that the hardest and the trickiest.  The crux of this book lies in trying to find out how to accomplish facing your past without losing your present.

This book has almost everything I could possibly want.  Mythic creatures, beautiful landscapes, foreign locales, intriguing characters, beautiful art, and wine.  Uplifting and tragic at the same time.  There are a lot of things I could say about how wonderful this book is, but honestly you should read it for yourself.  I am really going to miss my time at the Tuscany Hotel.

* Special thanks to James Markert, Thomas Nelson, and TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel in exchange for an honest review.
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I love each and every one of James' books - and I am happy to say this one is my favorite today!!  I say that because every time comes out with a book, it is then my favorite!!  His books are just such a pleasure to read.  I love reading his writing and I also love how every one of his books have a spiritual side to them.  This one is memory -- what would you do to gain back your memory?  Is remembering everything a good thing?
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I thought this book was terrific.  This was such a beautiful story about artists and their muses, about memories lost, memories found again, and the truths behind myths and legends. The prose was lush, lyrical and it was indeed a pleasure to read, as it created both suspense and mystique.  

It was also incredibly atmospheric, and Markert’s descriptions of the Tuscany Hotel brought it to life for me, so much so that I could picture myself there with all the guests, with its majestic fountains, its grand turrets, and colored doors.  I loved the idea of a place where people were able to gather for a second chance at life. 

I also loved the theme surrounding memory and the mysteries of the mind; so we have a character who remembers everything, another who is unable to make any new memories at all, and yet another who has lost his memories due to disease.  This was such a unique premise and one that hits you right in the heart.  There’s also the theme of quality of life vs. quantity of life, a conversation that many of us may have to have as some point in our lives.  So in this way, I think that this is not only a powerful book but also a story that has the potential to be transformative.  

It was fun how the author incorporated Greek Mythology into the story.  At first, I was confused by the amount of mythology that the author presented but it all connected wonderfully and fell into place by the end, and I thought it was brilliant --  how all the mythology details are worked seamlessly into the action of the story.  Of course, the mythology angle makes sense that it all starts out with Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory.

Additionally, the mystery surrounding the fountain was enthralling as were the histories and stories of those who drank from it.  I also loved watching a son solve the well-hidden mystery of his parents and the healing that came with it.

All in all, I thought that Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel was smart, original, sophisticated storytelling — a beautifully crafted and smartly written character-driven novel where magic can be found in the mundane.  This was a strong 5-star read for me, and it was also my first introduction to this author, and I hope to read more by him in the future.

A huge thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an Advance Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always, all opinions are my own.
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This book started out so well, but I admit to doing a lot of skimming to just get to the end. In my opinion, there is way too much Greek mythology included in the book. It is well written, with good character development.
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Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel is a story that deals with the question of whether quality of life is a better choice than quantity of life, and how our memories can help us come to terms with our past.

Plot:

Vitto is a returning WWII soldier suffering from PTSD. His young son doesn’t remember him, his wife, Valerie, is scared of his violent outbursts, and his father, Robert, is suffering from Alzheimer’s, becoming a shell of the great sculptor he used to be. 

When Robert goes missing, Vitto and his wife know where to look first: the run-down Tuscany Hotel that Robert and his wife, Magdelena, built together years before as a haven for artists and creative minds to use as a retreat.

When they find Robert at the hotel, he has regained his memories, telling them that the fountain water can cure a broken mind like his. Soon, the hotel is flooded with people suffering from memory issues, and their families, looking for a way to restore their minds and their lives.

But drinking the water comes at a cost, and Robert, Vitto, and the rest of the Tuscany Hotel residents must decide whether getting their lives back is worth the price.

I wasn’t sure about this book when I first started reading it.

It has a slow beginning, and not very likeable characters. Obviously, it’s understandable that Vitto is angry and unpredictable, he’s just come back from war, and his family has completely changed since he left. His son is older than the baby he left behind and barely recognises him. And his father has lost his once sharp mind, unable to feed or clean himself. 

But after the first couple of chapters, and once we’re introduced to the Tuscany Hotel, this story really begins, and the slower pace starts to work in its favour. I don’t always like slow burners, I’ve said it before that I prefer to have a book keep me on edge and up all night reading. But this book would never have worked if it was faster. The slow pace adds to the tranquillity and relaxing atmosphere of the Tuscany Hotel and pulls you deep into the character’s lives.

The beautiful writing and lyrical language also pull you right in.

The descriptions of the hotel and its surroundings almost make the setting a character in itself. The colours jump off the page and make everything all the more life-like. 

I’m someone who isn’t usually a fan of long descriptions any more than I’m a fan of a slow pace, but the way Markert uses words to create atmosphere and set the scene is so beautiful it’s hard to be bored by it. 

The backdrop of Greek mythology was one of my favourite things about the story.

I love a bit of mythology, and I think it’s interesting to read about the mythology of other countries. I don’t know a lot about Greek mythology (mostly what I learned from Disney’s Hercules as a kid, and I don’t know how accurate that was), so I enjoyed hearing all of the stories that Magdelena told Vitto as a kid, who then subsequently tells his own son as a way of bonding with him.

(Side note: one of my favourite parts of this book was when Vitto is telling his son, William, the story of Cronus eating his children, William’s response was ‘Eat ‘em in bites like a cookie? Or in one pop like an olive?’ That made me laugh so much!).

I’ve read a few other people’s thoughts on this book, and it seems to be agreed that Markert got the mythology spot-on, so I’m happy it was one of the things that I enjoyed.

I should know by now not to judge a book I haven’t read...

... yet I still do it. 

There are elements of this book that would be considered magic-realism, and thankfully I only realised this after I started reading and was already absorbed.

I’ve read two books previously that are considered part of the magic-realism genre (or at least part-considered). The first is Love in the Time of Cholera which I hated. So much so that I didn’t even bother finishing it, and it takes a lot for me not to finish a book.

The second was The Hoarder by Jess Kidd, and I’m ashamed to say that seeing a comment on the book cover about its magic-realism elements put me off it, and I didn’t enjoy that book as much as I was expecting. I can’t say for definite that it was because of the genre, but I definitely went into the book with a negative feeling, mostly based on the fact that I hated Love in the Time of Cholera so much.

I judged that book by its cover.

So I am so glad that nowhere in the blurb for Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel did it say anything about magic-realism because it definitely would have put me off and I might not have enjoyed this book as much as I did. 

So if this book gave me nothing else, it at least made me remember not to be so judgemental about genres, and to maybe give magic-realism another go (just not Love in the Time of Cholera).
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I really enjoyed this book. The subject of dementia is very close to home, so to read a book where the effects could be limited was heart-warming. I loved the fantasy/Greek mythology aspect as well. The book was well-written, with believable characters, and the progress as we discover more about Magdalena works well. Well worth the read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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I found this book an interesting look at what it is to recover from PTSD, but also what is it like for a person with any form of Dementia.  Where do they go when they no longer can communicate with their loved ones.  Do they understand what is happening?  I have watched my mother's slide into Front Lobe Dementia the last 10 years.  As her stories have mixed and reality and fiction  are confused, each visit is difficult.  This story helped me understand a little of what she might be going through also.
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"Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel” is a novel filled with the light of Northern Italy.  You can almost taste the wine and olives in this story. Set in a magical hotel in Southern California, the story frequently flashes back to scenes set in Tuscany.  Memory and its loss form the theme of this book, which tells the story of a family dealing with Alzheimers and PTSD.

I enjoyed the setting and theme of “Midnight”.  The characters were engaging, and I wanted to know what became of them. 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Honestly this book is a bit of a neither here nor there kind of a book. But that's not to say that this book wasn't well written. The writing style was quite nice and flowing. I for one love Greek mythology, or mythology of any kind but I felt there was a bit too much of it and that put me off a bit. Overall I found it to be a good book. And a big thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for giving me a chance to read this ARC in exchange of my honest review.
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Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel: 3/5 stars

I received an AR copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for a review

Robert Gandy is recently returned from war and suffering from severe post traumatic stress disorder to the point of harming his family without realizing it. While Robert was away, his wife cared for his ailing father who is suffering from alsheimers and doesn’t remember his son upon his return. After Robert goes into rehabilitation, his father has a spark of sanity and returns to the hotel that they had previously owned, drinking from its fountain and becoming healed. Robert and his family help to reopen the hotel for those who are older and seeking miracles for their ailments. 

While there are many things that are great about this novel, it felt as if we were overloaded with information in the first 1/3 of the novel which then slowed down to a crawl and dragged on for the last portion. The chapters move between present and past times and refer to characters that are both living and dead and while referencing many artistic and historical moments in life, I didn’t feel the magic that should have accompanied the writing with so many references to Greek mythology. I didn’t feel the “WOW” factor that I think got lost (along with my interest) in the middle of the book and then finished with a quick exit to stage right.
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Initially intriguing, I felt the story melted into something far more standard and disappointing. While the characters were well drawn and the concept somewhat unique, it feels that the commitment to it flags.  By the end, I was skimming paragraphs, looking to find out what happened but not particularly caring.
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This book is two parts quirky old people in a hotel, one part WWII, one part dementia, and one part Greek god magic. This novel read a little like a debut novel. Parts of it were incredibly detailed and other parts of it weren't detailed enough. It felt unfinished or not as tightly edited as I thought it should be. However, part of me does wonder if it was on purpose given the focus of memory in this novel. It would be an interesting novel to discuss with people about what is important in life. This novel also did a lot of telling vs. showing, which made me lose some interest and skim parts of it, especially the Greek myth bits. They were used as parallels to things that were happening within the story too, in a very direct way. 

I would recommend this for readers who like books about old people in hotels and book clubs.

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this novel. The thoughts and opinions, however, are my own.
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Vitto Gandy has returned home from World War II, his mind ravaged by the events that have taken place overseas, things he did and did not do.  Vitto returns home to a child who does not remember him and a wife who has been raising a toddler and taking care of Vitto's father, Robert who has been having memory issues- what doctors now call Alzheimer's.  When Robert goes missing one night, Vitto knows that there is only one place that he would go- the Tuscany Hotel that Robert and his wife Magdalena built years ago on the California Coast as a creative retreat for artists and scientists.  When Vitto and his family find Robert, he is miraculously cured.  Claiming that the water from the fountain at the hotel has aided his recovery, Robert has invited others with memory issues and re-opened the hotel.  Along with the inexplicable claims of the fountain, stories of Vitto's mother, Magdalena have resurfaced.  An anomaly, herself, Magdalena was born with memory issues.    The water at the Tuscany Hotel flows freely as more and more people show up for its medicinal properties.  However, when the other side of the water's powers are uncovered, the guests will have to decide whether or not to take the good with the bad. 

A mesmerizing, magical and mythological testament to the powers of memory.  James Markert artfully weaves together the very real issues of post-traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimer's with the magic of miracles and the Greek mythology of Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory.  From the beginning, where Magdalena is introduced at an orphanage on a stormy night, I felt invested in her story.  Magdalena's character was not present for most of the story, but it was her spirit that kept the rest of the characters motivated.  The Tuscany Hotel was created for artists and creators and the writing mirrored that in the descriptions of fresco's, colors, landscapes as well as the minutiae of everyday living. The power of the fountain intrigued me as well as the stories of the people that were helped.  Vitto's healing was fascinating to watch as he resisted the pull of the water and looked within himself to recuperate.  As Robert and Vitto were able to heal, they slowly teased apart Magdalena's past and the story behind the the fountain.  Filled with more tantalizing stories that the one's she often told of the Greek gods and goddesses, Magdalena's written memories aided to unlock more than the past.  Emotional and unique, Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel delivers a powerful story of love and memory. 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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3 stars for a simply "alright" book.

This is a story about memories and coming to terms with your past, a very interesting premise and something most people can relate to. Should you face your painful memories or should you just bury them deep? Will you be able to come to terms with them even if you dig them up? Will you ever be able to fix your relationship with that one elusive person? SHOULD you do it? Do stories from the past still stand tall or are they completely dated by now? All these questions come up at one point or another.

While I, as a Greek person, appreciated the correct use of Greek myths for the story (I'm not trying to say something shitty like "OMG, Greek myths are SO misunderstood by the media", or that I'm extremely attached to my culture's myths and never want to see them misrepresented or anything, but it's not often that they're THIS well integrated into a story), it was too much of a slow burn for me. 

The story moved quickly in the beginning and ending, but the middle sagged quite a lot, like a beer belly on an otherwise lean gentleman. I understand wanting to keep up suspense and looking forward to finally figuring out the mystery, but, in my opinion, it all went on far too long. While that made the book realistic (people not talking about their obvious problems leading to all sorts of misunderstandings is way too common and just as irritating as you can imagine... or as you, yourself, have experience of), it also made it irritating, the kind that makes you hiss "Just get ON with it already"

The characters were decently developed, none of them particularly likeable (to me, at least) The writing was pretty standard, nothing amazing or awful about it.

All in all, while I liked the book, I didn't like it that much, or as much as I expected to like it while reading the first few chapters. You should still give it a try, though.
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I definitely see that the author is skilled at his craft and there were many things to enjoy about this book. But the constant drifting into the mythology stories got old quickly and distracted from the story he was trying to tell. 
The book ended up being much slower moving than it should have been, making it more difficult to really connect with the characters.
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I almost gave up on this book because it seemed just so sad at the beginning.  I am so happy that I kept reading. It would have been easy for this to drift into just an overly sentimental story about trauma and forgiveness but there were so many layers to dig through and the inclusion of the mythology made it a great book. The pace really picked up after Vitto and Valerie got to the old hotel and while it required you to suspend disbelief just a little the reinvigoration of the hotel was uplifting.   I did not envision the depth to which this touched on Alzheimer's and how seamlessly it was incorporated into the overall story.  There were times when the story got dragged down by too much dialogue, especially between Vitto and John, but overall it was well written and easy to envision the old hotel with all the colored doors.  I loved the wrap up of the Magdalena, Robert, Juba story and especially the ending with Vitto, and his family’s commitment to helping those with memory loss.  I would definitely recommend this book.
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