Paula Xiberras

Ironically just before I chatted with author Vanessa Carnevale she was holidaying in my home state of Tasmania. Vanessa tells me it was her first trip to Tassie and.that everyone, including the kids enjoyed the lovely drive in Launceston, the Tamar Valley, Vanessa and her family had such a wonderful experience she was disappointed the stay was only five nights! Vanessa has however informed me she has taken some excellent photos and who knows perhaps a book will eventuate sometime in the future.

Interestingly, historically, the Carnevale name might be given to a person who was born around the time of a carnival or had a ‘carnival’ or ‘celebratory spirit’. A name ironically, well suited to the topic of the novel, that of celebrating life. Vanessa tells me ‘The Florentine Bridge’ was written on Saturday afternoons over a six week period.

Vanessa’s novel is about Mia, a young artist who is recovering from cancer, still feeling very fragile and afraid of the possible return of her illness. Her life, so long on hold, she tentatively resumes, by taking a visit to Italy to kick-start her artistic career.

Mia meets mechanic Luca, perhaps symbolically he is the man who can mend her spirit and put her back on the road of life again. He helps Mia see that she cannot live in fear for what might happen especially when she suddenly feels poorly and fears she is ailing once again. These feelings prove unfounded and just when Mia is beginning to flourish without fear an event occurs that once again shows Mia the fragility of life.

The novel focuses on some deep themes but also includes some light hearted moments such as the Italian cure for toothache … garlic!

‘The Florentine Bridge’ is out now published by Harlequin.