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Book Review: Dawn in Florence by Nayana Phukan

Dawn in Florence is a clean and uncluttered romance novel by Nayana Phukan. Unlike other type of romance novels where mostly characters are young and unmarried, this novel captures the love feelings of two people who are not only married but also have children.

This is a story of Leena Shenoy, a single parent with two kids residing in Mumbai. By profession she is a civil engineer and works in an architecture company. Her life in Mumbai is just another banal story. After a divorce from her husband Ranveer, she is entangled mostly into two things – work at office, and kids at home. In a sense, she is leading a cold and vapid life. Isn’t life a boring affair without any tinge of excitement?

Despite all odds, Leena is a great mother. She works hard for her kids. She wants to resurrect herself with finances. As the year 2018 was about to end, she gets an onsite job opportunity for six months in Florence, Italy. She hesitates and doesn’t like the idea of going away from the kids for six months. However, this onsite opportunity could elevate her status professionally; thus, she goes there.

Since Leena arrives in Italy, a seemingly light love story kicks off. For her, Italy is a great place. She explores it with the company of her colleagues and at times on her own. Be it architecture, fashion trends, streets, or bars – among all she is bewitched by the unrivaled beauty of the river Arno. As expressed by the author, “A river is more than an amenity, it’s a treasure.”

In the office, Leena stumbles upon Siddharth Sharma, the stakeholder manager. He is an extremely handsome man. Leena just couldn’t take her eyes off him. She is pulled by his magnetic charm instantly. Their encounter brings the equation of love at first sight. Probably, for Leena it’s love at first sight.

Amidst the daily office activities and other light chores, Leena and Siddharth get close and develop a light bonding of love in the guise of friendship. Short meet ups around the river Arno and the coffee shops try lifting up the relationship at another level, but no love story is straight without a destiny angle. Both knew that this love story was another cul-de-sac. Leena was sure that she is heading for heartbreak. She has strong feelings for him, but at that same time she doesn’t want to destroy the family of Siddharth. She knows what it feels like to have a family destroyed by betrayal.

The story is slightly predicted but the beautiful backdrop of Italy makes it look like a ‘Mills and Boons’ novel. The vivid description of Rome, Venice, Milan, and so on keeps the novel cheerful and optimistic. In fact, anyone lost for tourism knowledge about Italy can definitely pick up this novel. There is a lot of information, which runs in the backdrop, about various cities of Italy, including Greece.

The main theme of the novel is a feeling called ‘love’. Love doesn’t come with protocols or restrictions; it is free like wild wind. Though Leena and Siddharth knew their societal limits but they couldn’t resist falling in love. Love can happen anytime. Love isn’t about living together forever.  In fact, there are many love stories that remain incomplete, they remember each other every day, but cannot afford calling or seeing them. But why? The answers lie in the rigid barriers of our societies. Love is always beautiful whether it meets destination or not…

Nayana has written a brilliant love affair; however, at places it lacks intensity. Her caliber at writing is evident, the way she described Italy’s beautiful cities along with Leena’s bundle of emotions is superb. The novel moves at a measured pace – it can be finished reading in one sitting. Thankfully, there are no grammar blunders and the simple usage of language makes this novel a likeable entity among all sorts of readers. Highly recommended!

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