by Katrina Nannestad
Anyone who has been to Rome will tell you it is a cacophony of sights, sounds and smells. If you have not been to Rome then you will feel like you have after reading The Girl, the Dog and the Writer in Rome.
When I chose this book to review I have to say that the cover and the fact that is is set in one of my favourite cities in the world may have had a little bit to do with it. The story outline also made me want to curl up and read it. Ten year old Freja is shy and has spent most of her life studying animals with her mother. However circumstances change and Freja’s mother has to leave her wither best friend, the absent minded crime writer Tobias, and his Irish Wolf Hound, Finnegan. For the shy Freja this is a very difficult time in her life, which is made all the more difficult when they travel to the wild and wonderful city that is Rome. Just as Freja begins to make friends and come out of her shell she and Tobias stumble across a real life adventure that might really get them in trouble.
I may have been predisposed to love this book because of its setting, but Katrina Nannestad really brought Rome and its people to life with her colourful illiterate descriptions of the city, the people and the food. What really makes this work though is at its core this book is a story about a painfully shy child who grows in confidence to make friends and learns to trust people. The characters are colourful and off-beat and Finnegan the dog is the companion every child secretly wishes for. A mystery is thrown in for good measure, which keeps you guessing right to the end.
Children from eight up will really warm to this funny, sad, happy book, and many adults will be charmed too.
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