The small nation of Vallerosa has always done well for itself, an almost secret haven hidden between the mountains. But an American consultant has the President concerned about growing the economy, all crops have been turned over to plant tea, and the ministers are desperate to look like they know what they’re doing. When a Royal visitor is announced things are looking up – but when Duke of Edinburgh student Lizzie appears instead everything is thrown. But could Lizzie be exactly what Vallerosa needs?
This is perhaps the perfect holiday read. After some fairly traumatic and dramatic books this charmed and pleased me so much! A loving, mocking modern fable of humanity and civilisation with brilliant characterisation and a plot that is endlessly satisfying. I so enjoyed this book!
Vallerosa is a dream. The people are stuck between a desire to catch up with the rest of the world and a wish for things to remain how they have always been. And how they have always worked. The ideals of community and small town life are extolled here – but yet it needs some new ideas to change the various elements that have got stuck in a rut.
The President and Lizzie are both wonderful characters, trying in a messy situation to make the best of things. Their journeys were interesting, believable and gentle, and their perspectives always intriguing.
The way the plot developed was delicious, with the small secrets and mysteries of the nation gradually unravelling as things started at the same time to come together. The picture of Vallerosa was well painted, it’s people, landscape and history all slotting together nicely.
A warm, charming, and lovely book – heartily recommended.