Book review: Headstrong in Tuscany

Sarah Hughes

A coming-of-age novel that’ll take you away from the cool autumn days and deliver you to the warmth of Italy.  This debut book (originally entitled Tuscany – a novel) by Fay Henson, is set in the small pretty city of Siena, and follows British teenager Caylin as she strives to enjoy her family holiday abroad.

Headstrong is definitely one of the characteristics belonging to seventeen-year-old Caylin and more than likely can apply to most girls of that age.  She didn’t want to go abroad on holiday with her parents until money came into the equation.  Girls love to spend so the prospect of going away with a pocketful of notes was too tempting to turn down.  It’s unlikely many girls would deprive themselves of shopping.

However, together with the money burning a hole in her pocket and having to attend various cultural experiences in Tuscany without the fun and company of  her own age group, Caylin ups and leaves the hotel and hitchhikes away from the countryside to Siena.  She’s at an age when nothing can wait, actions are always on impulse.  An utter nightmare of course for parents knowing their daughter is alone, vulnerable and unable to communicate in Italian.  

Caylin needs to get away and explore with the aim of finding and socialising with fellow teens and certainly not considering what could happen to her being a young girl alone.  At various points through the book, she has the curious support via WhatsApp of her two best friends back home in Bristol.  

But despite the fact that she has money and free to do as she pleases, it doesn’t shield her from the traits of some people.  Jealousy and theft lead to complications arising amid a new friendship formed with an Italian girl and her friends which she struggles to maintain.  She makes decisions, one which should have more thought. 

This is not just a story of a young girls struggle with attitudes and emotions, but also in love, until tall and protective Joe comes to her side, who surprises her with his revelation about sex and one which ultimately helps her.

We discover that through tragedy, Caylin isn’t just headstrong, but a caring young girl who grows up during the twenty-one chapters of this nicely written book, and one which isn’t easy to put down. 

Published by The Conrad Press,  you can purchase Headstrong in Tuscany in paperback version through their website or via Amazon.  e-Book immediately available.  

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