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Last Voyage of the Valentina
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Last Voyage of the Valentina

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  654 ratings  ·  74 reviews

Exotically beautiful but desperately unhappy, Alba lives on a houseboat on the Thames, where she enjoys a life of leisure and entertains an endless and unfulfilling succession of lovers. But then she discovers a portrait of her dead mother, Valentina — a woman she'd hardly known, whose story has been kept from her by her still grieving father. Determined to learn the truth

Paperback, 416 pages
Published May 23rd 2006 by Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group (first published February 28th 2005)
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I am not surprisingly, considering where I currently live, drawn to novels set in Italy. This turned out to be not as atmospheric as one might have hoped, but it was still a reasonable easy read for a sunny afternoon.

Romantic escapism set in England and Italy in the 1940’s and the 1970’s, the novel starts with a Prologue telling us about an honour murder committed at the end of WWII. This mystery behind this murder is finally solved in the 1970’s when Alba...more
This was one of the most disappointing books I have read in a long time. The outdated Woman's Day magazine I flipped through at the doctor's office had more originality and depth. The only reason I continued reading this book to the end is because I wanted the author to solve the mystery of the protagonist's mother, for the book jacket promises "a mysterious tale of decadence, deception, murder, and betrayal involving partisans and Nazis, peasants and counts." Perhaps if the author had spun such...more
Santa Montefiore takes you on a breathtaking journey from the heart of London to a little bay of the coast of Sorrento - Incantellaria. The story starts at the end of the first world war with a murder then jumps ahead twenty years. It is a skillfully woven plot but it is the descriptions of Italy that will intice the reader. The author has complete mastery over the medium and one experiences the many delights of Italy through the eyes of the characters. The characters themselves are complex and...more

I was hoping that reading a book by this widely available author would fill the void now that I've read pretty much everything by authors such as Lucinda Riley. But I was quite disappointed. The blurb sounded like an intriguing foray into WWII Italy, with the usual plotline of family secrets, etc.

The first thing to note is that the main character, Alba, is completely unlikeable in my opinion. At age 26, her only claim to fame is sleeping with anything that moves on her houseboat...more
I have been a big fan of Santa Montefiore's books for awhile now and her novels set in South America are some of the best I have read, so I looked forward to this one with much anticipation, alas it just did not live up to her other novels. The characters were unlikeable, the plot predictable and the ending confusing! If you are thinking of trying this author definitely try "Meet Me Under the Ombu Tree", "The Butterfly Box" or "The Forget-me-not Sonata".

After a shaky start at the first few chapters, I have to say I loved this book. I picked it randomly off my mums bookshelf when I finished my previous book today , and had nothing else to read with me.
From the moment I was introduced to Alba and her family , I knew this was going to be a book with a mystery buried deep that needed solving.
I must admit that at first I disliked Alba finding her a very selfish person, but on her relocation to Italy she blossomed and became a much better person. F...more
Mais uma vez a autora leva-nos para um cenário marcado pela II Guerra Mundial, personagens com recordações, com personagens sempre envoltas em grande mistério. Mas desta vez não visitamos a Argentina... Em "A Ultima Viagem de Valentina" viajamos até à bela Itália, a uma ilha Encantada onde apesar do triunfo do amor em tempos de guerra, a tragédia e o misticismo acabam por tomar parte da história.
Alba viveu toda a sua vida sem nunca poder falar sobre a Mãe: Valentina, uma italiana lindissima que...more
Christina Philippi-toro
This book was beautifully written and went back and forth in time that was was easy to follow. Often books forward and flash back and it is choppy and confusing. Not with this story.

Read for beauty, pleasure, and some endearing and extravagant characters. Go on. Read it now.
I love anything about Italy,but I must say this was the first book I read from Santa Montefiore and I absolutely fell in love with it and her. Alba,the main character is living in Thames and was never told about her mother Valentina who is deceased. This sets her on a journey of discovery as she returns to her mother's homeland ... the olive groves of the Amalfi coast of Italy,the village of Incantellaria. Alba discovers her true self as well as her family's hidden secrets.

Montefiore has a spell...more
Lovely book!!
Sexy & exciting

Dreadfull end!!! ;(
Nicole Girolomo
I find it difficult to get in to stories when I don't really care for the main character and that was the case with this book. She's a spoiled and bratty and slutty but her background, or really her parent's background is intriguing. I enjoyed the different settings in this novel - London, the English countryside and the seaside town in Italy. The main character does finally grow up when she learns the truth about her mother and is forced to make a difficult decision. Overall a good read that wa...more
Kathryn Tekell
DID NOT FINISH. Stopped at page 126
The heroin of this book is a very spoiled, promicous, mistunderstood (or so she herself believes) young woman who uses everyone to her own advantage, and when she's tired of the men in her life, she just tells them to go and turns her back. Not someone you like at all. Then it does get better about halfway thru. She travels to a little town in Italy to 'find' her mother, and eventually turns her life around. Can't say I really enjoyed reading it, still can't figure out why I kept reading until m...more
Darlene Spalding
Not as much about Italy as I might have hoped, but I would recommend it for an OK Summer read.
Alba feels adrift. She never met her mom and doesn't think her dad tells her enough about her dead mom. She decides to make a quest to Italy to reconnect with her mom's family. While there she finds out the truth about her mom and about herself. It is an interesting story, with lots of plot twists. It's a believeable story, because we've all met people who didn't know one of their parents, so they idolized them instead of knowing them as a balanced person with faults and strong sides.
I really like books like this. You know, stories where you can really feel the place it has been set, smell it. Aside from being a bookworm I'm also a wanderlust so now I have a deep desire to go and see Incantellaria. It's just so beautiful in my imagination!
However, I don't really believe in love at first sight. It's just not possible (I speak for myself). You can feel an instant connection with a stranger but love them? No.
This book is a good one!
this book initially got my attention because the author came highly recommended from a friend - The fact that it was set in Italy, where we visited 2 Summers ago was also attractive - The book embraces a unique genre of murder mystery / romance novel. Interesting character development, predictable, but surprising. It was not a huge page turner for me, but worth reading to the end, if that makes any sense!
Sarah Browning
Current bookclub book. It was okay. Easy read with interesting story. The storyline was cleverly layered to keep you interested.
I didnt really empathise with the main character. I found her irritating but maybe i was supposed to. But it got a bit too Shirley Valentine for me . What are the chances of returning to your birth place to find nothinghas changed and everyone knows who you are?

This was an interesting plot about a young Italian woman who grew-up in America with her Father (her Mother had died when she was a baby). Father remarried, and she never felt like she belonged. She eventually goes to Italy and finds her Mother's family, and discovers a secret about her Mother, and also her heritage. A fine read.
Pfff... Eerste keer dat ik een boek heb gelezen van Santa Montefiore, maar dat is niet goed bevallen. Ik ging er steeds sneller doorheen bladeren en ergerde me aan de beschrijvingen en dialogen. Ik heb nog een boek van haar op de plank staan, dus ze krijgt nog een kans, maar deze gaat meteen op de stapel bestemd voor de Slegte.
I was introduced to an enchanting little village on the Amalfi coast of Italy. I hope there is such a place. This is definitely a good summer real. The main heroine lives in London in a houseboat on the Thames which was an interesting thing to discover - houseboats on the Thames.
Almost didn't admit to reading this, but I did finish it, so I guess I better 'fess up. Plot is pretty much soap opera but she has descriptions that really put you in time and place. I enjoyed being taken to an isolated village on the Italian coast in 1947 and London in the 1970s.
This book was a little bit out of my comfort zone. I'm a big fan of historical fiction, and this takes place more in the present-day. It's about a young woman trying to discover the life of a mother she's never known. It's a very interesting journey and had a happy ending.
Hannah Iannetta-Muirhead
An enjoyable book. Nothing too heavy, great for holiday reading or for sitting In the garden in the sun. The story line is engaging, and, by the end, the author manages to get the reader to sympathise with the selfish, hedonistic central character, which is quite something.
Frances Woodring
I enjoyed this book. I especially liked the way it ended.
Edwin Jaehn
Authors with strange names can write books that are appealing to an ordinary guy like me.
The author uses a very large "canvas" to create an almost epic story of a woman's effort to find her family roots-- but this is a poor synopsis. Read it!
I liked this book quite a bit. The only reason I gave it four stars was that it has one of those unclear endings that leave you ticked off for not being sure what just happened. If you hate that, don't even pick up the book.
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Born in England in 1970 Santa Montefiore grew up on a farm in Hampshire and was educated at Sherborne School for Girls. She read Spanish and Italian at Exeter University and spent much of the 90s in Buenos Aires, where her mother grew up. She converted to Judaism in 1998 and married historian Simon Sebag Montefiore in the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London. They live with their two children, Lily...more
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