The Apartment in Rome by Penny Feeny

When the past comes to your door, what can you do except let it in? Gina’s life is good. She is independent. She loves her adopted home in Italy and she is passionate about her work as a photographer. Maybe her lover isn’t all she might hope and her beautiful apartment is in need of repair, but you can’t have everything all the time. And anyway, she’s all wrapped up in her latest artistic project, shots of the young men who arrive in Italy as refugees, destitute and vulnerable.
Until one day, Sasha, a lonely British teenager at summer school, crosses Gina’s path, and unwittingly sets her world spinning. Sasha’s innocent romance creates complications neither of them could have imagined. Leading Gina to wonder, can she come to terms with her past
A few years ago I went on a city break to Rome, I visited all the picturesque tourist attractions shown in magazines, on the tv, in films etc.
This is the side of Rome, you don’t read much about in The Apartment in Rome. Instead it tells in parts the battle that asylum seekers go through for recognition by the government.
Penny Feeny brings us a story that at times is hard going. But through her descriptive writing and intense characters, you find yourself lost in the streets of Rome with Sasha, capturing images with Gina and caught up in the chaos that is life.
Gina is an English photographer who has lived in Italy for many years, she has quite a past and it’s through flashbacks that we learn more about her.
Gina appears to live a contented life in her apartment and playing mistress to her landlor. But one day a chance encounter with Sasha, (an English teenager) leads Gina’s past to her present.
Out of the main characters I found myself really liking Sasha , I love the journey her character goes on, she grows so much within the story. Gina was an intriguing character, who at times comes across as cold and collected. There are occasions when Gina shows a nurturing side, but they are fleeting, that said I couldn’t imagine Gina any other way.
The story has a lovely ending, which ties up all loose ends, meaning when you close the pages you know where the characters are.
Fancy a city break this weekend then head to The Apartment in Rome.

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