When I went to the Books and the City Spring Blogger Evening back in February one of the books in my goody bag was If You Could Go Anywhere by Paige Toon. Here’s what the back cover has to say about it:
HOW DO YOU FIND WHERE YOU’RE GOING, IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU’RE FROM . . .
Angie has always wanted to travel. But at twenty-seven, she has barely stepped outside the small mining town where she was born. Instead, she discovers the world through stories told to her by passing travellers, dreaming that one day she’ll see it all for herself.
When her grandmother passes away, leaving Angie with no remaining family, she is ready to start her own adventures. Then she finds a letter revealing the address of the father she never knew, and realises instantly where her journey must begin: Italy.
As Angie sets out to find the truth – about her family, her past and who she really is – will mysterious and reckless Italian Alessandro help guide the way?
I really enjoyed this book. It was one of those where you go sit outside with a book “to read a few pages” and the next thing you know it’s a few hours later and you’ve read half of it. Paige Toon has managed to skillfully handle some tricky subjects as this features dementia, grief and mental health problems. But she’s also done so in a book that makes you enjoy reading it and feel like you’ve escaped from your life for a few hours whilst doing so.
This is a book about travel. I’ve been to Norway (although I couldn’t tell you all the places we went) and those sections were true to my memories of the country. I’ve always wanted to visit Italy (particularly Rome) and reading about the places Angie visits reawakened that wish. If I had one criticism of If You Could Go Anywhere, it would be that Angie doesn’t visit more places as she was so keen to travel at the beginning. But it’s still a brilliant book which doesn’t actually need more travel in it for plot purposes.
I’ve read (and reviewed) several of Paige Toon’s books in the past but I hadn’t read any of them for a few years. Having read If You Could Go Anywhere I’m reminded just how much I enjoy Paige’s writing and I think I’ll be reading a few more of them in the next few months. Highly recommended for anyone who wants a well written, escapist read that has substance and a few surprises along the way,.