I picked up this book a few times this summer, but never bought it. Then a friend of mine mentioned on her blog that she had done the same thing and finally bought it and enjoyed it. Based on her recommendation I finally committed. It started off well enough but the second half and ending weren't good.
I read in the interview at the back of the book, that the author worked on the book on and off for 15 years and it shows. It's very disjointed. It starts with a dying American actress Dee Moray arriving in a town near Cinque Terre in the 60s. She was filming Cleopatra in Italy when she found out she was sick. She comes to a family owned pensione - the Hotel Adequate View (the name is explained later) Pasquale lives there with his mother and aunt (his father died in the war).
Michael Deane is a producer in present day LA. He worked on Cleopatra when he was younger. After some success, Michael hasn't produced anything in a long time. But on one of his "Wild Pitch Fridays" Claire Silver spends the day listening to pitches from anyone. Shane Wheeler an aspiring screenwriter has flown in from Oregon to make his pitch.
Pasquale comes in with one of Michael Deane's old business cards from the Cleopatra days looking for help to find Dee Moray. Pasquale speaks no English but Shane just happens to be fluent in Italian.
From there the book goes back and forth between Italy and the US. Past and present. While it's easy enough to follow, I feel like the characters and the original plot had great potential but then it just fell apart. The last chapter especially felt rushed with quick summaries of what happened to everybody.
If you want a book about Italy I'd recommend the Shoemakers Wife. I don't have a recommendation for a Hollywood book.