4 out of 4 stars
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"All roads lead to Rome". Golden Tales: Havoc in Rome takes the reader on a private tour of Rome with some comic detours caused by no other than Texel. She can’t wait to meet you.
The main character of this book has to be the female Golden Retriever, Texel. Texel is the name of an island in the Netherlands, and it’s pronounced ‘Tessel’. Texel is such a people-loving dog that she gets in all sorts of ridiculous situations, such as licking the expensive bag of a stranger or stealing a wig from someone’s head. Because Rome is swarming with tourists, Texel is always busy meeting everyone. What’s even funnier is the different reactions people have when encountering Texel and her chaotic behavior. My favorite stories were when Texel stole a wig or when she saw nuns for the first time.
I.V. Everts was born in the Netherlands and came to live in Rome with her husband. She discovered the city like a tourist, so she is extraordinary at showing it to us. The book starts by describing some delightful attractions. The Colosseum, Fontana di Trevi, and the Vatican City are some of the more famous places, but the author also shows us her favorite spots, such as the water clock in Villa Borghese and the view from the Pincio terrace. Places outside of Rome, like Appia Antica and the beach in Tor San Lorenzo, are also mentioned. It made it easy for me to imagine the author’s daily life, walking Texel in those beautiful parks. It seems like paradise until Texel does something unexpected.
What I admired the most was the relationship between the author and Texel. It was adorable to see how much I.V. Everts cares for Texel. She doesn’t get mad at her (as much as she should), she lets her indulge in some guilty pleasures, and she loves her unconditionally. It’s a lovely relationship that makes having such a misbehaving dog worth it.
The author also gives historical details about the places she mentions. Astonishingly, the Colosseum was built by 60,000 Jewish slaves in nine years. What's even more fascinating is that the whole Colosseum used to be covered with a red canvas when it rained. The details regarding history and geography are well-researched. The author even shares maps for finding the spots she mentions.
The book is short and can be easily finished all at once. My digital copy had 171 pages full of photos, illustrations, and maps that made the book visually attractive. The author uses simple words and explains more complex ones, such as "nicking", which is the British way of saying "stealing". I find this book suitable for children because of the censored words and easy descriptions. The writing is passionate, filled with exclamation marks, interjections, and upper-case letters.
In another chapter, it also gives away traditional dishes and recipes. I had no idea about where the name of “carbonara” comes from, but now I know its history. The recipes seem unique and worth trying.
Golden Tales was a pleasant surprise for me. I thought it would be a hilarious tale, but it also became a true collection of Rome’s most beautiful parts. It deserves 4 out of 4 stars. Since I only found three minor errors, I must say the book is exceptionally edited. Firstly, I need to recommend this to animal lovers, to those who like funny and relaxing stories, and to those passionate about travel. After reading this book, I’m left with two main ideas. I need to visit Rome and to get a Golden Retriever. You can’t ever get bored if you have a dog like Texel.
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