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MEMOIR MARCH: Marcus of Umbria by Justine Van der Leun

My library has this one and I have meant to read it since it came out.  It has dogs and Italy, so what more could I want?


People magazine calls Marcus of Umbria “charming”; Marley & Me author John Grogan proclaims that Justine van der Leun “is blessed with the elusive gift of storytelling”; Like Water for Elephants author Sara Gruen calls the book “warm, comic, and beautifully descriptive. I devoured this compassionate and sharply funny book in one sitting.”
Readers will delight in this tale of an urbanite who leaves her magazine job to move to Collelungo,
Italy, population: 200. There, in the ancient city center of a historic Umbrian village, she sets up house
with the enticing local gardener she met on vacation only weeks earlier. This impulsive decision launches an eye-opening series of misadventures when village life and romance turn out to be radically different from what she had imagined.
Love lost with the gardener is found instead with Marcus, an abandoned English pointer that she
rescues. With Marcus by her side, Justine discovers the bliss and hardship of living in the countryside:
herding sheep, tending to wild horses, picking olives with her adopted Italian family, and trying her best to learn the regional dialect. The result is a rich, comic, and unconventional portrait about learning to live and love in the most unexpected ways.

About the Author

JUSTINE VAN DER LEUN has written for various publications, including O, The Oprah Magazine, the New York Observer, Marie Claire, and The Bark. She lives in Brooklyn.


  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (May 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160961139X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609611392


  1. Thanks! This sounds like a wonderful book.

  2. It does sound like a great book. I always like it when I find an off the beaten track memoir.

  3. This does sound like a good one. Especially the dog.


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