One Italian Summer by Lori Nelson Spielman
Publishing Date: 30th April 2020
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 400
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction
Three women. One family curse. The summer of a lifetime.
For generations, no second-born daughter in the Fontana family has married. Lucy desperately wants to find love, but for her cousin Emilia, their family curse is a blessing in disguise.
But then their Great Aunt Poppy declares she’ll reunite with her long-lost love on her eightieth birthday – and break the curse once and for all.
And so the three women embark on a journey to Tuscany to fulfil Poppy’s last wish. But the secrets they uncover there could change their family forever…
“One Italian Summer” introduces us to three women that, except from belonging to one family, have nothing in common. Or maybe they do – they are all the second daughters in the Fontana family. The family curse says that, as a second – born daughter you will never find love. Isn’t it time to break the curse? Poppy, who is nearing her 80th birthday, is about to complete a journey of her life and she decides to take her two estranged nieces with her. Emilia and Lucy both need to learn what life is really about – is the journey going to help them?
In this dual – narrative story we follow Poppy, Emmie and Lucy, three virtual strangers travelling together, about to discover that actually there are many things they have in common. I immediately fell in love with Poppy – she was wise but without being patronising and she felt real. She was not the über – wise older person who knows everything and passes her knowledge on with a small smile on her lips and patting you on the head, oh no, she’d rather tell you, not mincing her words, how the things are and what she thinks about them. It was so great to see how her life – approach, her flamboyant ways started to rub off onto Emilia and Lucy, especially on Emmie who needed this so much. Emmie was also great, there was so much more to her than met the eye at the first sight – yes, she was so subordinate and let her Nonna decide about everything but deep, deep inside she knew that it’s not right, and it was absolutely brilliant (albeit sometimes depressing, as it took her So.Much.Time) to see her manning up and start to live her life on her own terms. It made my heart sing to see them all blossoming, finding themselves and their self – esteem, learning what it is they want from life and learning how not to be afraid to reach for it – you’ll want the characters to find happiness, hoping for a happy end for all of them.
If there is only one thing that you should take from this book, let it be that everything is possible. That the word “impossible” doesn’t exist. But there is so much more to enjoy in this book, believe me. It oozes with love, care and acceptance, and even though there is sadness running through the story, there is also the overwhelming feeling of joy.
The story is beautifully written, the author has a lovely way with words and her descriptions are vivid and colourful, bringing all the characters, events and settings to life and she takes you on a journey through years and countries and continents that is filled with adventures and evocative narration.
It was full of secrets, lies, twists and turns and you just want to keep reading, to keep turning the pages to see what’s going to happen, to know the truth. There came a moment that I started to guess what has really happened and, as it turned out, I was right but it didn’t spoil the reading at all. It only confirmed me in my sympathy to some characters and antipathy to the others.
Yes, in my opinion there are some things that are a bit too far – fetched, that the reality is a bit stretched for the purpose of fiction but it is still a powerful story that will quickly draw you in. You will feel a part of this book and characters’ worlds, going with them on a roller – coaster journey full of sadness and happiness, love and hate. “One Italian Summer” is a lovely, heart – warming and clever story, beautifully written and engaging, that I thoroughly enjoyed. Highly recommended!
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