Sophie is serving gelato to tourists in Italy when she gets the call that her father has had a serious heart attack. In a rush, she grabs her well-worn backpack and heads back to the one place she’s been avoiding for so long – home. Living with her mum again while her dad recuperates, and taking a job teaching Italian to make ends meet, Sophie has to face up to the secrets she’s kept buried in the past.
Catherine has no idea what the future holds. Her children have left for university, her husband has left her for another woman and her bank account is left empty after dedicating her life to raising her family. She needs a job and an identity all of a sudden. At an Italian evening class she makes a start in finding new friends Anna and Sophie. And she’s going to need good friends when she discovers her husband’s lies run even deeper than his infidelity… As Anna embarks on the trip to Italy that could answer all of her questions, will the truth live up to her dreams?
Review: ooo this was a lovely lovely book. I connected with the characters and the storyline right from the word go. I loved the setting, I loved the structure and I loved the way everything was resolved at the end. Because this book centres around three different women, initially the book is structured so we visit one woman at a time and see her storyline (Anna's was my favourite storyline intially because I loved the connection that she had with Italy) but of course these women's lives become intertwined and so we get to visit them altogether after a point as well as sometimes apart when they are off gallivanting on their own. Although it as a little predictable that they would all end up joking together, I really needed that predictability and so I loved it, and I really enjoyed the way the story was structured, it made it very clear whose storyline was being addressed. The storyline I liked the least intially was Spphie's but I grew to enjoy seeing her continue to build upon her relationship with her parents as the book went on.
The characters in this novel were really believable and easy to like, the whole book had a real Milly Johnson feel about it and although I'm not normally one to compare authors, she is one of my favourites and so I think that's one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much! Sophie has been living the dream, travelling the world and the reality when she comes back hom hits her hard. Think this is something we can all identify with, even if it's just from having been on holiday, but those people who have travelled or have worked abroad will be able to connect with the lovely Sophie too. Anna's story is lovely, she seems to get the break at work which is fab, there's definitely romance in the air for her too and then there's her mysterious connection with Italy. She handles all the is thrown at her extremely well and I really liked her and her storyline because of this. Someone else who has a lot thrown at her is Catherine. I don't think initially she handled all that she had to cope with as well as Anna but it was really interesting to see her grow and blossom as the book went on and I think, in the end, I was rooting for her the most!
There are a host of fabulous supporting characters as well, my favourite of these was Pete with his interesting array of spreadsheets. I loved the way this author wrote him and gave him his comeuppance in the end! The book ties everything altogether nicely in the last few chapters and then in the wonderful epilogue and so some might find the predictability of this a little too much and too full on, but this was just the kind of book I wanted to read and so I loved the fact that everything was tied off neatly, I wouldn't have gone to a book like this if that wasn't what I fancied but predictability is on the high side, so if that's not what you're in the mood for then save this book for another time.
For a book with Italy in the title, very little of it is actually set in Italy, but a lot of it is set in the north with I loved. I like being able to identify landmarks and towns (as well as shopping centres) when I'm reading a novel sometimes and so the setting for me was absolutely perfect! This book gave me a real warmth of feeling and was just the right amount of coziness for a summer novel. If you are a fan of Lucy Diamon then you won't be disappointed by this latest offering and if you're looking for a real solid, fun, feel-good women's fiction read then this novel is for you-it may even improve your Italian! Now I am gong to go and add a couple more Lucy Diamond books to my collection!