Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Guest Review: A Postcard from Italy by Alex Brown

Grace Quinn loves her job at Cohen’s Convenient Storage Company, finding occasional treasure in the forgotten units that customers have abandoned. Her inquisitive nature is piqued when a valuable art collection and a bundle of letters and diaries are found that date back to the 1930’s.
Delving deeper, Grace uncovers the story of a young English woman, Connie Levine, who follows her heart to Italy at the end of the Second World war. The contents also offer up the hope of a new beginning for Grace, battling a broken heart and caring for her controlling mother.
Embarking on her own voyage of discovery, Grace’s search takes her to a powder pink villa on the cliff tops overlooking the Italian Riviera, but will she unravel the family secrets and betrayals that Connie tried so hard to overcome, and find love for herself?





Review: It would be true to say that I have never encountered an Alex Brown book that I did not thoroughly enjoy. I am glad to report that this one is no exception. This story had me hooked from the very start of the journey as it transported me from the heart of London to a beautiful Italian town on an intriguing quest.

The central character in the book is Grace Quinn, who is employed by a small storage company doing a job which she loves, but has an unhappy life outside work. Part of her job at a small storage company in London, and one she enjoys particularly, involves clearing out out abandoned storage units. One such unit, belonging to a Mrs Donato, really catches Grace’s attention when she discovers potentially valuable items; not the usual type of articles left behind and forgotten. Her curiosity piqued, Grace also finds a diary, which leads her on a search to find out more about Mrs Donato, and ultimately to Italy and a man who becomes increasingly important to her.

I thought this was a truly marvellous piece of storytelling by Alex Brown. I was really caught up in the mystery surrounding the storage locker and the lady owner who, as Grace discovered, had spent such an amazing life. I actually gasped out loud at some points. I had to admire Grace’s determination to get to the bottom of the story, overcoming personal difficulties along the way. There are, of course, other characters in the book, including Grace’s kindly boss, her overbearing mother and unhelpful siblings, and her good friend and neighbour, Jamie. They all play important roles, but Grace is undoubtedly the lynchpin of the story and I was cheering her along all the way. I very much enjoyed the trip to Italy; the descriptions of sights and sounds, and of course the food had me longing to visit again. I would recommend this book without reservation to most readers; there is mystery, romance and travel within one cover.


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