Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Guest Review: Chasing the Italian Dream by Jo Thomas

A summer escape she'll never forget . . .


Lucia has worked hard as a lawyer in Wales, aiming for a big promotion she hopes will shortly come her way. Finally taking a well-earned break at her grandparents' house in southern Italy, the sunshine, lemon trees and her nonna's mouth-watering cooking make her instantly feel at home.

But she's shocked to learn that her grandfather is retiring from the beloved family pizzeria and will need to sell. Lucia can't bear the thought of the place changing hands - especially when she discovers her not-quite-ex-husband Giacomo wants to take it over!

Then bad news from home forces Lucia to re-evaluate what she wants from life. Is this her chance to carry on the family tradition and finally follow her dreams?


Review: As a firm fan of Jo Thomas’s books, I was very much looking forward to this new offering. I knew from the book’s title and evocative cover that I would be off for a glorious trip to Italy and, from past experience, that there would be some mouthwatering descriptions of food along the way. I was proved right; the story had me transfixed from the word go up to the very last page. 


When Lucia arrives for her annual holiday at her grandparents’ home in southern Italy, she is dismayed to find that her grandfather is about to retire and is planning to hand over his beloved and well respected restaurant to her estranged husband, Giacomo. As she realises that the career path she has been following as a lawyer is actually not what she wants in life, and that she would like to take over the pizzeria herself, she has to find a way to convince her grandfather that she is capable of doing just that. She has learned to cook at her grandmother’s side and helped in the restaurant over the years, but a major worry is that a female pizzaiola (master pizza-maker) will not be accepted by the traditionalist customers. As Lucia sets out to follow her heart and prove the doubters wrong, she must also learn to work alongside Giacomo and examine what went wrong with their marriage.


This is a fantastic story of family, friendship, love and tradition that I have enjoyed reading and was sorry to finish. Along with Lucia, I was instantly transported to sun-soaked Italy and could smell pizza all the way through the book. I would defy anyone to read this book and not be craving pizza at some point, although I was not too sure about some of the innovations in toppings being suggested by Giacomo! Throughout the story, there is a strong message about the importance of women in the family and in business, and that they are well able to fill roles traditionally left to men. As with any of Jo Thomas’s books that I have read, I can throughly recommend this one to other readers. It is an excellent read, not just for summer, but will lift the spirit at any time of year.


To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US


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