Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Gust Review: Under the Italian Sun by Sue Moorcroft

A warm, sun-baked terrace.

The rustle of verdant green vines.

The sun slowly dipping behind the Umbrian mountains.

And the chink of wine glasses as the first cork of the evening is popped…

Welcome to Italy. A place that holds the answer to Zia-Lucia Costa Chalmers’ many questions. Not least, how she ended up with such a mouthful of a name.

When Zia discovers that her mother wasn’t who she thought she was, she realises the time has come to search out the Italian family she’s never known.

However, as she delves into the secrets of her past, she doesn’t bargain on having to think about her future too. But with local vineyard owner, Piero, living next door, Zia knows she has a serious distraction who may prove difficult to ignore…

This summer, join Zia as she sets out to uncover her past. But can she find the future she’s always dreamed of along the way?




Review: I have been looking forward to reading this new book from Sue Moorcroft. Its bright, sunny cover invites the reader in and promises a trip somewhere warm, picturesque and relaxing. The setting for the story is actually split between the UK and Italy, but the majority of it takes place in the little Umbrian town of Montelibert√†, a location that other readers of Sue’s books may recognise from a previous novel. The story had me hooked early on, and I was quickly immersed in the characters’ world.

This is the story of Zia-Lucia Costa Chalmers who suddenly discovers that the woman she thought to be her mother was, in fact, not that at all. She makes this discovery long after her ‘mother’ and her grandparents are dead, making it difficult to find out about her family history, and the origin of her unusual name. However, some letters and papers provide her with clues regarding an Italian connection, prompting her to set off with best friend Ursula on a trip to the Umbrian town of Montelibert√† where she hopes to find answers to her questions. In the course of her investigations, she not only learns about her past, but meets Piero, strikingly handsome son of a local winemaking family, who she comes to hope may have a role in her future. Unfortunately, a few complications arise in her dream to find a new life in Italy, not least of which is interference from her controlling ex, who is not about to let her go.

This is an emotional story which had my heart breaking over and over for Zia. Her whole world has been shattered by the discovery that the people who have brought her up have lied to her all her life. The search for the truth of her past turns up a whole new family, but do they want her? Then there is the ex boyfriend who doesn’t know when to take no for answer. I thought this book was excellently written, so much so that I was instantly lost in the Italian sunshine every time I sat down to read. The characters are all strong and completely believable and there are many branches to the main story involving one or other of them. I love being taken down a side road and learning a little more about a minor character in a book. The excellent descriptions of the views of the Umbrian mountains and countryside had me wishing I could book into one of the cottages where Zia and Ursula stay on their trip. I could imagine sitting in the sunshine enjoying the view of the vineyard stretching downhill towards the foot of the mountains. I can definitely recommend this summery book as one to read not just in summer but at any time of the year to anyone who fancies a trip to Italy.

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

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