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  • Writer's pictureGaili Schoen

One Italian Summer

It's time to scope out your summer reading! I always enjoy reading stories that take place during the current season, and since a summer in Italy isn't possibly for me this year, reading a book about a summer spent in Italy is the next best thing!

I enjoyed Rebecca Serle’s One Italian Summer, about a woman named Katy who has spent a lifetime idealizing her highly capable, interior designer mother, Carol, and feels lost when her mother dies.

“My mother was the first person you called for a recipe (a cup of onions, garlic, don’t forget the pinch of sugar) and the last one you called at night when you just couldn’t sleep (a cup of hot water with lemon, lavender oil, magnesium pills). She knew the exact ratio of olive oil to garlic in any recipe, and she could whip up dinner from three pantry items, easy. She had all the answers. I, on the other hand, have none of them, and now I no longer have her.

Carol had planned to take Katy to Positano, Italy, 6 days after she died.

“Italy had always been special to my mother. She loved to describe Positano, a tiny seaside town, as ‘pure heaven’…. She wanted to show me this place that had always lingered in her memory…. Up until the week before she died we were still talking about the Italian sun.”

Katy decides to take the trip alone; she wants to experience the place her mother had felt was so special. And she also wants to take a break from her marriage to Eric.

“Ever since my mother got sick, I’d been thinking about the reality of being married to Eric…. I began to ask myself if this was the marriage I wanted to die in, if this was the marriage I wanted to see me through this, my mother’s illness, and what would, impossibly, remain after.”

Using magical realism, Serle’s story takes us to Positano on the Amalfi Coast, where Katy astonishingly meets up with her mother, alive, at age 30. Katy befriends the young Carol, and is surprised to learn things about her which Katy had never known or imagined.

Serle describes in delicious detail the food, drink, landscapes and boat adventures. I was immediately drawn into the story and enjoyed getting to know the colorful characters. One Italian Summer is a great summer read for those who need to remember what it feels like to travel to a beautiful place!

What are you reading now? What is on your TBR (to be read ) pile for the summer? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below. You can click to order on Amazon, or better yet, order from your local bookstore in-person or online!

Hardcover, 272 pages; Audiobook 6 hours, 21 minutes (Narrated by Lauren Graham, also known as "Lorelai Gilmore" from the television series, The Gilmore Girls.)


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