What can I say?! One Italian Summer, by Rebecca Serle sucked me in from the beginning and didn’t spit me out until the very last page. This book wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but a great read nonetheless. I’m a HUGE fan of stories full of magical realism and that’s exactly what this book was to me.
One Italian Summer finds our main character, Katy, lost and grieving. The love of her life & best friend (her mother) dies after her battle with cancer and Katy is left reeling in the wake of her passing. The two women planned a mother/daughter trip to the Amalfi Coast in Italy before her mom’s untimely death and Katy decides to take the trip alone.
Katy arrives in Positano (the city where her mom spent one summer) and experiences the places she was told about through magical memories for herself. She sees firsthand the beauty her mom described in vivid detail feels closer to Carol (her mom) than ever. Then all of the sudden, Katy meets Carol. In the flesh. At 30-years-old ( the same age as Katy!) The reader follows Katy as she forges a relationship with her younger mother and learns more about who she was when she was younger while simultaneously learning more about herself and the relationship between she and her husband as well.
I loved the vivid details the author included in this story. From the sights and sounds of the Amalfi Coast to the food and the people and all the little things in between. It was like being transported right to Italy! I found myself scouring Pinterest for Italian meals and vacation itineraries after I finished the book. I absolutely loved her descriptive writing!
I had a hard time connecting to Katy. While my mom is definitely my best friend, I couldn’t connect with her unhealthy attachment to Carol. And I didn’t love the way she treated her husband either. I did, however, enjoy the journey through her narrative.
Overall this was a solid, easy read. I gave this one 4 out of 5 stars.
Note: If you’re a Gilmore Girls fan, opt for the audiobook instead of the hardcover. Lauren Graham narrates this one and she has a way of storytelling that brings a very detailed story even more to life!
TW: death of a loved one; extramarital affair
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