eARCBook Review//One Italian Summer

One Italian Summer By Rebecca Serle

I received this eARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

One Italian Summer book cover

Goodreads Synopsis:

When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.

But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.

And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue. 

My Thoughts

Rebecca Serle does it again! This is the second book I read by Serle, and I knew this book would make me cry (and it did!) so I chose to read it in the comfort of my home instead of on the train commuting to work. Let’s break this book down using CAPWILE (Character, Atmosphere, Writing, Plot, Intrigue, Logic, Enjoyment): 

Characters – We have Katy whose mother, Carol, recently died from cancer. I didn’t love Katy, her personality and whole identity were tied to her mother. With Carol gone, Katy didn’t know who she was at the beginning of the novel, and I’m not 100% sure she found herself. I felt like I wanted more from her as a character. I also wasn’t a huge fan of Eric, Katy’s husband. I didn’t like him in the beginning and I didn’t like him at the end. Carol was a good character, I felt she was more developed and her personality made more sense as the novel progressed. 

Atmosphere – Serle hits the mark every time in her novels with the atmosphere she creates. I wanted to book a flight to Italy when I finished this novel. You can tell that she spent time doing research about Italy.  I think Serle wrote Positano well – I could picture everything she was describing, almost to the point of being able to smell the salty air and taste the food. Oh my gosh, the FOOD she described. 

Writing – As I mentioned in the Atmosphere section, the setting and food jumped off the page for me. She has a way with words and writes beautifully. Serle’s writing also had me sobbing at the end so there’s that. You can tell that Serle has honed her craft in writing, it shows in the books she writes. 

Plot – Katy and her mom planned a trip to Positano together, where Carol visited before she met her husband and had Katy. Before they can go on this trip, Carol succumbs to her cancer, and Katy decides to go on this trip alone. There was a lot more that happened in this novel, but I don’t want to really spoil it. In true Serle fashion, things are not as they really appear to be. I wasn’t a huge fan of the type of twist that Serle throws at the reader towards the end. It may also be because I just didn’t really like Katy, and I felt like she didn’t really grow as a character. 

Intrigue – I was very interested throughout despite not liking Katy. I wanted to know how it ended, plus I was living for everything in Italy. It was a nice escape and allowed me to ‘travel’ through this book. It was the perfect escape book and was much needed with everything going on in the world. 

Logic – I always think I take this category too literally every time. But it was believable, and the twist that happens is there because otherwise, it would just fall flat. 

Enjoyment – I LOVED this book despite it might not seem like it. The grief was real in this, and I felt so moved by it. Serle did a fantastic job of describing the process of grieving that moved me to tears in some places. It didn’t have the same impact as “In Five Years”, but it was good nonetheless. One Italian Summer was very enjoyable, and transported me to Italy and to go on this adventure with Katy. 

The Sweet Lemon tea from Vedicteas paired PERFECTLY with One Italian Summer. With the mention of lemons and how this takes place in the summer, this caffeine-free tea tastes even better iced! I make a mug of this before I have my coffee in the morning and it helps me wake up.

Let me know if you’ve read this book in the comments below!

Cups of Tea:

Tea Pairing: Sweet Lemon from Vedicteas

Publisher: Atria Books

Published: March 1, 2022

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