“A beautiful guesthouse, a fresh start and a hunky Italian. Does it sound too good to be true?
When Gina arrives in Lake Como, thousands of miles away from her life in the Lake District, she wonders if she’s bitten off more than she can chew. Working for Fabio, running his lakeside hotel, seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After her world was tragically turned upside down, breaking her heart in the process, she was in desperate need of a fresh start. Plus, it didn’t hurt that Fabio was easy on the eyes…
But it’s not all picturesque mountains, pizza and prosecco. The crumbling guesthouse that Fabio has inherited from his family needs some serious TLC. Is she up to the challenge?
As Gina and Fabio work in close quarters, sparks start to fly. But Fabio has a secret he is scared to share, and Gina has her past to come to terms with. Does her heart belong back home or is a life in the sun – with a very handsome Italian – just the change of scenery she needs?”
When I picked this book up, from the cover I assumed it was going to be a light, summery read but actually, it is not the usual beach read. The first half of the book is set in the Lake District and it does not move to Italy until fifty percent of the way through. The sojourn in Italy is then very brief before the action moves back to the Lake District so, if you are looking for a book set mostly in Italy, this is not the one for you.
That being said, there is a lot to enjoy in this book. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the Lake District, they really brought the place alive and took me back to holidays I have spent there. The main character, Gina, is a warm and likeable person with a sad past and it was easy to get drawn in to her story. I really liked the relationship that she has with her sister, Hannah. With three sisters of my own that I am very close to, I felt their relationship was very realistically portrayed. In fact, her whole family and friendship group were well drawn and interesting and gave a very warm and supportive back drop to Gina’s life. I really enjoyed the wonderful community set out in the book in Gina’s lakeside town.
When Fabio appears, I could see why Gina was drawn to him and the parts of the book set in Italy were beautifully described and make you want to travel there immediately. However, as pointed out in the opening paragraph, this is a short part of the book, and also the visit takes place in January rather than the summer so it might be a little different to what the reader is expecting from the cover and blurb, but I don’t think that matters too much. The premise behind the book is interesting, I really liked the idea of Gina travelling to Italy to help decorate Fabio’s hotel and the setting is wonderfully described. Gina’s trip with Fabio in to Milan was my favourite part of the book and the author does a wonderful job of portraying this beautiful city in the book.
However, there were a couple of points in the book that rankled slightly. I wasn’t 100% convinced by Gina’s reaction to her brief conversation with Fabio’s sister, or his sister’s motivations. I think this probably needed to be expanded more to be authentic but I understand this is a supposed to be a sweet summer read so that may not be too much of an issue for readers. The thing that really got my goat, although this may be the pedantic travel agent part of me, is the glaring geographical inaccuracies in the Italian section of the book which made me think no one who read this book before publication had looked at a map. I found them very distracting. So here is a plea to all authors, when you are setting a book in foreign climes, please check that the things you are having happen are geographically possible!
There is much to enjoy in this book. I like Sue Roberts voice, I think she is very good at building characters and relationships, and there is a real life and atmosphere in her descriptions of places. It’s a shame that there were a couple of points that let it down for me but I am sure that many readers will enjoy this book for what it is.
My Very Italian Holiday is out now and you can buy a copy here.
My thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
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About the Author
I live in Lancashire with my long term partner Derek and have had a lifelong love of writing, encouraged by winning a school writing competition at the age of 11.
I always assumed that ‘one day’ I would write a book, always having a busy household and a job, the idea remained firmly on the back burner but never forgotten.
The inspiration for my first novel came to me on a holiday to a Greek village. My daughters had left home and suddenly the time had come to write that book!