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One Italian Summer Review: Back-of-Book Description

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“[A] magical trip worth taking.” Associated Press
“Rebecca Serle is a maestro of love in all its forms.” —Gabrielle Zevin, New York Times bestselling author
The New York Times bestselling author of In Five Years returns with a powerful novel about the transformational love between mothers and daughters set on the breathtaking Amalfi Coast.

 

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: to Positano, the magical town where 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.

 

Rebecca Serle’s next great love story is here, and this time it’s between a mother and a daughter. With her signature “heartbreaking, redemptive, and authentic” (Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author) prose, Serle has crafted a transcendent novel about how we move on after loss, and how the people we love never truly leave us.

One Italian Summer Review: My Thoughts

As you may have previously read my other reviews for this author (if not, check them out by clicking on the titles: In Five Years and The Dinner List) I’m a pretty big fan of Rebecca Serle. So when I was in a book store with a gift card, you know I sought this one out first!

One Italian Summer was such an enjoyable read! It has all the elements of her other great books – relationships, doubt, struggling to find your way – but it was set in what sound like a beautiful little Italian town – which I desperately want to travel to now!

It did take me a little while to really sink into it. I think that’s because this book centers so much around the “best friend” like relationship between the main character and her mother. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother, but I just don’t talk and think about her the way this character does.

Anyways, I eventually did get into it and then I never wanted to put it down! I loved the setting descriptions the most. They were always in some cool part of an Italian coastal town or on a boat. They were eating delicious-sounding food and drinking wine…It sounded amazing and really made me want to take a vacation soon.

In addition to the luxurious vacation of it all, the book also touched on themes of relationships, loss of a parent, infidelity, potential divorce, and discovering who or what you want to be in life. There was a lot there to relate to and/or think about.

The characters were all really well written, for the most part. I think she could have gotten more in-depth with some of the little side characters, but it was fine as they were.

The dialogue was well written and felt natural. And as always, I really enjoyed the author’s overall writing style. I marked a bunch of quotes!

Favorite Quotes from One Italian Summer:

“We built a life that perhaps we were too young to live.”

“I find myself thinking that I wish I had a blank slate. That I hadn’t already entangled myself so deeply – marriage, a house, a life that is not movable, at least not without destruction.”

“There is very little we must do that will not be done in time.”

“Even inaction is a choice.”

“..the same set of circumstances, beliefs, actions that got you to a moment won’t get you to what comes next…if you want a different outcome, you have to behave differently…you have to keep evolving.”

“There is so much peacefulness in being present. Right here.”

“There is beauty in the discrepancy – two things that seem oppositional, coming together.”

“There’s something about photography I love. A whole memory, caught in a moment.”

“There is more to life than just continuing to do what we know.”

“The difference between being good and bad at something is just interest.”

“Learning how to find your way back can be harder than starting over.”

“History, memory, is by definition fiction. Once an event is no longer present, but remembered, it is a narrative. And we can choose the narratives we tell – about our own lives, our own stories, our own relationships. We can choose the chapters we give meaning.”


One Italian Summer Review: In Conclusion

I adored this book! 5 stars for One Italian Summer! The writing was great, the message was great, and the characters all felt real, with interesting problems. While I didn’t connect with the main character immediately, I eventually found her very real and relatable.

It was a quick read, partly because it’s under 300 pages, but mostly because I just wanted to read it every chance I got. It’s honestly the perfect beach read to end your summer with – you’ll love it and you’ll be inspired to book a vacation!

I would especially recommend it to people who appreciate contemporary fiction, or who have a very close relationship with a parent.

Thank you for taking the time to read this review of One Italian Summer – feel free to share! Check out my other book reviews here and pin or share your favorite quotes below. 

“History, memory, is by definition fiction. Once an event is no longer present, but remembered, it is a narrative. And we can choose the narratives we tell – about our own lives, our own stories, our own relationships. We can choose the chapters we give meaning.”
“..the same set of circumstances, beliefs, actions that got you to a moment won’t get you to what comes next…if you want a different outcome, you have to behave differently…you have to keep evolving.”
“We built a life that perhaps we were too young to live.”
“There is more to life than just continuing to do what we know.”
“Learning how to find your way back can be harder than starting over.”
"I find myself thinking that I wish I had a blank slate. That I hadn't already entangled myself so deeply - marriage, a house, a life that is not movable, at least not without destruction."
“The difference between being good and bad at something is just interest.”
“There is beauty in the discrepancy – two things that seem oppositional, coming together.”
“There’s something about photography I love. A whole memory, caught in a moment.”
“There is so much peacefulness in being present. Right here.”
“There is very little we must do that will not be done in time.”
“Even inaction is a choice.”
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