by Katherine Reay
This is a well-written book, but there was not a lot going on. I wouldn’t call it a romance exactly because it was basically love at first sight for Ben and Emily and it was smooth sailing from there. They were nice and normal, but that doesn’t make for gripping character arcs or plot. There was a minor personal problem that Emily felt compelled to help people, but was it really a problem? She kept finding jobs for her younger sister when all her sister wanted to be was a party planner. But it was on her sister Amy to put her foot down, not Emily. But then Emily moved to Italy so that whole “conflict” was dropped before it could lead to any kind of drama or showdown. She lost her job, but no problemo there either. It freed her to move to Italy. And besides, she was offered a dream job in short order anyway. Her true passion, painting, was missing something that kept her from being a professional rather than a hobbyist, but that was easily solved by choosing the right subject at last.
When she moved in with Ben’s family she didn’t fit in, but she didn’t do anything wrong at all. It was due to Ben’s mother who was hostile to her for no fair reason, but she had the beloved patriarch and the true power in the family totally on her side as well as her husband. However, I was disappointed that Emily was never honest with Ben about how toxic his mother was. She never spelled it out. Another missed opportunity for drama. The big focus was Emily’s uncovering a mysterious mural that concealed a big family secret, but she did this at the request of the head of the family. So again, she had nothing to apologize for (even though she kept apologizing for everything for no good reason.)
This author reminded me of Rosamunde Pilcher or Elizabeth Cadell. Not quite the charm or the period feel but with the atmosphere and ambiance of place and geography, in this case, a small Tuscan village. I can easily see myself dipping in to many more of her books. This one was nice.
June 8, 2020