It wouldn’t be summer without a lovely book from Sue Moorcroft to look forward to. Last year I was on holiday in Italy and Sue’s summer book was set in France. This year her book is set in Italy and yes, you’ve guessed it, I’m going on holiday to France. We seem to be a little out of sync! Reading One Summer in Italy brought some welcome summer sunshine to a week when Edinburgh was mostly covered in east coast haar.
Sofia Bianchi has come to the Umbrian village of Monteliberta fulfilling one of the promises she made to her dying father. With her mother dying young and her father suffering from poor health, although she is now in her 30s she hasn’t had the chance to just be a young woman and enjoy herself. Perhaps the most important promise would be the hardest to keep – simply to ‘be happy’. Sofia’s father was from Monteliberta but she doesn’t know much about her Italian family. Taking a job in a hotel for the summer, she resolves to find out what she can and try to meet them. Sofia takes teenage waitress Amy under her wing and is determined she will protect her from the advances of the owner’s son Davide. There is more than a little distraction provided by long-term guest Levi. Perhaps he can help her with her promise to ‘do all the things single women do’ and one particular promise she has made to herself? But relations between staff and guests are strictly prohibited so perhaps this particular promise may have to wait a bit.
Sue Moorcroft is fantastic at creating a vivid sense of place in my mind as I read. I could almost hear the Italian accents, taste the mouthwatering Umbrian food and wine, smell the fragrance of the flowers, see the colourful houses and streets and sense the heat. It’s a feast for the senses. I always have quite a strong emotional response to her characters too imagining how I would feel in their shoes. My heart went out to Amy in this story who had so much to take in for a young girl. Yet despite her emotional confusion, she was big hearted enough to want to help out young Matt in his hour of need too. I had to laugh at the way she quickly had Levi wrapped around her little finger!
Sofia was a lovely character, strong, caring and thoughtful. It was wonderful to see her start to grow throughout the book and really begin to live life on her own terms. There are plenty of secrets uncovered as she begins to get to know her Italian family but she soon discovers that hers is not the only family with secrets. With Levi, also having troubles of his own back home to deal with, not least of which was Octavia who seemed very determined to gets her claws into him, there was plenty happening to keep me turning the pages avidly.
When I see that Katie Fforde quote on the front of the books I have to agree – I have never read a Sue Moorcroft book I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. With mystery and romance but with deeper themes also included, they genuinely are a pleasure to read.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the shops to see if I can find a bottle of Orvieto Classico – saluti!
My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for my copy of the book and inviting me to take part in the blog tour. One Summer in Italy is available now in paperback and as an ebook. It is available from your usual book retailer or you can order a copy online here: One Summer in Italy
From the back of the book
When Sofia Bianchi’s father Aldo dies, it makes her stop and look at things afresh. Having been his carer for so many years, she knows it’s time for her to live her own life – and to fulfil some promises she made to Aldo in his final days.
So there’s nothing for it but to escape to Italy’s Umbrian mountains where, tucked away in a sleepy Italian village, lie plenty of family secrets waiting to be discovered. There, Sofia also finds Amy who is desperately trying to find her way in life after discovering her dad isn’t her biological father.
Sofia sets about helping Amy through this difficult time, but it’s the handsome Levi who proves to be the biggest distraction for Sofia, as her new life starts to take off…
Follow the rest of the tour and catch up with any stops you’ve missed