The Plot (from Goodreads):
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.
Thank you to Atria Books for a gifted copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
When Katy loses her mother to cancer, she decides to go to Italy on the trip that the two of them were supposed to take together, in an effort to feel closer to her mom.
I adored the scenery in One Italian Summer. I traveled to Positano with my family when I was young, and while I was too little to remember much, I definitely remember the beautiful tiered buildings and the apartment we stayed in, tucked in off a little alleyway. This book certainly made me want to go back to experience it again.
The second best part was the food! I was constantly starving while reading about Katy’s food adventures.
Unfortunately, I had trouble relating to Katy. In the beginning of the book, I thought she was so heartless when she told Eric she didn’t want to be married to him anymore. I can totally understand wanting to travel by one’s self to deal with grief, but she turned around and spent the whole trip pursuing a different relationship! She also seemed so whiny. While I know everyone reacts to grief differently, the whole first scene where we were introduced to her put a bad taste in my mouth. She grew on me a little bit eventually.
I loved young Carol’s character. The magical realism was a bit out of the box for me. I wasn’t expecting it despite reading the synopsis–I guess I misunderstood, and thought that Carol was just someone that reminded Katy of her mom. What I did like, though, was the way the ending tied up everyone’s storylines–even some side characters.
Overall, I think this book was enjoyable, but much more suited to a reader who seeks out magical realism. I’m sure other readers will really love it, despite my lukewarm review!
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