Emily Price—fix-it girl extraordinaire and would-be artist—finds herself in Atlanta, repairing objects damaged in a house fire. As she works to restore the home and dreams of one family, she strives to keep the pieces of her own life in perfect order and secure her own happy ending—a gallery show of her own. There is no time for distractions, especially not the ultimate distraction of falling in love.
But Chef Benito Vassallo’s relentless pursuit proves hard to resist. Visiting from Italy, Ben works to reconnect with his brother and breathe new life into his aunt and uncle’s faded restaurant, Piccolo. And soon after their first meeting, he works to win Emily as well—inviting her into his world and into his heart.
Emily astonishes everyone when she accepts Ben’s proposal and follows him home. Upon landing in Rome, she is enchanted with Italy. But instead of allowing the land, culture and people to transform her, Emily imposes her will upon everyone and everything around her, alienating Ben’s tightly knit family. Only Ben’s father, Lucio, gives Emily the understanding she needs to lay down her guard. Soon, Emily’s life and art begin to blossom, and Italy’s beauty and rhythm take hold of her spirit.
Yet when she unearths long-buried family secrets, Emily wonders if she really fits into Ben’s world. Will the joys of Italy become just a memory, or will Emily share in the freedom and grace that her life with Ben has shown her are possible?
I’m having a really hard writing this review because I’m still not entirely sure how I felt about the book. Overall I feel like the description is a bit misleading – I expected this to be more of a romance, for Ben’s and Emily’s relationship to be a main component of the novel, but it’s more or less something that happens to Emily along the way, with about the same level of importance as Emily trying to help her sister Amy or schedule her own art show.
The description makes it sound like her main goal in life is to secure her own gallery show, but it felt like a passing thought in the book. I felt the same way about Ben’s “relentless pursuits.” He keeps inviting her to the restaurant and to dinner, but it’s not like Emily was saying no or trying to avoid him.
Overall the book wasn’t bad, but I don’t feel like the description really prepared me for the story. It also felt like maybe some of the motivations and transitions were clear to the author, but they weren’t completely clear to me. It took me several chapters to really get into the story (about until Emily and Ben moved to Italy). I liked the idea behind the story, it just never really pulled me in. Not a bad book, but not the most captivating story I’ve read recently.
*I received a free copy of this book. The opinions expressed are my own.