Like a breath of fresh air, bright and cheery, this was a story that warmed my heart through and through. A tale of second chances, set in one of the most breathtaking cities in the world—Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci take us on an evocative multi-sensory journey across the Italian landscape, following a woman’s quest for a new direction in life. I was taken by every single scene, enamoured with these characters from the get-go, and utterly enchanted by all the ways the authors wove a charming love story into the full tapestry of Rome’s rich gastronomy and architecture.
There wasn’t a textbook available that could put into words what this city looked like to virgin eyes.
Thirty and childless, Avery Bardot has spent the last decade of her life catering to the needs of a man whose career always came first, and as her marriage eventually became her whole life’s purpose, she slowly turned into a person she no longer recognised in the mirror. But after catching her husband of eight years having sex with his secretary, she is suddenly forced to take stock of her life—to stay with a man who would never be faithful to her but who would forever provide her with an enviable lifestyle, or to find the courage to seek true happiness elsewhere. So when her best friend, Daisy—a successful architect currently living and working in Rome, Italy—suggests she should spend her summer with her, Avery jumps to the opportunity of leaving her life in Boston behind, even for a short while.
“Come and spend a summer with me.”
“A summer in Rome?”
“Wasn’t that a movie?”
The last thing Avery ever expected on her very first day in Rome, however, is to run into Marcello Bianchi—a man she hadn’t seen since she was twenty-one years old, a man she once loved deeply, and then left behind. As they lock eyes across a busy Roman eatery—a powerful draw between them still very much alive—Avery is instantly reminded of a carefree summer spent in each other’s arms, a time in her life she’d never shared with anyone, not even her closest friends, carefully protecting those memories and returning to them in her mind whenever in need of a jolt of happiness. But the man on the other side of the eye lock looks far from happy to be seeing her again.
We knew from the beginning that we were on borrowed time, but for those four months I was the real me. He let me fly.
As her past and present unexpectedly collide, and as memories of a happier time in her life start bubbling up to the surface, Avery is slowly reminded of all the ways her life could have been different had it not veered off course, and had she not given up on a love that made her feel free and truly herself. Seeing Marcello again and getting to know the man he has become makes her experience everything like it was the first time, but through eyes that have now learned from their mistakes and experienced a life void of colour, and the more she lets herself live life to the fullest, the more she realises how empty her life had been for the past nine years.
He looked like my lover from Spain. Felt like him, and made me feel like I was with him again. That feeling of us conquering the world was back.
A light-hearted tale of a young woman on a journey of finding herself by reconnecting with her own past and learning to pursue her own happiness, this book is not only a love story between two people who find each other again after many years, but also a loving homage to the city of Rome. The authors fill our senses, page after page, with the scents, flavours, the visual cornucopia that is the Eternal City, turning the story into a delicious confection we want to consume. And while at times I wished for greater and more timely focus to be placed on some of the more crucial turning points in the storyline, for those angst-ridden events to be more widely spread throughout the story rather than all resolved hurriedly in the end, I happily let the authors take me into whichever direction they wished, immersing myself into their addictive prose, and savouring this witty, sexy read for as long as I could.
“I’m afraid if I kiss you the way I want to, I won’t stop.”