A sun-baked terrace. The rustle of vines. And the clink of wine glasses as the first cork of the evening is popped…
Welcome to Italy. A place that holds the answer to Zia-Lucia Costa Chalmers’ many questions. Not least, how she ended up with such a mouthful of a name.
When revelations close to home turn Zia’s world upside down,she realises the time has come to search out the Italian family she’s never known.
But as she looks for answers, she can’t help but notice Piero, the vineyard owner next door – a distraction who may prove difficult to ignore…
This summer, join Zia as she sets out to uncover her past. But can she find the future she’s always dreamed of along the way?
The perfect summer read for fans of Katie Fforde and Carole Matthews.
- Publisher: Avon Books
- Format : Ebook, Audio and Paperback (13 May 2021)
- 384 pages
- Source: Copy for review via Netgalley
It’s always a pleasure to feature Sue Moorcroft on the blog whether with a book review or a guest post and I’m delighted to share my review of her latest summer release Under the Italian Sun. My thanks to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite and place on the tour.
With armchair travelling being the only option for me this year, it was a delight to go to Italy and in particular to the fictitious town of Montelibertà in Umbria. The story actually starts in Brighton with Zia-Lucia Costa Chalmers making a shocking discovery about her background from some family papers and letters that she had stored in her attic. Zia has been made redundant from her job, she can speak some Italian and has an idea to spend some time working and eventually hopefully living in Italy. She would also like to find answers to some questions. She packs the car and takes off to Montelibertà with her best friend Ursula, herself having a break away from some marital difficulties.
Where to begin with this lovely story. Well for starters there is the vividly described landscape that brings Umbria to life. Sue has previously said that the setting of Montelibertà (previously used for One Summer in Italy) is based on the real life medieval town of Orvieto; you have the backdrop of the mountains, the cobbled streets with piazzas offering space to sit with a coffee or a beer, the starlit sky at night. The vineyards of the Domenicali family providing the delicious wine and the subject of much angst and family battlelines. But the book is so much more. It has characters with heart and a story of light and shade that kept me wondering what will happen next.
Zia knows that she has some Italian heritage – which is how she came to have such a mouthful of a name but whilst she sets out to find the answers to one question, more information comes to light which makes her question everything she has been told.
There is a wonderful supporting cast of characters – including the kindly and welcoming Lucia and Durante Costa, Piero Domenicali, their handsome friend and neighbour who has his own struggles in trying to keep his home and his family intact and Zia’s bestie, tattoo artist Ursula. Her marriage to Stephan being the cause of much friction one way or another! Not everyone was an engaging character however. I can think of three that deserved all the curses.
Of course there is also romance. A slow build up with the chemistry and sparks leading to something much more to get some 🔥 and passion into the story but also alas the inevitable misunderstandings and soul searching that accompanies it.
This is more than just a light summer read with so many layers and complications to the story. As ever, Sue Moorcroft doesn’t shy away from including the darker side of life and incorporates a story line that touches on such things as mental health issues, corporate bullying, greed and manipulation, residency complications caused by Brexit as well as marital problems.
I thoroughly enjoyed Under the Italian Sun and really didn’t want the story to end. It brought some much needed sunshine and escapism into some rainy days. Written with Sue’s trademark warmth and sensitivity, you can’t really go wrong with this one. Definitely recommended.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author and has reached the #1 spot on Kindle UK. She’s won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award, Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary. Published by HarperCollins in the UK, US and Canada and by other publishers around the world.