Nicky Pellegrino is one one of my go to authors when I want a little escapism. This time last year, hubby and I were planning a trip to Europe, which included 2 weeks exploring Italy. Feeling a bit nostalgic and totally over winter, I picked up a copy of this at my local library.
If you love food and travel, then this is the book for you!
Luca Amore runs a cooking school in the home of his late nonna, in the Sicilian town of Favio. He is passionate about food, his home town and teaching his students from all over the globe about good local produce. In blows in his latest group of students, 4 women at a cross roads in life. Nothing will be quite the same!
What I loved about the book was seeing the story unfold from the point of view of each of the 4 women, and Luca himself. Poppy, fresh out of a divorce and feeling a little lost, all while trying to track down the roots of her grandfather who emigrated to Australia years back. Tricia, the hardened divorce lawyer who just wants an escape now in order to keep herself going later. Moll, a self prescribed foodie and social worker who’s doing it a bit tough and gentle Valerie, who is trying to work out how to continue living, when her life partner has been snatched away. And of course, Luca himself. A man who once lived the fast life in London, but now seems fulfilled with his quiet life in Favio. Their coming together brings romance, conflict and a whole lot of soul searching. This technique also allowed the author to only reveal what she wanted, sneaking in some revelations that catches the reader by surprise. Interesting how the way we perceive things is only as good as the facts on hand at the time.
The characters are rich and unique. Even the secondary characters of Vincenzo and Orsolina Mazzara who run a local dolceria, and the town of Favio itself is larger than life. It really took me back to my time in Italy… I felt like I was walking right alongside Luca in the cobbled streets, learning all about how the best chocolate is prepared, what makes a good olive oil, how to roll out the best pasta dough. If this book gets you super excited, there’s even a couple of recipes in the back to try at home!
I enjoyed Valerie’s point of view the most. She seemed so gentle and wise with all her life experience. Her feelings of appreciation and gratitude really spoke to me. I actually felt like I had had a chat with my own late grandmother after reading her chapters 🙂
All in all, a great read, particularly if you’re into travel or food.