“An Italian Summer” Rebecca Serle (Atria Books)
Readers of Rebecca Serle know that she often adds a touch of magic to her novels. In her latest novel, In Five Years, a happily engaged woman named Dannie dreams of her future, in which she will be married but to someone she has never met. She wakes up and soon meets the same stranger who is dating her best friend. Dannie spends the next five years trying to change the course of the dream.
In Serle’s latest book “One Italian Summer” we meet Katy – a grieving daughter whose mother Carol has just died of cancer. Katy’s mother was her best friend and this loss shook the foundation of who she is. She leaves her husband and decides to travel alone to Italy on a trip she was supposed to take with her mother. Carol was in Italy years ago and wanted to show her daughter all her favorite places.
Shortly after Katy arrives in Positano, Italy (to stay at the very real hotel called Hotel Poseidon, which in this novel offers impeccable service and food and makes you want to reserve a room right away), she discovers the impossible. Your mother is there. Carol is no longer ill, now she is a healthy, happy 30 year old also visiting Italy. She doesn’t recognize Katy as her daughter but as her peer and wants to show her around.
Yes, you’ll want to keep reading to find out what’s happening, and yes, you’ll have to give up faith to enjoy the story, but in these cynical times of snark and memes, it’s nice to indulge in magic every now and then. It’s also worth the wanderlust that the book evokes.
One Italian Summer is a story about love, loss and the point in adulthood where we learn that our parents are human too and not always perfect.
The book begins with a quote from beloved TV mom Lorelai Gilmore from The Gilmore Girls. Lauren Graham, who portrayed Gilmore on the series, reads the audiobook version of the novel.