"One Italian Summer: A Novel" | Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider
Author Rebecca Serle’s new release “One Italian Summer” is an easy read set in Positano, an Italian city on the breathtaking Amalfi coast. While it demands readers suspend reality, the novel is moving because of the main character’s connection to her mother. Serle writes of their relationship in passages that moved this reader to tears.
When Katy’s mother Carol dies from cancer, Katy is devastated—feels she has truly lost her best friend. Carol and Katy lived close to one another and enjoyed many of the same activities, shopping, sharing recipes, simply talking. Carol was a “pillar of the community,” a woman “everyone loved,” and Katy is rocked to her core upon her death.
Katy is married to Eric—both of them only 22 when they tie the knot. Carol believed Katy shouldn’t marry the first person she dated, but she didn’t stand in Katy’s way; Carol grew to love Eric, as did Katy’s father, who is crestfallen when his wife dies.
The shock of losing her mother causes Katy to question whether she loves Eric any longer. He is incredibly understanding, attributing Katy’s confusion to grief, assuring her that he misses Carol as much as she does, but Katy believes they need some time apart. She leaves for Positano on the two-week trip she and her mother had planned, a city where Carol lived before her marriage.
In this gorgeous locale, Katy is reunited with her mother in ways she doesn’t understand, and is offered the golden opportunity of getting to know her mother as she was years before. In the process secrets are revealed.
For readers whose mothers have passed, “One Italian Summer” offers the possibility of a dream come true—imagining how marvelous it would be to have the opportunity Katy has of getting to know her mother as a young woman, of being able to ask her questions, of having the past clearly explained.
Who among us wouldn’t relish this rich blessing?