25 July 2022
With summer here, I was looking for a book suitable for the beach or lounging by the pool; nothing too taxing. "One Italian Summer" by Rebecca Serle seemed to fit the bill.
The premise required a fair suspension of disbelief, but this was to be a light read, so why not. However, it ended up being a bit more thought-provoking than I expected.
Katy, a young married woman, has just lost her mother Carol, her best friend and confidante. Carol was a strong woman who always had the answer for everything and who defined her daughter’s life. Now Katy is lost and struggling with how to move forward without her, both in her life and her marriage.
When Carol was a young woman, she made a life-changing journey to Positano on Italy's Amalfi Coast. Before she passed away, she and Katy had planned to revisit the town together on a mother-daughter trip. Unable to cope with her mother’s passing, Katy decides to make the trip on her own, but shortly after arriving at the Hotel Poseidon she meets her mother, now a young woman of 30, in the flesh. It is her mother, but not the woman she thought she knew.
Over the course of the following days, Katy gets to know this new Carol as an individual, not just her mother, and must find a way to reconcile the two different versions of the same person. Who was Carol before she was Katy’s mother? And how will Katy learn to live with the loss of the person she loved most?
"One Italian Summer" is about love and how those we love do not ever truly leave us. There are unexpected twists and turns along the way. It is a story about restlessness and change, and how as human beings, we are always becoming ourselves. Who we are today is not who we will be tomorrow, nor 10 or 20 or 30 years from now.
I will say the setting certainly lends itself to the enjoyment of the book, with descriptions of the stunning scenery and delicious fare to be found in Positano sending me to my computer to start looking for flights and accommodation. One can almost feel the Mediterranean sun beating down on one's skin, contrasting delightfully with the feel of a cool dip in the sea, while onshore there is beach lounger waiting just for you, and a glass of crisp, white wine. And a very good book.
This article was originally published in the July/August 2022 print edition of Camana Bay Times.