Paperback: 276 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Fiction
Publisher: Orion 2012
Source: Tywyn Library, Wales.
First Sentences: 'On every door there is a photograph. They show us as we used to be - not weathered or worn; not bent by age and nearly finished with life.
Review Quote:I LOVED this book so much I could hardly wait to get to the computer to type its praises. ... This book has inside-track glamour in spades and all the colour of La Dolce Vita-period Rome. ... An original subject and beautifully handled. Brava Nicky. (Wendy Holden DAILY MAIL )
My Opinion: I always enjoy drifting off to another world through the pages of a Nicky Pellegrino novel.
Nicky Pellegrino is an author I only discovered in the latter months of last year and this is already the third book of hers I have read. Surely a good recommendation in itself, she writes novels that I always enjoy drifting off to another world with. So far always set in my beloved Italy but each novel has portrayed a different Italian world. This time she transports us back to the romantic era of 1950's Rome with a story woven around a real life singer from the period Mario Lanza, with a story that she has obviously researched well. If you know a little something about the life of this famous American- Italian tenor you probably already know it was a sad one.
The female protagonist of the novel is Serafina, the eldest of three sisters that has grown up in a tiny apartment building in the centre of Rome. Their mother is a single parent and the four of them have learnt to get by on very little. When they can the three girls sing for money in the local piazzas so that they can buy cinema tickets to watch the matinee idols of the fifties on the big screen. Serafina has big dreams and one day with a great deal of luck, her path crosses that of her greatest idol Mario Lanza. She actually finds herself working as a personal assistant to his wife and this opens up a whole new outlook on the world for her. Will she be happy living in the world of her dreams or will she miss the world she is familiar with?
Although the novel is told from Serafina's perspective throughout it really is the story of Mario Lanza and his family. Wealthy and apparently wanting for nothing, but not all was as it seemed. It is interesting to compare the life of his families happy and sad times with those of Serafina's family who despite having nothing were still happy.
A novel for those italophiles that cannot resist another story set in Italy, fans of the author's writing, or indeed anyone interested in the life of Mario Lanza.
My earlier reviews for Recipe For Life and The Italian Wedding
If you have time to watch this video it is an interesting introduction to the author.
|Image credit: New Zealand Woman's Weekly|
Nicky Pellegrino's Italian father came to England and fell in love with a Liverpool girl which is where Nicky was born on the first of January 1964. Bringing his passion for food to his new family, his Italian mantra that you live to eat not eat to live is one of the inspirations behind Nicky's delicious novels. Now living in New Zealand, where she works as a journalist, Nicky hordes her holidays so she and her husband can return to Italy to see family, eat the best mozzarella and research her books.
When Nicky first started writing fiction it was her memories of childhood summers in Italy that came flooding back and flavoured her stories: the passions, the feuds but most of all the food.
She works as a freelance journalist, has weekly columns in the Herald on Sunday newspaper and the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly and her novels are distributed in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, and have been translated into 12 languages.
She loves cooking for friends, drinking red wine, walking on New Zealand’s amazing beaches, riding her horse through the forest and lying in bed reading other people’s novels.
The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.
Goodreads Nicky Pellegrino - Official Website Nicky Pellegrino - Twitter