Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
An Italian Island Summer by Sue Moorcroft
Published by Avon on May 25, 2023
Genres: Life Fiction
After her marriage falls apart, Ursula Quinn is offered the chance to spend the summer working at a hotel on a beautiful island off the coast of Sicily, Italy. Excited by a new adventure, she sets off at once.
At Residenza dei Tringali, Ursula receives a warm welcome from everyone except Alfio, son of the Tringali family. He gave up his life in Barcelona to help his mother Agata with the ailing business, and is frustrated with Ursula’s interference – and she in turn is less than impressed with his attitude. As they spend more time together, though, they begin to see each other in a different light.
But what with Ursula’s ex-husband on her tail, family secrets surfacing and an unexpected offer that makes Alfio question his whole life, there’s plenty to distract them from one another.
A warm and picturesque little island off the coast of Sicily is the destination for an Irish woman needing the chance to take stock of her life after a recent spate of difficult, live-changing circumstances. Sue Moorcroft is a new to me author of British Chicklit who specializes in warm feelgoods in a holiday setting. I love following characters who start out low and come into their own so I settled in to venture across the seas to travel to sunny Sicily right from my comfy chair.
Starting slow and setting up Ursula Quinn’s complicated background of a trauma experienced in her youth, a recent mental health crisis after the difficult end of her marriage and divorce, her parents long-time volatile marriage, her boss selling up and closing down, and now a chance to launch her life into a new direction studying ceramic art which has long-been an interest through all the tattoo shop years that wasn’t the exciting job people make it out to be. Her uncle nudges her to take up work for a small family-owned Sicilian hotel where she can work part-time and study from a true ceramics artist in a nearby town for the rest of the time.
Alfio comes home from Barcelona minus his girlfriend and his excellent job to do his duty toward his mother, sister, and the family hotel only to find Ursula already installed and doing what he thought to be his responsibility. They get off to a rough start as a result, but soon learn to work together and even feel some attraction, though neither are really in a place to jump into a new relationship. The hits just keep coming to their fledgling chance together when Ursula’s ex shows up and family secrets pop up, too.
The drama was there and so were the emotions, but this was also very much a holiday vacation atmosphere destination story with Sicily just as big a star character as Ursula or Alfio. I felt the balance of food, art, and Sicilian landscape and sea with slow burn romance, character growth and family conflict needing sorting was done well. My heart went out to Ursula and Alfio when the secrets from their family came out. I suspected some of it and I was right.
I learned afterward that this is something of a standalone sequel with Ursula’s best friend Zia having had her story in a previous book, Under the Italian Sun. More fun in the Italian sun, it seems to me.
All in all, I enjoyed Sue Moorcroft’s writing and the story. Chicklit is not generally my go-to genre, but for some reason I am most drawn to it in the summer and when a travel destination is involved. I can definitely recommend An Italian Island Summer for your beach bag or armchair travel stack.
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