Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 272 pages
Audiobook Length: 6 hours and 30 minutes
First Published: 2022
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Atria Books through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
One of my most-anticipated March 2022 book releases is a novel about grieving and understanding a parent. When her mother dies just before their planned mother-daughter trip to Italy, Katy decides to still spend the summer exploring the Amalfi coast as she grieves. Magically, Katy meets a younger version of her mother, giving Katy a whole new perspective on her mother as a person.
I really wanted to like One Italian Summer because I adored the complex themes of Serle’s last novel, In Five Years. Yet, I really disliked the protagonist – who was overly reliant on her mother and was way too ambivalent to her husband. The mechanics of the time travel situation were not well thought out, which was also annoying. One positive thing: I loved the descriptions of Positano so much that I started learning Italian on Duolingo with intentions of visiting the Amalfi Coast as soon as possible.
When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.
But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.
And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.
Rebecca Serle’s next great love story is here, and this time it’s between a mother and a daughter. With her signature “heartbreaking, redemptive, and authentic” (Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author) prose, Serle has crafted a transcendent novel about how we move on after loss, and how the people we love never truly leave us.
About Rebecca Serle
Rebecca Serle is an author and television author. Her books include The Dinner List, One Italian Summer, Expiration Dates, and In Five Years. She splits her time between New York and Los Angeles. Visit the author’s website →