Rebecca Serle's ONE ITALIAN SUMMER - A Poignant, Heart-Breaking Story
by Sara Voigt (@meaningfulmadness)
Rebecca Serle's One Italian Summer (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)
I just finished Rebecca Serle’s One Italian Summer. I have been a fan of Serle’s since I read her book, The Dinner List back in 2018. Serle has a knack for writing poignant, heart-breaking stories etched with hope. And I am here for it.
In One Italian Summer, Katy has just lost her mom, Carol, who she describes as the love of her life. She and her mother had planned a long awaited trip to Positano, Italy, a place that Carol spent time in in her younger years and loved immensely. When Carol dies before they can take the trip, Katy must decide whether to take the trip or not. (From the title, I am sure you can guess what she chooses.) What follows is an engrossing story of love, life, grief, and finding yourself again with some magical realism thrown in for good measure.
“The present is relentless. It forces us over and over again to pay attention. It requires all of us. As well it should.”
Serle has such talent for writing about emotions in such a thoughtful and authentic way. She has a way of writing that just speaks to the heart. I marked so many quotations as I read. Especially the quotations that referred to Katy’s relationship with her mother. I am very close with my mom, and I could relate to Katy’s unmooring after losing her mother so much. In addition to this story of a daughter’s love for her mother, this book is also a love letter to Italy. The descriptions of Positano landscapes and the food (Oh! The food!) are magical. I Googled Positano several times while I read, and–sign me up…I am ready for an Italian summer too!
“History, memory is by definition fiction. Once an event is no longer present, but remembered, it is narrative. And we can choose the narratives we tell—about our own lives, our own stories, our own relationships. We can choose the chapters we give meaning.”
I loved this book and would highly recommend it. However, it is a lot about working through grief, so it is very sad at times. That being said, ultimately this is a gorgeous, hopeful book about working through grief and coming out on the other side.
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