Reeling from loss, a woman takes the trip of a lifetime in One Italian Summer by bestselling author Rebecca Serle (In Five Years).
Thirty-year-old Katy Silver used to have it all: an adoring husband, a comfortable home near her family in Los Angeles and a rock-solid friendship with her mother, Carol. But her mother’s death turned everything upside down. Suddenly nothing makes sense or feels right for Katy, not even her marriage. After the funeral, she wonders, “If your mother is the love of your life, what does that make your husband?” Katy doesn’t have an answer, but she knows she needs change.
So Katy leaves all her commitments behind and travels to Positano, Italy—a place her mother spent the summer 30 years ago, and where Carol and Katy had dreamed of visiting together. There, Katy stays at the gorgeous (and very real) Hotel Poseidon, and she immerses herself in the Amalfi Coast.
That may sound capricious, but to Katy these choices are necessary, even if she can’t quite explain why. What Katy doesn’t count on is running into a woman who looks and sounds exactly like Carol would have at 30—and even shares both her mother’s name and profession. Without understanding how it’s possible, Katy gets to know a different side of her mother as a young woman, and One Italian Summer becomes a sumptuous and sensuous feast of a book.
On a deeper level, Serle’s novel is a savvy meditation on the necessity of change and how roles shape what we see of each other. Carol was always stylish, beautiful and strong-willed, but marriage and motherhood made her cautious. The woman whom Katy befriends on the Amalfi Coast is free and adventurous, and this spirit rubs off on Katy.
One Italian Summer isn’t just about wild oats and adventure either—it’s about knowing yourself. Carol made some mistakes along the way: She was almost an idol to her daughter instead of a teacher, and now Katy doesn’t know how to function without her. In Italy, Katy is sunnier and more willing to experiment, even getting to know an older real estate investor who could be a potential love interest, while her marriage hangs in limbo.
For readers open to moral complexities, One Italian Summer is a thoughtful, fun escape, blending contemplations of love and loss with a touch of adventure. It’s also a beautiful tribute to the pleasures of Italian culture.