Thursday, 7 April 2016

Book Review - Under Italian Skies by Nicky Pellegrino

Amazon UK
Title: Under Italian Skies
Author: Nicky Pellegrino
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Orion
Publication Date: 7th April 2016 
Rating: 5 Stars

Stella has life under control - and that's the way she likes it. For twenty-five years, she's been trusted assistant to a legendary fashion designer, but after her boss dies suddenly, she's left with nothing to do apart from clear the studio.

It seems as though the life she wanted has vanished. She is lost - until one day she finds a house swap website and sees a beautiful old villa in a southern Italian village. Could she really exchange her poky London flat for that?

But what was intended as just a break becomes much more, as Stella finds herself trying on a stranger's life. As the villa begins to get under her skin, she can't help but imagine the owner from the clues around her. She meets his friends, cooks the local food he recommends and follows suggestions to go to his favourite places. But can an idea of someone ever match up to the reality?

As Stella wonders if she can let go of the safety of her past, perhaps there's a chance for her to find a way into her future...

I was incredibly excited when I saw there was going to be a new Nicky Pellegrino book, and my first impressions of the cover were how pretty and evocative. I couldn't wait to get stuck into the story and see where in Italy I was going to be transported this year. 

It didn't take long to discover that its Triento, in Southern Italy, a location I have become familiar with from some of Nicky Pellegrino's previous books, and back the the gorgeous Villa Rossa. You will meet up with old friends from her past works, but its a brand new set of characters that are at the centre of this story. 

Stella likes her life to be controlled, but when her boss dies and insists that her company closes on her death, Stella has to pack up the offices and take stock of her life. When best friend Birdie suggests a house swap, so that Stella can get away from London for a while, for experience a new lifestyle, Stella cautiously agrees, and finds Leo's summer house The Villa Rossa. 

Throughout the book there is Stella's email exchanges with Leo as they become virtual friends, as well as keeping up with Birdie, and we see Stella's growing love affair with the Italian village she finds herself in. Before long she has made some new friends, and with the help of the scrapbook that Leo has kindly made for her, she is off on small day to day adventures, trying out new things and generally integrating herself into Italian life. 

As is typical of a book by this author, make sure you have something to snack on while you are reading, as there are many delicious sounding descriptions of Italian food, as Stella is introduced to new restaurants, and two ladies try to teach her how to cook, in the Italian style. 

I found myself transported to a relaxed lifestyle in Italy that I didn't want to come to an end, feeling like I was in another country myself, as I got to know Stella and experience how she was living in her house swap. I loved the correspondence with Leo, which may not be normal for a home exchange, but since it felt like they had partially swapped lives, it fitted well, and gave you a good idea of what Leo could be like. 

Under Italian Skies is a very relaxing read, that took me out of England and convinced me for a few short hours that I was in Italy. I feel it would a great summer holiday book, or even just for a nice day out in your garden, when the sun is shining, and you want to escape your day to day life for a bit. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Orion for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read anything by this author but this sounds like a great one for outside my caravan.


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