Monday, 8 July 2019

Book Review - A Postcard From Italy by Alex Brown - Blog Tour

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Title: A Postcard From Italy
Author: Alex Brown
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 11th July 2019
Rating: 5 Stars 

Grace Quinn loves her job at Cohen’s Convenient Storage Company, finding occasional treasure in the forgotten units that customers have abandoned. Her inquisitive nature is piqued when a valuable art collection and a bundle of letters and diaries are found that date back to the 1930’s.

Delving deeper, Grace uncovers the story of a young English woman, Connie Levine, who follows her heart to Italy at the end of the Second World war. The contents also offer up the hope of a new beginning for Grace, battling a broken heart and caring for her controlling mother.

Embarking on her own voyage of discovery, Grace’s search takes her to a powder pink villa on the cliff tops overlooking the Italian Riviera, but will she unravel the family secrets and betrayals that Connie tried so hard to overcome, and find love for herself?

Where on earth do I start in telling you about this marvellous book? 

Would it be with the mystery element, of just why such valuable things had been left in a storage locker, and is there anyone to return them to? 

The mystery of what happened to Constance in her life, as told from snippets of diaries in the WW2 and post WW2 years? Despite my general dislike of history I was captivated by these sections and very glad I had hadn't walked away from the prologue set in 1939, even with its brief mention of Tindledale, and had faith that Alex Brown would deliver a book that I would enjoy. 

Should we start with Grace? The girl who uncovers not only the storage locker but delves deeper into it all with the help of her employees and their nephew. 

Or the more personal side of Grace? The way she cares for her housebound mother, who I don't think it's ever too clear precisely what is wrong with her.  In fact for me this is the thread that I unfortunately identified with the most.   Although I'm not a carer, my mum is disable and I fear she has some of the tendncies that Cora, Grace's mum shows.   Not just with regard to her mobility,  but both mine and Grace's mums are complete and utter control freaks. 

So much of what Grace was saying to people I found myself nodding in recognition and some explanations that were made about the behaviour, were cutting so close to the bone, I could have ended up in tears... but thankfully I was reading in a restaurant .  Funnily enough though mum is a huge fan of Alex Brown too, and I bet when she reads this she won't see a single similarity with herself, but perhaps the controlling aspects of her own parents... but doubt it will have any affect on her alas. 

Or do I start by telling you about how the adventure kicks up a gear once Italy is involved, and just how amazing the week Grace and Ellis spend is there.  Full of tasty food, some amateur detecting and the spark of something perhaps a bit more than Grace realises.  

But no where I should start is with telling you simply that this is a gem of a book, its writing is utterly captivating, its very easy to read, and its just a triumph of a book.  It has you thinking, I was completely amazed by the epilogue which words shouldn't describe as it would give away all the secrets.  This is romance, mystery and women's fiction wrapped up in a wonderful dollop of goodness... and there is even a brief cameo of Tindledale, in the past, home of some of the authors previous books. 

Or in short.. this is completely wonderful, whether you are new to the author or a fan, it is completely and utterly worth reading. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

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