Welcome to my stop on the book tour for Italy Ever After by Leonie Mack!
Escape to the sun and head off to Italy, with the wonderfully warm and ever-so-page-turning Leonie Mack!
TV journalist Lou feels battered and bruised after her divorce from Phil, the father of her daughter Edie. Her confidence and sense of fun have steadily been drained away, and she isn’t sure who she is any more.
When the opportunity arises to accompany Edie on a music camp in Italy for a month in the summer, Lou jumps at the chance for new adventures, new horizons and new friends. The hazy warmth of the summer sun, shining brightly over the stunning Lake Garda, slowly brings Lou back to life.
Nick Romano, Edie’s music teacher, loves being home in Italy, but coaching his students for their concert in Milan, is bringing back difficult memories. His blossoming friendship with Lou is the perfect distraction, although a summer fling would be easier to conduct without the scrutiny of his mother Greta, not to mention the interference of his extended Italian family.
As the summer passes, full of sunshine and breath-taking scenery, gelato and delicious feasts, Lou and Nick get ever closer. But as the time for farewell creeps up on them, will they be able to say goodbye and leave their memories behind in the Italian sun, or can a summer romance last a lifetime?
Leonie Mack is back with a sizzling, sun-baked love story, perfect for all fans of Mandy Baggot, Jo Thomas and Carole Matthews.
You Can Purchase the Book: Amazon
Leonie Mack is a debut novelist whose first book My Christmas Number One was published by Boldwood in September 2020. Having lived in London for many years her home is now in Germany with her husband and three children. Leonie loves train travel, medieval towns, hiking and happy endings!
Louise “Lou” is recently divorced from her husband Phil, who is now in a relationship with a younger woman. Phil’s impression of Lou is that she is average and has no talent which weighs on Lou, even though the romance is gone. They have a musically gifted daughter named Edie, who is eleven and about to go to a music school next year. Before her time at her current school ends, she is offered a place in a music camp for the summer that is run by her music teacher, Nick Romano. The camp also happens to be near Nick’s hometown in rural Italy at Lake Garda with a final performance at a competition in Milan. To support her daughter, Lou volunteers as a chaperone for the trip and also wants to use the trip as an opportunity to try and find her calling and talent.
Lou finds herself quite enamored with Nick and Nick finds himself attracted to Lou. Both know they need to keep their distance as each not only have their own personal issues that they are working through, but they also have to tread lightly since Nick is still Edie’s teacher for the summer. Their relationship does develop slowly over time as they work their way from a purely professional teacher-parent to friends to more over the course of the summer. Lou is a tv journalist that does occasional pieces on tv where her ex-husband is a major producer. She lacks confidence in herself and does not see her potential to shine. On the other hand, Nick has many demons of his own where he also doubts his own worth.
Both character’s not only go through their own journeys, but they also work through it all together along with the wonderful secondary characters, such as the other chaperones and Nick’s mother, who happens to come be a part of the camp. There are moments where Lou’s self-deprecation can be a little wearing on the reader, but you still find yourself rooting for her to grow and learn just how great she actually is and you wish her happiness. For both characters, I loved how the children, Lou with her own child and Nick as the teacher for the whole class, always came first. Even if the two of them wanted to be alone, they would put the children’s needs first as this was a school trip.
The passion for music in this story is apparent and I love how the author wrote about the various viewpoints. Edie (and the other students) and Nick have a huge passion for music and play their instruments and sing every chance they get as they find music to be their calling. Then there are those, like Lou and Phil, who do not share those talents and are more outsiders. Lou appreciates the hard work and dedication and tries her best to understand the way of a musician. Alternatively, there is Phil, who does not understand and does not see the value in dedicating so much time when there is a high probability of rejection. These differences were seamlessly woven into the story of personal growth and romance.
Overall, this story was a nice light-hearted read. There are many heart-warming moments as the two main characters are on a journey of self-discovery with a great cast of secondary characters that are all written well. There are characters, such as Lou, that you obviously are meant to root for and there are characters, such as Phil, that are written well as the villains. The first interaction the reader gets to experience is Lou trying to convince Phil to let their daughter attend the music camp and it beautifully sets up the two characters without the need to fully explore their backgrounds. This story was cute and I loved the gorgeous Italian setting and wish I could visit with the olive trees and beautiful lake!
**I give a special thank you to Rachel @rararesources, the author, Leonie Mack, and the publisher, Boldwood Books, for the opportunity to participate via Netgalley with this excellent and heartwarming novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**