One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton
It’s been a year since Milly, Elyse and Leonie’s dad died, and a year since their last trip to Rome. Summer’s here again, and once again they are heading with their mum to Italy – but what’s it going to be like going without Dad? Rome still holds its familiar charms – the sun is still as warm, the gelato as delicious, the people as welcoming. But nothing is quite as it once was …
With grief still raw for all of them, Milly is facing the additional awfulness of having to see Luke again – gorgeous, gorgeous Luke, who she had a fling with last year, and who she made a total fool of herself with – or so she thinks. What’s going to happen this time? What’s more, things between Milly, her sisters and their mum are rocky – Leonie is being tempestuous and unpredictable, Elyse is caught up with her new boyfriend, and Milly feels like she just doesn’t know how she fits in any more.
Over one Italian summer, can Milly find a way back to the life she once had?
I’m not going to lie, I absolutely adore Keris Stainton‘s books. I love her writing and the subject matter that she tackles. Her books are always quick, easy to read and still feel my soul with many emotions. This is no different to One Italian Summer but I honestly think this is probably her best book yet. I was instantly transported into this story and from the very first few chapters I was already crying. Keris has created a novel that really makes you feel but as well as hitting you in the heart, it is also full of fun, hope and happiness. Reading it was like watching a wonderfully moving film in the cinema that leaves you feeling raw but hopeful.
One Italian Summer follows Milly, her two sisters and her mum as they go on their annual family holiday to Italy, for the very first time without their father who suddenly passed away. At the start of the novel, the family and Milly especially, are not dealing with this too well – as you would expect. The book shows how they work their way through many issues and it is executed exceptionally well. I felt for every single character in the story and loved how everything was separate but also interlinked at the same time. Also, can I please just take a moment to gush about how amazing the sisters in this family were? They were as close as best friends and I absolutely loved that. It’s so refreshing to read about such a close family unit. Not all sisters are enemies!
My favourite character by far was Milly but it was always going to be, I seem to have an affliction for falling in love with the protagonists in books! Milly was not coping very well at all but she was also caring and loyal, she was funny and strong underneath it all. Basically, everything that I love in a protagonist. She went on a really heart-warming journey and I just connected with her so much. But while Milly was an incredible character to read about, she fortunately didn’t overshadow the other characters. I absolutely adored Leonie. She was so confident and vibrant. She was also rebellious and stressed. A wonderful balance – as all humans are. Of course, another reason to read this book is Luke. He is a wonderful character. Funny, charming and totally lovely. He was protective and sensitive and he was absolutely lovely to read.
And Start Living
Overall this book was a fascinating, heart-warming and heart-breaking read that is literally the perfect summer read. It’s a dose of Italy but it’s also a dose of family, friendship, love and hope. It is a book that deals with so many issues, and big ones such as greif and coming out of the closet, and it does it with sensitivity and compassion but also realistically too. Not everything goes to plan and we say things we don’t mean and this is shown so honestly in this book. Honestly, I could gush about this book all day. It was truly wonderful and a book that I would probably read over and over again. If you’re a fan of Sarah Dessen or Morgan Matson, definitely make sure you add this book to your reading pile this summer!
** I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **