Audiobook, Contemporary Fiction, Magical Realism

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

the setup…

Katy Silver’s mother has died. Carol Silver was her person…her best friend, her first phone call, her only advisor. Without her, Katy feels adrift, at sea. She spent the last year caring for her as she was dying from cancer but, still, she thought she had more time. They’d even planned a trip to Positano, Italy and purchased the tickets to the place that always had special meaning for Carol. In an effort to find a way to cope with her debilitating grief, Katy decides to go on the trip alone, hoping to find a connection to her mother, leaving husband Eric behind. When she arrives, she can already feel a transformation but it’s the young woman she meets there that lifts her out of her despair. Her name is Carol and she’s her mother…at thirty!

the heart of the story…

One of the reasons I was drawn to this story was the setting. I spent three years in southern Italy as a child and still have vivid, warm memories. As soon as Katy arrived there, I was immediately transported in time, just as she was. The descriptions of Positano and the nearby towns, the spirit of those living there and the orgasmic cuisine were beautifully captured. I could see, taste and smell everything, a lovely journey back to a childhood I adored. I even loved the time travel angle, which gave Katy an opportunity to know the woman Carol was before she became the woman she knew. However, it’s Katy’s troubling distance from her husband, both physically and emotionally, and her doubts about continuing their marriage that was the one sour note. I never understood her negative feelings, especially her dismissive attitude towards Eric.

the narration…

This was my first experience with the narrator and I was a bit underwhelmed. She sounded more like a reader instead of delivering a performance. I think I might have had a better experience if I’d read it as there was little character distinction as well.

the bottom line…

I loved traveling through southern Italy, reveling in old and new memories. They were beautifully captured, with descriptions that created permanent imprints I won’t ever forget. I also enjoyed Katy’s relationship with her thirty-year old mother and all that implies. It was a surreal experience as I shared a connection with having to care for a dying parent, wondering how I would feel in the same circumstances. If the story had just remained on that track, it would have been a better reading journey, even with my issues with the narrator. Katy’s dissatisfaction with her marriage and how she treated Eric as a consequence just hit wrong notes and felt mean. I’ve chosen to rewrite the story and just leave that out. Then all that magical realism works!

Book Info

  • Release Date: March 1, 2022
  • Narrator: Lauren Graham
  • Audio Length: 6 hours, 21 minutes
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio



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15 thoughts on “One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle”

  1. It’s a shame the marriage issues weren’t developed more and that the narration was underwhelming. But it does sound like the mother/daughter story is very compelling. Excellent review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Is that the same Lauren Graham from Gilmore Girls? I love her as an actress, but it’s too bad that her narration didn’t really work for you. I loved the setting of this book too but there was too much about the plot that bothered me for me to really love this book.

    Liked by 1 person

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