One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: to Positano, the magical town where Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.

But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.

And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.


What I thought

Acclaimed writer Rebecca Serle has done it again. The New York Times Bestselling author of In Five Years whisked me away to Italy for the days that I read this gorgeous novel.

The prose is so emotionally impactful, much like Serle’s other books. I felt invested from the beginning of this heartfelt story, which is told from the perspective of a daughter named Katy Silver, who has lost her mother.

It starts out when Katy’s mother Carol passes away, and her grief is felt so strongly throughout those opening pages. Katy is the around same age as me, and I just couldn’t imagine losing my own mother. It felt all the more realistic since we share many of the same relationship qualities that Serle describes her characters as having.

The way that Rebecca writes about Positano is breathtaking. She really takes readers on a magnificent journey to the village on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Although I’ve never been there, I felt like I was on a meditative journey with Katy. Serle’s descriptions of the places there, specifically Hotel Poseidon, where Katy stays, sound truly magical. She talks of food, the scenery, and the architecture with such passion. And she draws the reader in with a compelling and lovable cast of characters.

As much as the novel addresses grief and loss, it felt beautifully uplifting. The writing felt much like a sunrise on a pleasant summer’s day, bringing warmth to my skin as I read.

And it wouldn’t be a Serle novel without a glorious and magical twist, one that will bring a smile to your face while filling your body with chills.

Overall, this was a stunning read, and I’m so thrilled to have had the opportunity to enjoy it before its official publication. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this one at your local bookstore when it hits shelves. My thanks to the author and the publisher Simon & Schuster Canada for my copy.

Rebecca by Ann Molen

Rebecca Serle is the New York Times bestselling author of In Five Years, The Dinner List, and the young adult novels The Edge of Falling and When You Were Mine. Serle also developed the hit TV adaptation Famous in Love, based on her YA series of the same name. She is a graduate of USC and The New School and lives in Los Angeles. 

One Italian Summer is available in hardcover from Indigo and in e-book format from Kobo. Check Simon & Schuster Canada for additional retailers.

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