Genre(s): Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Age Level: Adult
Release Date: November 17, 2020
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than two hundred years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily-single baker at her grandfather’s Brooklyn deli, claim it’s an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it’s a true hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she’ll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her eightieth birthday, and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.
Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed—secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse.
This is probably one of the most beautifully crafted, planned, and imagined contemporary romance novels I’ve ever read. The imagery throughout this book was so vivid and scenes so well described that I often found myself re-reading paragraphs just to experience what the characters saw or felt in the story. This book truly transported me to Italy and allowed me to see the beautiful cobblestone streets, high-class restaurants, gondolas on the Venetian canal, and egg yolk yellow sunsets.
What made me pick it up?
Initially, I saw this book on Instagram as the Book Of The Month for November 2020 and didn’t think much of it. Slowly, I started hearing some really good reviews and decided I would just read the synopsis. After reading the synopsis I added it to my TBR right away! A love curse? Italian landscape? Family secrets? Yes, yes, and yes!
I had so many questions about this I wanted to see how this so-called curse could be real…and if it was, how it could be broken. This novel didn’t seem to be one with magic so how would Lori Nelson Spielman go about this? This book seemed like a romantic whirlwind adventure and I wanted to get in on it.
Clever plot lines
The thing I loved most about this book was that it wasn’t merely a love story. Some romance books, you’ll pick up knowing exactly how it’ll end and quite possibly the storylines in between too. Not with this one. It was intriguing and mysterious at the same time because so many aspects of it made me raise my eyebrow and figuratively squint at the text thinking, “Ouuu I wonder where this is going…” and I loved that! The ending to this one wasn’t exactly what I expected because it tied everything together in a logical, satisfying, and deeper-than-imagined way.
I really love how Italian customs, food, mannerisms, and culture were incorporated so well into this story. It also dove into deeper issues in life such as family approval, trauma, and self-esteem. If you enjoy plot twists, romance, mystery, and satisfying endings, this is the perfect book for you!