Books · Reviews

One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton // A perfect summer read!

31322309 4.5 stars

Publication Date: May 4th, 2017

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 was provided an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


I requested this book mostly because of the title and the cover – it looks like a fun summery read full of romance and gelato. And it is! But it’s also so much more. 

Set in the first summer post their father’s death, the story is about three sisters and their mother traveling to Rome for their annual vacation. Told from the middle child Milly’s point of view, it’s about her experiences in the city that her father loved, for the first time without her father. She also has to live with her cousin’s best friend, Luke, who she hooked up with the year before. So yeah. Fun fun fun! xD

Milly was a really great character. Her narrative was easy to read and everything she felt was so raw and genuine. I thought the author’s portrayal of dealing with grief was excellent. She also managed to capture how it feels to get embarrassed and awkward around crushes. I loved reading from her point of view.

I absolutely loved the relationship between the sisters. They were all so close and felt like best friends. They were there for each other and had such sweet moments but they also teased and laughed at each other a lot. Leonie was so fun to read about and Elyse was a bit annoying at first but she grew on me. They were all so different yet they understood each other so well. The scenes with all three of them together were some of my favourites. Another character I really loved was their cousin. He was so wonderful and I want to be his best friend.

The story, as you can tell by the title, is set in Italy. I appreciated the references to Italian culture, but there weren’t that many. The scenes that described the city were great, but there weren’t a lot. I would have liked to read a bit more about the place because living in Mumbai, I need the virtual experience 😛 It didn’t take away from the story at all – I was just expecting more Italy. 

I wasn’t a big fan of the romance, I’ll be honest, but I still thought it was really cute. There was no insta-love which was awesome. We didn’t get to see a lot of the love interest, Luke, and don’t even know a lot about him which is why I don’t care that much about him. They have some sweet scenes throughout the book but nothing that significant. There’s definitely a lot more familial love than romantic love in this book – I’m not complaining though! 😀

This is one of the first books that I thought dealt with the loss of a close family member in a very real way. A lot of the story is dedicated to people remembering their father and all the fun things he said and did. As characters were recounting tales of the father with such fondness, it made me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. It showed that what you miss most after someone passes are the ordinary everyday things they said and did. 

The major theme of this story is grief and how to cope with it. The loss of their father kind of tore their family apart – their mother started drowning herself in work, the sisters were a bit lost – but I loved how they all came back together in the end. Such a beautiful family-oriented story

A diverse, atypical summer read what with family being the main focus – but a beautiful story about loss and love with great characters set in the eternal city. Highly recommend if you’re looking for a summer read 😀


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