“A delightful story of love, passion, and appetite, filled with Italian vivacity and charm.” —Anthony Capella, international bestselling author of The Food of Love and The Wedding Officer
Art restorer Emily Price has never encountered anything she can’t fix—until she meets Ben, an Italian chef, who seems just right. But when Emily follows Ben home to Italy, she learns that his family is another matter.
Emily Price—fix-it girl extraordinaire and would-be artist—dreams of having a gallery show of her own. There is no time for distractions, especially not the ultimate distraction of falling in love.
But Chef Benito Vassallo’s relentless pursuit proves hard to resist. Visiting from Italy, Ben works to breathe new life into his aunt and uncle’s faded restaurant, Piccollo. Soon after their first meeting, he works to win Emily as well—inviting her into his world and into his heart.
Emily astonishes everyone when she accepts Ben’s proposal and follows him home. But instead of allowing the land, culture, and people of Monterello to transform her, Emily interferes with everyone and everything around her, alienating Ben’s tightly knit family. Only Ben’s father, Lucio, gives Emily the understanding she needs to lay down her guard. Soon, Emily’s life and art begin to blossom, and Italy’s beauty and rhythm take hold of her spirit.
Yet when she unearths long-buried family secrets, Emily wonders if she really fits into Ben’s world. Will the joys of Italy become just a memory, or will Emily share in the freedom and grace that her life with Ben has shown her are possible?
“A Portrait of Emily Price is a portrait of grace and love. Reay expertly weaves a story rich in taste and sight, wrapping it all with sigh-worthy romance. You’ll think of Emily and Ben and the hills of Italy long after you’ve read the last page. Reay is carving her name among the literary greats.” —Rachel Hauck, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Wedding Dress
Romance novelist Reay (Dear Mr. Knightley) crafts another engaging and sprightly page-turning bildungsroman. Emily Price is an art restorer and artist with underdeveloped talent and some personal blind spots. She works for an Italian expatriate based out of Atlanta, who has an exquisite art sensibility and a family that includes a handsome, sexy brother, Ben, who can cook and charm. After Emily falls for Ben, she acquires a set of Roman in-laws with secrets and another way of life. When Emily heads to Rome to meet the family, everybody has something to learn, not least the young American woman who discovers how to look at people and art with more care and consideration. The American-goes-to-Europe plot is a real chestnut, familiar but nicely revived by Reay who hits a sweet spot between adventure romance and artistic rumination; the novel finds a fantastic groove where chick lit meets Henry James. Reay's well-realized characters enliven the formula, and the moral development of the heroine owes a lot to the Jane Austen novels that Reay has echoed in other works. Though not every detail of Italian culture rings quite true, on the whole this is another delight from Reay.
Bravo! Excellent novel!
"As I told you, they follow the sun. This afternoon they will grace the road with their smiles, and you will never find a rebel. I know. I ran through a neighbor’s field once and searched. I twisted a few and they snapped. They must turn on their own.”
I first picked up A Portrait of Emily Price because I loved, loved Dear Mr. Knightley and each of Katherine Reay's books that followed. I was thrilled when I received the book as the cover drew me in immediately (my dishes are scenes from the Italian countryside). But as I read, I quickly realized that I related to Emily even more than any of the characters in the other novels that I enjoyed so much. Emily is a lady that wants to fix things for others while fearing that if someone sees the real her, she won't be enough. What courage it takes to let your guard down and turn to love. All of the characters are so well developed, and so true to real life, flaws and all.
The details of the art world and the restoration process were fascinating and made me want to learn more. The scenes from the US to Italy were captivating and made me want to travel. And the description of the Italian food ~ well that made me want to eat!
I laughed at some of the situations Emily found herself in, I cheered her on when she struggled, and I delighted in the ending. The theme of restoration winds through the novel and there were several lines that stuck with me after the last page was closed. Bravo, Katherine ~ another fantastic book!