Three generations of women in the Ferrari family must heal the broken pieces of their lives on a trip of a lifetime through picturesque Italy from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst
Workaholic, career-obsessed Francesca is fiercely independent and successful in all areas of her life except one: family. She struggles to make time for her relationship with her teenage daughter, Allegra, and the two have become practically strangers to each other. When Allegra hangs out with a new crowd and is arrested for drug possession, Francesca gives in to her mother's wish that they take one epic summer vacation to trace their family roots in Italy. She just never expected to face a choice that might change the course of her life. . .
Allegra wants to make her grandmother happy, but she hates the idea of forced time with her mother and vows to fight every step of the ridiculous tour, until a young man on the verge of priesthood begins to show her the power of acceptance, healing, and the heartbreaking complications of love.
Sophia knows her girls are in trouble. A summer filled with the possibility for change is what they all desperately need. Among the ruins of ancient Rome, the small churches of Assisi, and the rolling hills of Tuscany, Sophia hopes to show her girls that the bonds of family are everything, and to remind them that they can always lean on one another, before it's too late.
Probst's delightful latest (after Temptation on Ocean Drive) follows three generations of women on a monthlong tour of Italy as they attempt to repair their troubled relationships. The grandmother, Sophia Ferrari, suggests the trip as a way to postpone an imminent diagnosis for her increasing stomach pain and reconnect with her daughter and granddaughter, who are facing troubles of their own. Once on the ground, Francesca, an advertising executive suffering from panic attacks, attempts to leave work behind and repair her strained relationship with her daughter, Allegra, who believes she's an afterthought to Francesca's career. Allegra, too, has been at a crossroads since being arrested her back home for driving and smoking weed with her friends. In Italy, she meets someone who will listen to her, a young man studying to be a priest who's down for a bit of romance before taking up the cloth. Meanwhile, Francesca connects with their tour guide, and Sophia meets a promising man as well. The issues within the family are established early and offer little surprises, but the novel is carried by the rich interactions between the women, as well as the lush Italian landscape, city descriptions, and culinary pleasures. Probst consistently charms.
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“The charms of Rome can make you forget time.”
“Our Italian Summer” is an extraordinary story of three women who embark on a magical summer vacation of soul-searching, fence-mending and dream-chasing. What an opportunity they had to travel to the land of their ancestors, something I would have loved to have done with my daughter and mother. How wonderful it would be to experience the customs of Italy, the beautiful scenery, and the delicious food. Sophia, Francesca and Allegra had no idea that their vacation would change their lives forever. They needed this time to truly get to know the women they had become away from work, away from school, and away from the confines of everyday life. Together, they would visit beautiful churches and dine at unforgettable restaurants, all while learning about where they came from and where life would take them after they returned home. Sophia, the matriarch of the family, could see that her daughter and granddaughter were hurting and she prayed that this vacation would bring them closer together. Francesca, whose job was her life, needed to turn off her phone, put away her laptop and look at this vacation as a chance to relax and open her eyes to new beginnings. Allegra, the studious high school senior, was at a crossroads in her life. She wanted to pursue her own career while her mother was pushing her to be just like her. As I was reading, I found myself becoming part of the story, experiencing their feelings and wishing I could accompany them on their journey of reflection. I felt many emotions while reading: I became teary-eyed, laughed out loud and agreed with their heated family discussions. I felt as if I knew all of them, as they reminded me of my close Italian relatives. Family is everything and as long as we open our hearts and listen closely, we can solve our problems while love does all the work.