Art restorer Emily Price has never encountered anything she can’t fix—until she meets Ben, an Italian chef, who seems just right. When Emily follows Ben home to Italy, she learns that his family, however, is another matter . . .
Emily Price—fix-it girl extraordinaire and would-be artist—finds herself in Atlanta, repairing objects damaged in a house fire. As she works to restore the home and dreams of one family, she strives to keep the pieces of her own life in perfect order and secure her own happy ending—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 reconnect with his brother and breathe new life into his aunt and uncle’s faded restaurant, Piccolo. And 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. Upon landing in Rome, she is enchanted with Italy. But instead of allowing the land, culture and people to transform her, Emily imposes her will upon 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?
**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.**
If you pick this book up, be prepared to savor it. A Portrait of Emily Price is one of those novels with so many layers to it. There is the general plot and storyline, but hovering below that are traits and personalities of the characters that resonate with us who don’t live in fictional worlds. There is much to learn from these characters.
There’s Ben, who just has a love for life. Emily who just has an urge to fix everything. And then there is Joseph, a character who’s been hurt. And Lucio and Donata, who each are accepting what life has in their future in their own way–one is welcoming while the other is upset by it. These characters breathe with life and truly come alive in this story.
I loved the story. At times it felt a bit slow, but I think there is something about this book that needs to be read slowly. It requests that you take your time. Dive into what these characters feel and how you can connect with that. This is truly a book worth taking your time with.
-Joseph Vassallo, A Portrait of Emily Price
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