One Italian Summer

Rebecca Serle. Atria, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-1-982166-79-3

Serle (In Five Years) sets up another time-warp conceit with a touching story about a woman grieving her mother. Katy Silver, 30, was planning a trip with her mother, Carol, to Positano, Italy, before Carol died from cancer. Katy decides to go alone, and while she’s abroad she reconsiders her unsatisfying marriage. She also somehow meets her 30-year-old mother, along with the beguiling Adam Westbrooke, a single man in the hotel acquisition business, who offers a bit more adventure than her predictable husband. As Katy explores the Amalfi coast and eats fabulous local food, she comes to understand different aspects of her mother, a woman who, as an art gallery assistant, dreamed of her own design business and came to Italy to rejuvenate her sense of self. As Katy and Carol’s friendship deepens, they have a pivotal dispute that threatens their relationship. Serle’s fans may be forgiving regarding the trick she deploys to make it possible for Katy and Carol to meet across time, though for most it will strain credulity. Still, the mother-daughter bond is made palpable through Katy’s grief and desire for connection. Once again, Serle gets the job done just fine. Agent: Erin Malone, WME. (Mar.)
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