If you ask me to recommend a book, I'll be sure to tell you to add one - if not all - of Nicky Pellegrino's to your TBR pile! They're light hearted, summer reading, with wonderful characters, stories of love, friendship and Italian food, set in both London and of course, the cuisine capital, Italy itself.
I received Pellegrino's latest novel, The Villa Girls, courtesy of my wonderful ma-in-law, who had the fortune to be able to listen to the author herself speak at a "Books & Bubbles" event. Needless to say, upon it's arrival in my hot little hands, The Villa Girls was instantly devoured.
It's the story of four girls, not necessarily friends to begin with, but a friendship certainly develops between each of them. One summer they all end up on holiday together in an Italian villa, and make a pact that such a holiday will become a regular occurrence. But upon returning to their daily routines, they begin to drift apart. When the friendship rekindles between Rosie (an orphan and somewhat withdrawn loner) and Addolorata (the youngest daughter of a feisty Italian chef) - you can only imagine the difference in family environments that these two are subjected too - the pact of the Villa Girls is reunited.
There is of course a romantic storyline with an Italian man that develops, and plenty of references to mouthwateringly delicious Italian fare, but my reason for enjoying Pellegrino's books is that her characters and their antics never seem too far away. The little Italian restaurant could be down the road, the characters could be the group of girls you see together on holiday. They're relatively normal every day characters who you can relate to. They don't necessarily lead an over-exciting life, but they're people you want to keep turning the pages for to know what happened to them.
The Villa Girls stands alone as a book, but the Italian theme - and indeed Addolorata's Italian family - are also characters of Pellegrino's other books, in particular The Italian Wedding - one of my favs and a definite recommendation to anyone and everyone.
So, if you haven't already figured it out - I'd recommend Nicky Pellegrino's books. You can't go wrong!.