Title: Italian for Beginners
Author: Kristin Harmel
Release Date: August 13, 2009
Publisher: 5 Spot
Genre: Chick Lit, Travel
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the publisher’s website:
Thirty-four-year-old Manhattan accountant Cat Connelly has always lived life on the safe side. But after her little sister gets married, Cat wonders if she has condemned herself to a life of boredom by playing by the rules. She decides to take a chance for once, accepting an invitation to spend a month with an old flame in Italy. But her reunion with the slick and gorgeous Francesco is short-lived, and she finds herself suddenly alone in Rome. Now, she must see if she has the courage to live outside the lines for the first time – and to face a past she never understood. It will take an unexpected friendship with a fiery Italian waitress, a whirlwind Vespa tour of the Eternal City with a handsome stranger, and a surprise encounter with an old acquaintance to show Cat that life doesn’t always work out the way you expect, but sometimes you have to have fall in order to fly.
I really enjoy books in which the main character travels to a foreign country, especially when the author is generous with details and descriptions about sights. When these books are well-written, I feel like I get to take a trip without leaving my house. For simply the cost of a book and the time it takes to read it, I get to learn about entirely new places and revisit old sites that I adored. I felt that way about Italian for Beginners; it was a wonderfully written book with not one, but two main characters: Cat and the city of Rome.
I loved reading about Rome through Cat’s eyes. The constant Roman Holiday references were a delight, and I enjoyed how descriptive Harmel was with the setting. I really felt like I was in Rome with Cat, taking in the amazing sights and sounds of the city. It made Italian for Beginners an absolute joy to read.
Cat’s story was very compelling as well. I sympathized with her and felt bad that her family was so judgmental of her relationships. I was glad when she went away, breaking free from all of that. I really enjoyed getting to know Cat and accompanying her on her journey of self-discovery. She was a very well-written character who was very easy to understand. By the end of Italian for Beginners, I felt like she was an old friend.
I definitely recommend Italian for Beginners if you’re a fan of chick lit. It’s a wonderful, light book that is easy to read. Definitely pick this one up if you’re looking for a great summer novel!