A Taste of Italian Sunshine by Leonie Mack
A Taste of Italian Sunshine
By Leoni Mack
Jenn has always prided herself on being a city girl – she insists on easy access to good coffee, great food from around the globe, not to mention an easy commute. So, when her job takes her to one of the most famous Italian wine regions in search of the perfect Prosecco, travelling to meetings on a tractor is a bit of a culture shock.
Tiziano hates the city. He was made for the mountains and vineyards of Veneto, and generations of his family have earned their living from the land. But times are changing even in the Italian countryside, and the arrival of Jenn at his grandmother’s B&B opens up a window on a different world.
Jenn has two months to persuade the Prosecco producers to trust her with their business, and Tiziano has one summer to persuade Jenn that there’s more to life than the rat race. But can a city girl and a country boy ever find enough in common to see a future beyond one long summer of sun…
Summer, sun and romance! What is not to like! This an engaging story about two people who forge a deep meaningful connection with each other and don’t even realise that they are both searching for it.
Jenn is a prosecco taster and has been promoted to buyer which is why she is sent by her employer to Combai, perched on the prosecco hills to source the best wines at the best prices. Her naivety, inexperience and unworldliness in matters of the heart give her vulnerability which is an endearing character trait Coming from a 24/7 bustling city like London, the rural village life she encounters and speaking little of the language is a complete culture shock. She has booked accommodation at a local Agriturismo and for anyone who is not familiar with the term, it is rustic farmhouse accommodation and serves locally grown or reared food. The author’s knowledge of Italian life captures this with subtle humour.
‘Morning! Where is Filomena, the B&B owner?’ Jenn asked.
‘She gets the eggs’ replied Tiziano.
‘Oh, really? Does she have to go far?’ Jenn imagined the old woman shuffling down to the village and thought about calling the emergency services.
‘From the chickens. Behind the house!’
The love interest comes from the owner’s grandson, a swarthy farm labourer who has a rather secretive past. He also makes illicit grappa! Although he finds Jenn prickly and closed at first, he finds himself strangely attracted to her. As you might imagine, she rejects his initial flirtatious behaviour even though, she finds him ‘kind of cute’. However, in true Bridget Jones style, she discards her inner carnal thoughts. After all,
‘She was here to select wines, not make friends with farmers’.
Through a series of adventures and misadventures, Jenn and Tiziano begin a relationship. Again, the wit and comedy are brilliantly executed. Just when Jenn thinks she will be fired after being caught having sex in her hotel bedroom by her boss Filippo, who suddenly arrives in Italy, she is completely floored by his response.
‘Calm down Jenn. It’s fine. It’s good to see you are hot-blooded like the rest of us!’
The author explains that Jenn has a low tolerance for alcohol but that makes her palate and olfactory senses more sensitive and more acute. The detail in the story about aromas of food, life and nature really captivates the essence of Italy.
‘A bustling weekly market filled the piazza, giant tubs of plump tomatoes, peaches and red currants, fresh beetroot, and packs of zucchini flowers tied up with string. A trailer with a chilled counter offered fresh meat from sausages to skinned rabbits.
Why I recommend this book.
It is gloriously escapist yet as an expat living the dream, it’s true! The reader is transported to a country of beauty, culture, style, and romance. It is uplifting. It is captivating and charming with characters who are full and believable, endearing and sweet. Jenn sees herself as an outsider yet when she immerses herself in Italian life, she experiences a unique harmony, enjoyment and peace of soul that we all need. Italy is a country that endows people with its beauty and welcoming nature. The author very cleverly uses wine to unite her characters and to show that a love of life and passion for food should be experienced to the fullest. As Jenn delivers her final presentation
‘Drinking prosecco is not an exclusive wine experience but an inclusive one. Tonight, I want to share my notes on flavour but also to share the way of life of a small place where family and community come first. Where time is taken to grow food and there is always an extra seat at the table for guests.’
'A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world'
Leonie Mack is the bestselling author of romantic novels including My Christmas Number One and Italy Ever After. Having lived in London for many years her home is now in Germany with her husband and three children. Leonie loves train travel, medieval towns, hiking and happy endings!
Published by Boldwood Books (12 May 2023)
Paperback, Kindle and audiobook available on Amazon
OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR:
We’ll Always have Venice
Twenty-One Nights in Paris
A Match Made in Venice
Italy Ever After
My Christmas Number One
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