A Portrait of Emily Price
Written by: Katherine Reay
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Month, Year: November, 2016
A brief summary from Katherine Reay:
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 reallllllllllllly wanted to like this novel.
I adored Reay’s Lizzy and Jane and Dear Mr. Knightly and was hoping I would take a liking to this novel as well. But, well, much like The Bronte Plot I had a difficult time relating to the characters, becoming involved with the plot, and holding my attention to the words before me. My mind wandered as often as Emily did from task to task, never landing long enough to be completely satisfied with what I found. I did, however, love Reay’s descriptions of Italy’s landscape, architecture, and beauty. A few years ago I had the opportunity to back-pack across Italy with a close friend, and it was the most intriguing, eye-opening, culturally soaked trip I think I’ve ever been on. I wish my trip had lasted longer than 16 days! If anything, Reay’s descriptions only prompted the longing in my heart to make a trip again.
While this wasn’t my favorite of Reay’s, I do love that she stayed true to her writing style, realistic characters, and the novels she’s somewhat parodying…this just wasn’t the book for me and that’s okay. I can re-read Lizzy and Jane as often as my heart desires. 🙂 I’m also super excited to read Reay’s upcoming novel The Austen Escape, which is rumored to be coming out in 2017 – I can’t wait!!
I was graciously provided a free copy of this novel from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.