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Italian for Beginners Paperback – August 13, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fun, high-spirited [novel]."―Romantic Times

"Overflowing with bubbly fun...intoxicating with the magic of Paris...Like a bottle of champagne...You'll drink it down in one glamorous gulp."―Julia Holden, author of ONE DANCE IN PARIS

"With her characteristic wit and warmth, Harmel tells a very entertaining story of a woman who reinvents herself almost without realizing it."―Melissa Senate, author of SEE JANE DATE and LOVE YOU TO DEATH

About the Author

Kristin Harmel is the author of four women's fiction novels. She also reports for People magazine, and her work has appeared in magazines including Glamour, Runner's World, Woman's Day, American Baby, and Men's Health. She's also the author of two novels for teens. Kristin Harmel lives in Orlando, Florida.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: 5 Spot; 1 Original edition (August 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446538302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446538305
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #752,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lauren G VINE VOICE on July 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
Cat Connelly has a safe life. She has a comfortable job as an attorney in NYC, a nice apartment, an okay relationship history and that's it. Everything she's ever done has been by the book. She never leaves town because she fears her father or younger erratic sister may need her, since she's been taking care of them since her mother left them (and later passed away after returning). As the book starts, Cats watching her younger sister get married - something that wasn't entirely uncomfortable for her until her slightly senile grandmother decides to make a scene. Embarrassment ensues.

The one time Cat remembers being truly happy was when she was in Rome for a summer during college. She had a foreign lover named Francesco and a life of her own. She truly smiled without worrying about everyone else. And so, with some pursuasion from her persistent co-worker, Cat takes her first vacation - 4 weeks in Rome. Away from everything. She plans to return to her former fling and fall in love with him and the city once again. Of course, nothing goes as planned. Francesco turns out to be horrid and the city wasn't entirely welcoming at first. But with the help of a crazy waitress, Karina, and a restauranteur who calls her Princess Ann (a reference I later understood), Cat learns how to take some risks and let go.

Italian for Beginners is a lovely little book that takes you from the crowded streets of New York to the small alleys of Rome. Harmel does a fantastic job at describing both locations beautifully. She captures the liveliness of New York and the essence of Rome. From going to Rome I, personally, learned that it's not all about the main attractions - it's about the moments. And this book has plenty of memorable moments.
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By Nicole on September 9, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The beginning and the end make this book. It drags a bit in the middle, but if you persevere in finishing this book you will be rewarded. I had stopped reading about half way through to read a couple of other books, but I came back to Italian for Beginners and I'm glad I did. You really start to root for Cat in the last 1/3 of the novel. Initially, I didn't overly care for any of the main characters, but they came alive there in the last part of the book as Cat really found what she had been missing in her life....herself! Buy it used or check it out of the library, I doubt it's a book you'll want to keep; but it's a fun read. I thought Kristin Harmel's The Sweetness of Forgetting was the better book, if you're looking for something else by the author.
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Format: Paperback
Italian For Beginners is a light, easy read. But it has been done so many times before! There are some fabulous chick lit romance novels on the market, but this just isn't one of them. It's ok, but not one of the better reads. And I have read A Lot.

Cat is such a timid, predictable, wimpy character that I had a hard time relating to her life. It was so redundant that I started to roll my eyes when the author would describe how Cat was so afraid of taking chances!

Francesco was a predictable character, and it was obvious that his motives were not pure when he never emailed Cat again.

Marco was interesting. But there is no way that Cat would not have even listened to him about his "misunderstanding." If she liked him as much as she claimed she did, they she would have at least checked her email...

Karina was funny and interesting, but why is she so, um, hot and cold? Even a stranger would never get so mad over a simple statement as to leave a roommate alone in the middle of the night in a foreign country. Really?

Overall, an entertaining read, but frustrating characters!
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Format: Paperback
Cat Connelly lives a perfectly safe - if boring - existence. The daughter of an Irish father and an Italian mother, she's spent her life being who she thought others wanted her to be: organized, responsible, and always there to cook, clean, or dole out money in a bind. She works at a New York accounting firm for the money and health benefits, but her true love is digital photography. She has serious issues due to her mother's lengthy absence during her adolescence, and at thirty-five, she's still single and has serious commitment issues. She hasn't taken a vacation in years, but after a very public humiliation by her senile Irish grandmother, Cat ends up in Rome, a city she last visited as an exchange student thirteen years ago.

Once in Rome, Cat struggles to understand what's keeping her in the Eternal City after a series of unplanned disasters derail her plans. It's certainly not Francesco, her former flame. The handsome Marco has the annoying habit of calling Cat "Princess Ann" and making constant references to Roman Holiday even though she's never seen the movie (Cat's grandparents were extras, and even named her mother Audrey Hepburn Verdicchio), but there's little action on the romantic front. And Cat's afraid to contact her Roman family, whom she hasn't heard from since her mother's death nearly two decades ago.

Over the course of four weeks, Cat makes peace with the ghosts that haunt her. At the same time, she rediscovers the timeless charms of everyday life in Rome, dodging Italian stallions and eating like a princess, capturing slices of everyday life through the lens of her
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