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The House in Amalfi Hardcover – July 14, 2005

32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With her 16th novel, Adler (Last Time I Saw Paris, etc.) once again brings a far-flung locale to life with escapist flair, taking the reader—along with the questing heroine—on a trip to the coast of southern Italy. Two years after her husband's unexpected death, landscape architect Lamour Harrington suffers more heartbreak when she learns of his infidelity. So she sells her apartment and, along with her dear friend Jammy, leaves windswept Chicago for balmy Italy, where she hopes not only to alleviate her recent grief but also face other ghosts of her past. When she was 17, her father, a novelist, died in a mysterious boating accident while they were living on the Amalfi coast. Seeking to recover her spirit and understand her father's death, she returns to the house they shared. Near the azure waters of the Mediterranean, Lamour's grief begins to lift immediately, especially after she reacquaints herself with the area's charms, including men eager to woo her. But her neighbors seem to know something about her family's past, and she begins to unravel the events leading to her father's death. Despite clunky dialogue, the novel engages with a light story and luscious descriptions of food and scenery. (Aug.)
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From Booklist

Adler is known for her skill in describing place, and she exceeds all expectations in detailing of Rome and Amalfi in her newest novel. Alder captures villages, gardens, houses, and everyday life, all to the reader's vast enjoyment. And her language is deft and graceful as she tells the story of Lamour Harrington, a depressed and recently widowed landscape architect. Lamour journeys back to her childhood home in Italy to discover what led to her beloved father's death, and to try to regain some happiness. The magic in Adler's novels resides not only in place but also in the stories she weaves. And her romances are not just between men and women; they are between reader and landscape. Here the atmosphere is so lush, gardens grow from the page; her descriptions are so beautiful and clear that one could wander her cities with only this book as the map, and so evocative that the reader feels that he or she has also eaten pizza in a tiny cafe, and watched fishermen unload their catch. Neal Wyatt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312339631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312339630
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #867,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elizabeth Adler is a self-confessed romantic, a travel addict and a foodie, all of which she brings to the reader in her novels, along with a tough thrust of suspense and an unfolding mystery that keeps you on your toes. Elizabeth has lived in many countries and when she's not writing spends time discovering even more places to bring to you, with her husband, Richard - still in love after all these years - as are the characters featured in her past three novels, Mac Reilly the Malibu PI and Sunny Alvarez, his lover and side kick. You have to read about them to know them! Elizabeth lives in California and has the ability to take you to all those romantic places she knows so well, Capri, Venice, Tuscany, St. Tropez, Monte Carlo, and of course, Malibu. You will feel you are there, with her, sitting on that Italian terrace, sipping that coffee, smelling the delicious food, savoring the heat and the sunshine and the mystery unfolding for you. Elizabeth is five-three and wishes she were taller, blind as a bat without her glasses that anyway she is too vain to wear, and at 128 lbs till thinking about that diet. She has one daughter, Anabelle who is married to rock musician Eric Avery and two kitties, the Siamese, Sweet Pea who rules the household, and an adorable black cat Sunny.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on July 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In Chicago, though two years have passed since her beloved husband Alex died in a car crash, Lamour Harrington still mourns her loss. Lamour sees the irony that he was the second man in her life to die in a tragic accident as her father Jonathon was killed in a boating incident off Italy's Amalfi coast. To survive she buries herself in her work as a landscape architect, but refuses to allow anyone even a dog or cat into her life because loved ones die. Only her childhood friend Jammy Mortimer pushes Lamour to join the living; her spouse Matt coaxes Jammy to tell the total truth to Lamour about Alex.

Already thinking of returning to the place she was happiest, Amalfi, Jammy's revelation is the final impetus to get her to move. Lamour travels to Italy to learn what led to her beloved artistic father's death and to recapture the magical happiness that has left her bereft. The truth may be freeing, but in spite of meeting Lorenzo Pirata and his adult son, Lamour is unsure that she wants to know the secrets of her heart and that of the HOUSE IN AMALFI.

Whether it is Tuscany, Province or now Amalfi no one serves as a better tour guide of Mediterranean Europe than Elizabeth Adler is. Readers feel they are seeing lush gardens, sharing wine or eating pizza in a remote village cafe as she paints a fabulous landscape. The characters are fully developed with Lamour severing as a terrific focus to the Amalfi tour while the support cast either provides insight into her or into the locale. Once again readers will be transported to another place by the magic of Ms. Adler.

Harriet Klausner
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By JJ on February 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book flows nicely, has beautiful imagery, and draws you along. However, Lamour (the main character) seems like a blond 12 year old rather than a grown woman of 38 years. How is it possible that she was so wrapped up in her life in Amalfi that she didn't realize that she would need to transport her chickens to her home, feed, and house them? That's like going to Home Depot and buying 10' lengths of wood to put in your Mini Cooper. My second peeve was the premise of the whole book...that she owned her fathers house in Amalfi. Did she ever hear of a deed, title, or even a will? It seems unreasonable to me that she would just assume she owned the house...had she been paying taxes on it?? Did she ever have to do anything to this house that made it clear she owned it or was she basing this all on the fact that she lived there once upon a time. If that was the case we could all own really nice houses across the country!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on February 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Elizabeth Adler brings her perfect blend of romance between man and woman and romance between reader and locale to this charming tale set on the exquisite Italian coast. I doubt anyone will finish this book without thinking several times of calling a travel agent and booking the next flight to Italy. To be in Amalfi---to shop, to eat, to view the lush landscape would be a dream anyone would dream after finishing this novel.

The only drawback to the novel is that the heroine, Lamour Harrington, is a bit of a ditz. If you can accept the fact that a woman of thirty-eight is not bright enough to know you don't automatically own a house just because you once lived there or that for all her screaming about being strong and independent she does not find true happiness until she meets her future husband, then you can let yourself enjoy this tale that is mostly light and humorous, but takes a very dark and suspenseful turn that does save it and lift it out of the mediocrity of "chic lit."

Recently widowed by a man who was leaving her for another woman, Lamour isolates herself in her Chicago apartment dreaming of better days when she was the beloved daughter of famed novelist, Jon-Boy Harrington. To pull herself out of her deepening depression, she visits Amalfi and tries to recapture the soul of the happy child she once was and uncover the mystery surrounding her father's death.

Lorenzo Pirato is the dashing owner of the estate on which Jon-Boy's home can be found. Though she instantly dislikes him, she is charmed by his son Nico and begins a flirtatious association with him. Is this going to be another case of a woman falling for both father and son? Will Lorenzo's beautiful daughter Aurora drive Lamour from her home?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jill Clardy TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Lamour Harrington, 38-year old successful landscape architect in Chicago, returns to her childhood home on the Amalfi Coast, disenchanted and looking to start over after discovering that her deceased husband had been planning to divorce her at the time of his death. She is also determined to solve the mystery of her father's accidental death in a boating accident when she was 17.

Lamour moves into the charming abandoned cottage that had held so many wonderful memories of the few brief years with her father, a carefree author, living on a shoestring but enjoying all that Italy had to offer and totally devoted to his daughter. She had always believed that his death had not been accidental, and in her searching she discovers many people who want to keep the past in the past.

She is pursued by both the rich and powerful Lorenzo, owner of the estate in which he cottage is located, and his flirtatious, sexy son Nico, but both want her to forget about the mystery of her father's death. Of course, her stubbornness won't allow her to do that, and she needs to solve the past before she can move on with her future.

The reader is invited along during this process of self-discovery as an armchair traveler and experiences the multiple charms of the mesmerizing Amalfi coast - the narrow winding "Mama Mia" road along the rocky cliffs, the startling colors of the Blue Grotto, the charms of the hedonistic Isle of Capri, the heaven-scented balmy evenings when Italians enjoy the Passegiata, the exquisite food and wine. Adler's sensuous descriptions of Italy make me want to book another trip right now! But if you can't afford a trip just now, read the book and return to Amalfi.
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