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Italian Summer (Mina's Adventures Book 3) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 226 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Our feckless heroine is spending the month of June in a condo in her home town of Veneto, Italy, while the professor-owner studies at USC. Mina sees it as a time to spend alone, visiting her beloved Nonna (grandmother)'s crypt, leaving flowers, and strolling the town and marveling over its changes. She is quickly befriended by Emilia, retired attorney and owner of the building, a lady who always wanted to be a divorce attorney, but because divorce was for so long not a legal option in Italy, defended gypsies instead. Mina's heartache over the failures with Brian, and mourning over Diego, continually threaten to overwhelm her, but naturally whereever Mina is, danger and deaths quickly appear. She may be naive, but this young woman is never assured of a secure and peaceful life.
Mina has returned to her grandmother’s village in Italy to a) visit with Grandma’s grave, b) to get over losing Diego, a love interest from book 2 and c) trying to reconnect with her older sister’s past after learning after Paolo’s murder that she was in fact Mina’s mother. She’s staying at a professor’s house while he’s out of town and becomes instantly friendly with the older landlady, Emilia who had been a lawyer and friend of Mina’s grandmother.
The whole mystery comes from Emilia who thinks Lordana Lanza, a former schoolmate of Mina’s murdered her brother Vittorio for the family money. It barely gets investigated in the whole book. The bulk of the book is the return of Diego, who seems to be a spy or something like it. He’s looking for a woman he’s known, Alex, whose cross Mina now has via Emilia who got it from a gypsy client. (yeah huge coincidence there).
We have tons of Mina angsting about her sister/mother’s death (understandable), whining about how neither California or Italy feels like home, whining endlessly about how much she loves Diego but can’t handle his job what keeps taking him away from her, and Mina’s ridiculous level of jealousy as she leaps to conclusions about what Alex means to Diego the moment she learns Alex is female. She’s even jealous of Emilia and mistrustful on one page and friendly on the other (to the point both she and Emilia comment on it).
I liked Emilia and her cat, Fufa. I wish I could say this truly had an Italian feel but other than the Italian phrases, I wouldn’t have known I was meant to be in Italy. It fails to set that scene. Maybe I felt let down because I am not a fan of romantic suspense and you can’t call it a mystery when there’s no investigation and the killer is exactly who you were told it was from the moment it was first mentioned.
This book reminds me of some of the old New England Azorean Portugese descendants I knew when I was young. The stories they would tell! So dramatic. And buried in that tale would be a nugget of truth. However, it would take forever to get there....
This is the third in this series, and the author may assume you have read the other two( I have not although I have read other books by Maria Grazia Swan). We watch a young woman who has no family left, has broken an engagement, and given up her condo so needs to return to the US and regroup to see where her life goes now. The family now has a different view, and with all of this drama, a trip back to her childhood home may allow for new understandings.
There is a wonderful description of Mina's stroll through her town, and how abruptly things change from cobblestone to asphalt, from her old town to the part of town aimed at young GIs and the things they buy/need.
If you have lived small town life, you understand the situation. Even the author says this when she has the old woman who reconnects with Mina tell her there is no need for a local newspaper when everyone is connected in some way and news, gossip and rumors abound. This woman has known Mina's family for at least three generations. She knows the stories both real and fabricated, and Mina uses her as a sounding board as well as a touchstone as the history Emilia is studying dovetails into a situation Mina runs into.
Will she find what she is looking for? Will you find what you are looking for? Read Italian Summer and see. I'm looking forward to finding the other two
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