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Italian Summer (Mina's Adventures Book 3) Kindle Edition
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"Bones Don't Lie" by Melinda Leigh
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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.
The author has made Mina a refreshingly realistic young woman. Not a silly, kick-ass, one-dimensional character favored by so many publishers these days, Mina is a young woman who has yet to find her place in life. She is moderately educated, foreign to many American ways, gullible, and has a wonderful sense of the ridiculous.
Mina's humor is real plus to this traditionally written, third-person narrated, clean (cozy) murder-mystery series. Her unpredictable reactions bring a spontaneity to the story, keeping us guessing about what will happen next, and what Mina will do or say next.
I have read, and enjoyed, all three books in The Mina's Adventures Series.
Italian Summer - Book Three
The author quickly brings the reader up to speed with the events of the previous books in the series, so I would advise readers to read the books in sequence, to avoid spoilers.
Two years after then end of the previous book, Mina returns to her native Italy for a summer vacation. Not having been there, in the Veneto region, since she was sixteen, Mina must rediscover many facets of Italy's culture all over again, or for the first time, as an adult.
After her many adventures in the first two books in the series, Mina's naturally boisterous character has been subdued. She is shyer, more reserved than before, and something of a loner. Her few loyal friends in The States are often on her mind, her anchor to the tenuous life she has built for herself in America.
Mina is also painfully, dangerously insecure now. Her insecurity and inexperience with men gave me my biggest upset while reading Italian Summer. Her credulity and her un-safe sex habits had me cringing.
Small town life in northern Italy is not a good fit for Mina, a young woman who is by now more American than Italian. She goes about casually dressed, talking to strangers, accepting dates with near strangers, and not understanding even the basics like how to do her shopping.
The author gives Mina a mother-figure in Italian Summer, who is a lovely addition to the story, and who gives Mina a chance to learn a bit more about her own past.
The story is wrapped up at the end, and Mina returns to California. The next adventure for Mina Calvi is in the works, and the author hopes to have it published before the end of 2014.
See my full illustrated review at Italophile Book Reviews.
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