If there are two things that will pique my interest they are Italy and cooking. A book that combines both of them and has a historical aspect – well, I am all over that. I thank Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for sending me Catarina’s Ring by Lisa McGuinness at no charge for my honest review.
About Catarina’s Ring:
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
eBook & Paperback; 365 Pages
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Literary/Historical
The New York Times best-selling author Lisa McGuinness interweaves the stories of four generations of strong, vibrant women and has created characters both idiosyncratic and adventuresome. Born at the end of the Nineteenth Century and nestled in South Western Italy, Catarina Pensbene’s life in Perdifumo is full of sun-drenched olive orchards, lush grape vines, delicious peasant food, family and love. Because of an unexpected plunge into an untenable situation, Catarina decides to take a huge risk to become a mail order bride and sets out across the ocean.
Interwoven with Catarina’s, is the story is of her witty and self-deprecating granddaughter, Juliette Brice. Born and raised in Northern California, Juliette experiences an unfortunate tragedy that serves as the impetus for her to shake up her life, and travel to her grandmother’s homeland, where she enrolls in a six-month cooking class in Lucca, Italy. While abroad, Julliette becomes romantically involved with a handsome Italian man, yet her own destiny dictates she is to return to California once her class ends. Through her attention to detail and employing both historically accurate and thoroughly modern storytelling, Catarina’s Ring serves up Italian delicacies, luminous characters, a delicious escape and completely inspiring storytelling.
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About the Author:
Lisa McGuinness is the author of the Caffeinated Ideas Journal as well as the co-author of several children’s books including the New York Times bestseller Bee & Me and Baby Turtle’s Tale, both under the pen name Elle J. McGuinness. She is also the co-author of the Dictionary of Extraordinary Ordinary Animals. She lives in Walnut Creek, CA.
Catarina’s Ring is like many books lately – it alternates between past and present telling the stories of two members of the same family as they try and deal with whatever the particular issue presented is. I have read many a book that utilizes this conceit lately and sometimes it works better than others. It is applied fairly well but the ties that bind the two eras together are a little thin.
The Catarina of the title is the woman who drives the story in the past. She lives in a small village in Italy just before the outbreak of WWI. Little opportunity awaits her there and when a proposal from a an old family, now moved to San Francisco offers her a chance to move away from a bad employment situation and the war she takes it despite leaving everything she knows.
Her granddaughter Juliette brings the future alive with her story. When tragedy enters her life she reacts by immersing herself in a cooking class in Italy – the land of her grandmother. Juliette can quite forgive herself for what happened even though there was nothing she could have done. While in Lucca she falls in love with the city and its people.
While in Italy Juliette reads her grandmother’s letters which give her a greater insight into a woman who meant so much to her. The letters help her heal and she heads home to California ready to start her future.
This was a light, for the most gentle read. The characters come and go. The love and lose and love again. There is pain and happiness, marriage and babies. It’s a great read for the beach or while away a wintry afternoon. It won’t leave you thinking about it for days afterwards but it will keep you entertained while you are reading it.
There is a tour wide giveaway for Catarina’s Ring. Read on to learn how to enter
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
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– Only one entry per household.
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– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.