This book drew me in from the first page and was one that I couldn’t put down. It is the sort of book that is perfect if you are looking for a holiday read or simply feel like a bit of escapism.
The author sets out the story very thoughtfully and I enjoyed the way each character was introduced. You feel as if you are the fifth character in the book and are accompanying Poppy, Tricia, Valerie and Moll on a 9 day holiday to Italy. They have signed up for a cooking school in Favio and their Teacher Luca will be teaching them how to make dishes he learnt from his Grandmother when he was younger.
Poppy has had just come out of a divorce and feels ready to learn new things. Valerie is the oldest in the group and is grieving the loss of her partner. Moll is a down-to-earth single mom who tries new flavours with enthusiasm and is never far from her camera and notebook. Tricia is an attorney trying to balance a busy career and motherhood.
The trip means something different to each of the characters. From the start it is clear that this is a trip of a lifetime to Moll. For Tricia, this is something that her husband booked for her and a way to fill time and be away from her hectic life. She was the one character I didn’t warm to at all and I was pleased each time the focus moved to the other 3 ladies.
Luca and each of his students have secrets and as the story unfolds there are some surprises. Luca’s past was not expected. However readers might guess what Moll is carrying with her. I found Poppy to be a bit naïve at times – Valerie and Moll are the characters with the most substance in my opinion.
The recipes made my mouth water and I could imagine the tastes and smells – it is a beautifully descriptive book. The sights and sounds that describe the places the characters visit transport you to Italy in a second. You feel as if you are visiting the wine farms, restaurants and chocolatier with the rest of the cooking class.
There are recipes at the end – which is a bonus to those who would like to try the dishes explained in the book.
I just found I wanted more after the book had finished. I would have liked to see how things panned out for Valerie, Moll and Poppy. Tricia didn’t bring much to the story. Moll was irritated by her and I found I was too at times!
An easy and enjoyable read, I recommend it to anyone who enjoys food and travel.