I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in order to write an honest review of the story.
Emily Price is an art restorer. She restores art that has been damaged by fire, water or that has become worn with age while harboring dreams of becoming an original artist, herself, one day. She travels to Atlanta to restore a mural in a home damaged by fire. That’s where she meets Chef Benito Vassallo, who is visiting Atlanta to reconnect with his brother and breathe new life into his aunt and uncle’s restaurant, Piccolo. Emily falls in love with Ben as she works with him to improve the appearance of Piccolo, and shocks everyone when she accepts his marriage proposal and follows him to Italy.
Once in Italy, Emily struggles to fit into Ben’s close-knit family and creates problems for some of Ben’s family members when she was only trying to help. She begins to wonder if she belongs in Italy and in Ben’s family.
The story was romantic and it was easy to be swept away on the wings of love with Emily when she spent time with Ben in Atlanta. However, when she follows Ben to Italy and struggles to fit into his tight-knit family I can relate to her feelings and I cheer for her to fight for her place in the family because she and Ben seem so right for one another. Besides, Ben’s father likes her and encourages her.
I love the relationship between Emily and Ben. It’s sweet and romantic and a little bit magical. I love the dialogues between these two.
Katherine Reay does an excellent job of showing the relationship problems in families; not just mixed cultural families. Yes, some of the issues Emily faces in Ben’s family in Italy has to do with their culture, but most of it has to do with the differences in personalities and in the things they choose to keep inside.
I also think Katherine did a lovely job of painting a picture of Italy for her readers. I loved the driving scenes.
The fact that this was a wonderfully realistic romantic story is what endears it to my heart. Ben and Emily have a deep love for one another but that does not exempt them from challenges in their relationship that could separate them.
To read the way that Katherine Reay chooses to deal with the issues that challenge Ben and Emily both startled me, bringing tears to my eyes, and gave me a warm heart and encouragement I can apply to my own relationships.
If you like romance stories, but prefer your romance more realistic and not of the “happily ever after” flavor, I encourage you to read A Portrait of Emily Price.