Do you know what every summer needs? A bit of romance. In the form of a book, of course. I have an absolutely great recommendation for you today, one that will melt your heart.
That Summer in Puglia by Valeria Vescina is narrated by Tomasso who has been located by a private investigator thirty years after leaving Puglia. Tomasso asks PI Will to pretend he never found him, which prompts Tomasso to recount his life story, including that one fateful summer that led to a great love and a great loss.
This is a stunningly beautiful story, made even more wonderful by having Tomasso as the narrator. The parts where he speaks to PI Will directly make Tomasso so real and ultimately set him up as a likeable character, a character whom the reader worries about and wants the best for. There are other characters in this book but none who are at the forefront like Tomasso. That is ok; it is his story after all.
The other character I cared about was Tomasso’s girlfriend, Anna. I really liked Anna because she was in some ways like me: brought up with a religious background, studious and cautious. She also brings out another side to Tomasso, due to their differences in lifestyle and religion.
Much of Tomasso’s story is about his relationship with Anna and it has all the elements of a true love story. In my opinion, this book is a cross between The Notebook (for the deep love between Tomasso and Anna) and Forrest Gump (because of the way Tomasso tells his story).
At the same time, That Summer in Puglia is more than just a story about a relationship between a man and a woman. It is also about family and we soon learn that Tomasso’s relationship with his parents shaped him as much as his relationship with Anna did.
Yet still, this book offers more. The attention to detail is exquisite and there were times I felt I was in Puglia myself. Italy is one of my favourite countries and to have such a beautiful destination as Puglia brought to life was an absolute thrill for me. However, the real icing on the cake is the raw emotion felt throughout the entire story. I cried, I rejoiced, I held my breath – and they are just some of the ways That Summer in Puglia hit me. I think it is hard to affect a reader like that so hats off to Valeria Vescina for doing so.
Overall, I just can’t fault this book. Every page was a pleasure to read. Pick it up as your summer read. You won’t be disappointed.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.