Catarina Pensebene grew up in Italy's farming country. Her life was filled with olive groves, hard work, good food and a large, loving family. When Catarina is put to work as a maid for another family, she attracts the attention of the husband and is almost raped. Salvation comes in the form of a letter from the United States. A family friend is asking for Catarina's hand in marriage for their son, Franco. Catarina gains the courage to leave her home and her family in order to travel to America and marry a man she only knew in her youth. Making the best of the life she now leads, Catarina finds love with Franco and his family, she dutifully passes on her life lessons along with the ring Franco made for her to her daughter and granddaughter. Years later, Catarina's granddaughter, Juliette decides to escape to Italy after a tragedy. Juliette calls upon the strength of her grandmother to get through heartbreak and find the courage to follow her dream and open her own Italian restaurant.
Beautiful scenery and intriguing plot immersed me into both Catarina and Juliette's stories. I am a sucker for dual time stories and I loved that I knew the connection between Juliette and Catarina from the beginning, but not the full importance of the ring. I felt a strong connection to each character; I experienced the struggle of Catarina's decision as she weighed leaving her home for a new land and fiance, as well as her resolve in being happy and making love grow. Juliette's experience began in tragedy, however Italy was a wonderful place to recuperate. I was brought into the sights, smells and food as Juliette cooked her way to recovery. I enjoyed that Juliette also found solace in her Grandmother's letters, the shared experiences through time and the bond of the ring deepened their links. Overall, an emotional and enchanting story of love, lessons, loss and family.
This book was received in exchange for an honest review.