Cover Image: The Temptation of Gracie

The Temptation of Gracie

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Member Reviews

A fascinating and heart-rending read that kept me flipping pages well into the night. The characters were lovable and the plot was fast-paced. I really enjoyed reading this book.
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Gracie, a 60-something widow, ventures to the Tuscan countryside for a weeklong cooking course at castle Castello Montefosco. She’s joined by her London businesswoman daughter, Carina and her distant teenage granddaughter, Anastasia.  Slowly as the week progresses, Gracie begins to tell her granddaughter the story of Castello Montefosco. Carina and Anastasia learn that Gracie has lived in Italy years ago and worked under Gracie’s uncle, a famous art restorer and collector. 

This book is beautifully written. I felt like I was in Tuscany while reading this book. It was an easy summer read. One thing I didn’t like about this book was the side story about Flappy and the Devon community. I found that it didn’t really add to the story and kind of distracted the main focus.
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A nice escapist read for those who need some time basking in the Tuscan sun. 

The Good;
The relationships between Gracie, her granddaughter Anastasia and her daughter Carina. It was a pleasure to watch these three women learn to communicate, commiserate and grow in their love and respect for one another.

The story was rolled out slowly but in such a way that the reader was pulled into Gracie's life, a life she kept secret from her family for over forty years.

The setting of course. Tuscany and Italian cooking. Always appealing.

The Bad;
The story is predictable. Think Hallmark movie predictable.

Some of the attitudes toward self image felt archaic. . The old, “you are plain- looking so be happy if you find anyone to marry” attitude dated the book back almost a century. There were scenes and moments of dialogue that were beyond eye rolling. The same dated attitudes were mentioned frequently. It was annoying and interrupted the flow of the story. 

The Worst;
Every scene in Badley Compton and every moment with Flappy Scott-Booth. Meant as comic relief, comes across as painful unnecessary filler. 

The story of Gracie and her interactions with her Uncle and the Count almost make up for the predictability of the plot. A nice beach read. 

ARC received from publisher via NetGalley for review
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I hoped to love this book so much but ... I struggled. I read it for 8 weeks! I didn’t want to come back to it. I read about 10 more books in those 8 weeks just as a excuse not to get back to Gracie ‘s story. 

I was all too predictable, too cliche. It is not a historical fiction (that the story is told in 2016 and 1953 doesn’t put it into historical fiction genre), it pure romance. I can see why others enjoyed it so much, I expected something different from its description, so I felt disappointed. 

The only thing I enjoyed it was how Italy became whole new character in the story. I loved reading about the castle, the garden, the cooking ... It made me earn Italian summer, wine and pasta somewhere on the coast.

Thank you Netgalley  and Simon &  Schuster Canada for this e-ARC in return of my honest review.
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This is a great book to start off the summer. It is set in beautiful Tuscany. I feel like I have been there after reading this book!

I loved the mystery of this story. Gracie lived a secret life in her youth, which she has always kept from her family. Her mysterious past slowly unraveled throughout the story. There were huge revelations in the last couple of chapters, so even when you think it’s finished, there is more to learn.

There was a lot of symmetry in this story. Gracie’s life in Italy is slightly reflected in the experiences her granddaughter has on their trip. I love it when books are mirrored in this way.

The only part that I found a little strange was the way the story sometimes returned to the town where Gracie lives in Devon. The story only returned there a couple of times, and I didn’t see any connection to the main plot about Gracie. This may have been changed in the final edition.

I really enjoyed this new historical novel!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Good beach read, the right amount of romance and character development. In the first chapter the main character is describing her face and says "time has sucked the juice from her skin" which was odd wording, fortunately that was the only part that pulled me out of the story. I also found it odd that some chapters were dedicated to Flappy, who I could not care less about. 
I had heard from a few people that Santa Montefiore is absolutely amazing. This book may not be her best work (only one I've read so cant compare) but I'm not opposed to reading more from this author.
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The Temptation of Gracie by Santa Montefiore takes the reader to Castello Montefosco in Tuscany for a week of cooking lessons and delectable food and wine in one of the world's most beautiful corners. Gracie, a widow in her sixties living an ordinary life in Devon, suddenly decides to spend time in Italy. Her daughter Carina, not wanting her mother to travel alone, joins her and brings along her teenage daughter Anastasia. Both younger women are not close to Gracie or each other and the trip begins on a strained note. But the magic of Tuscany soon thaws the chill in their relationships. They find out that Gracie had lived in the area for fifteen years in her youth when she was an apprentice to her uncle, an art restorer. It has been over forty years since Gracie's stay there and Carina and Anastasia discover that she had met and left behind the love of her life. Romance novels are usually not my reading preference but I found this one well-written and entertaining. The characters are interesting and the story flows well. I would recommend it as a cottage or beach read. Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a love story and a story about family, told with a sense of humour.  Set mostly in Tuscany in two different time periods, it would be a perfect vacation read...but be prepared to want to plan an Italian cooking school vacation for your next trip.
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This is the first Santa Montifiore novel that I have read and I now understand why her books are so popular. The covers are eye-catching and the plot lines are captivating. In The Temptation of Gracie, Gracie travels to Italy with her daughter and granddaughter whom she has not had a close relationship with. The magic of their surroundings brings the three women closer and Gracie reveals that this is not her first trip to Italy. As her story unfolded I didn’t want to put the book down. I needed to find out what happened and what Gracie was going to do now that she had returned. This was a great story and I give it 4/5 stars.
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Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for an advance copy of The Temptation of Gracie in exchange for an honest review.

Gracie Burton sees an article in a magazine regarding a week long cooking course at Castello Montefosco in Tuscany and decides right then that she is going to go. Her friends and daughter have other ideas about her travelling to another country all by herself. They all try to talk her out of it. When this fails, Gracie's daughter, Carina decides that she and her daughter, Anastasia, will go to Italy with her mother. Carina and Anastasia have no clue as to the secrets that Gracie has held protectively to herself, no one does.
During their week at the castle Carina learns to relax and to live in the moment, Anastasia learns a lesson in love and betrayal and Gracie remembers her time as a young woman in this beautiful countryside. As the sunny Tuscan countryside works it's magic on the three women, Gracie slowly reveals her secret past life and the heartbreak it caused her. 

I was sent an email prompting me to request this book from NetGalley and when I first read the excerpt I really didn't think this would be my cup of tea. I took a second look and decided why not, I'll give it a try. I'm so glad I did because if I had of passed this one by I would have been missing out on a wonderful story that has me still thinking about the characters and how much I miss them now that the story is over. This book is so wonderfully told and engaging that I started looking up vacation packages to Tuscany The characters so well fleshed out that I feel like I have made new friends that I experienced  a magical holiday with.
This is a great book to read sitting in your garden with a glass of wine imagining yourself laughing alongside Gracie, Carina and Anastasia.
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Good book .  I did like the story but I don't think i would ever read it again.  

I have recommended it to someone whom I know will love it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars
Romance, art, food and memories
April 15, 2019
Format: Hardcover
What a lovely book! The Temptation of Gracie is rich with details of Gracie's secret past life as an artist in Tuscany, a life totally unknown by her daughter and granddaughter. Then, now widowed, Gracie return to Tuscany to a cooking school, along with her workaholic daughter and boarding-school granddaughter. The story of the blossoming of each of the 3 women and the resolution of Gracie's past life's challenges make for a wonderful escapist read. This is the first book I have read by this author, but it will certainly not be the last. Wonderful book!
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A contemporary mother daughter novel that largely takes place in Italy and explores lost loves and second chances. Widow Gracie Burton manages to send her entire British village into a tailspin when gossip swirls that she is heading to Italy- ALONE. Feeling the desire to intervene, a gossipy neighbor alerts Gracie's grown daughter to her mother's unsafe plans. At first, Carina, cannot see the point of taking time away from her busy work schedule to figure out her secretive mother. But when her husband points out that Carina doesn't have any type of relationship with their teenage daughter, Carina decides they are heading to Italy. During this week long journey, over food and sunshine filled days, Gracie will reveal to her daughter and granddaughter a tale of love and loss. 

Although there were some predictable points in the storyline, I felt that there was enough material in the story to keep me interested. The relationship between Gracie and her granddaughter, Anastasia was beautifully written and made me miss my maternal grandmother very much. As well, just like so many other books set in Italy- I finished this book very hungry. As well, I will always remember that garlic and onion divorced and that is why we don't cook them together. Haha!

 Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Shuster UK for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Review 14/04/19
Publication Date: 16/04/19
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Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author, Santa Montefiore for the opportunity to read another of her exquisite novels, in return for a review based on my honest opinion. 

I have read a few books by this author and every time I read one, I think it is my favourite until the next book comes along, but this, I am sure is my favourite. It was wonderful and heartwarming, mysterious and entrancing, the characters, the scenery, the story, the food, I don’t know what I loved more. 

Gracie has lived a simple life, a simple,boring life, but one day at her usual hair appointment, she sees a magazine ad about a castle in Italy that has been opened to the public and she decides to go for a week long cooking class there, her friends think she has lost it, how can plain old Gracie do such a thing? Her daughter, Carina, who is more interested in work then her morther, her daughter or her husband thinks her mother has lost it. Carina’s husband plants a seed about her going with her mother and then she wakes up and decides that her and Anastasia, her daughter should accompany Gracie to Italy. Gracie is shocked but pleased. When they arrive in Italy, we, the readers discover that Gracie has been to Italy before, and not just Italy, but Castle  Montefosco before.  From this point the story is told in the past and present as we find out Gracie’s past and enjoy the present and the three generations as they grow and reconnect and discover how much they are alike. Gracies story is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. A tragic hidden past that she has told no one about for over forty years., of a life and a love she had to leave behind. 

The characters in the story were all so well written and not one of them felt unnecessary, I would have loved to be sitting out with them enjoying the sun and the scenery, it felt like I could almost smell the flowers.  What a wonderful story that has left me satisfied and content, yet  longing to travel to Italy, to learn to cook from Mamma and enjoy the hospitality of the Castle.
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This was my first read by Santa Montefiore, it was a lovely novel. Set in a scenic Tuscan countryside Villa following the journey of three generations of the Burton’s. Gracie Burton is the grandmother who stumbles upon an advertisement for a cookery course at the Villa, her daughter and grand-daughter also join her (Carina high-powered business woman and Anastasia troubled teen). Over the course of the week the secrets that Gracie hasn’t shared in 40 years start to come out and it is amazing. She’s been running away from something that changed her life. You must read it. It will also make you want to travel to Tuscany right away.
It was a perfect read for a Saturday afternoon with Chewy by my side. I give this novel 4.5/5 stars. There was one character “Flappy” who I very much did not like, that is the point of her…. But I thought she didn’t add to the meaning of the story or character development. I feel that it would have been a perfect 5/5 stars without this character that is only in 4 chapters. But the novel is over-all very well written and the character development for Gracie is heart-breaking and wonderful.
4/5 Stars.
Novel is out in Canada on April 16th, 2019 so make sure to go pick up your copy. It’s a must read.
Thank you to Netgalley and Santa Montefiore for the ARC for a honest review. I’m grateful that I was able to fall in love with this beauitful story.
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This is my first Santa Montefiore book, I am a grandmother, I love art and photography and I recently traveled through Italy spending precious time in Ravello. These elements drew me to The Temptation of Gracie. What an enjoyable read as The Temptation of Gracie is a classic, timeless tale of romance, a story of compelling & complex women through three generations on a cooking holiday in Tuscany. The character’s personal priorities, demands and judgments including a believable plot, a rigorous history and a dash of amusing annoyances------- are ingredients in a remarkable recipe for an engrossing yet fun relationship novel. 
I do not believe this book should be reiterated fully in a review; read it and get the full enjoyment as I did.
My thanks to the publisher & NetGalley for the advance reader copy.
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Loved this book!  It hits the mark on all fronts:  characters, setting and story line.  It's hard to believe that grandmother Gracie has a secret past; her life seems so ordinary.  As her secrets come to the surface, they serve to bring her into a closer relationship with her daughter and granddaughter.
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In The Temptation of Gracie, Santa Montefiore provides readers with vivid descriptions of Tuscany woven around a story of lost love, family and long-held secrets. The story centres around Gracie, an older woman who plans a trip to Tuscany to confront her past as well as heal the fractured relationship with her daughter and connect with the granddaughter she barely knows.

Initially, I was enticed by the plot and the beautiful setting. Who doesn't love Italy? The descriptions bring readers into the culture, food and vistas of Italy and I enjoyed the addition of the art restoration story line as well as the familial issues that were raised. But I know I would have enjoyed it more if the characters and issues had more depth. A lot happens but not in a lot of depth unfortunately. I also would have preferred if the story had stayed more in Gracie's past (the more interesting story line) and omitted the short, distracting and superfluous bits about Gracie's modern-day small-town busybody neighbour Flappy (yes, Flappy) entirely. 

This is my second Montefiore book and while it has a good premise, it was too light and predictable for my tastes. But if you're looking for a lighter Historical Fiction read, set in the beauty of Italy with some familial tensions and issues that resolve nicely, I think you'll enjoy this book.

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Simon and Schuster UK for my advanced copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.
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Gracie encounters an advertisement in a magazine, announcing that Castle Montefosco, in Tuscany, is currently open to the public. Strangers can come and stay for a few days and learn how to cook authentic Italian food. Although everyone knows Gracie as someone who hates leaving the comfort of her small town in England, she makes the seemingly crazy decision to travel to Italy.

Okay. Let me say that I don't generally enjoy romance novels: novels dealing heavily with romance, or contemporary novels that are sort of unrealistic but whimsical. 

But I freaking LOVED this book. 

From the very beginning, I was absolutely in love with the portrayal of Gracie's social "club" friends in her community. There's a woman named Flappy who takes it upon herself to know everything about everyone first, and gives off the illusion that she is fluent in multiple languages, worldly, and well-read—none of which is remotely true. I loved the casual snarkiness of the narration that pokes fun at her and other women in their club. Even when the story shifts to Italy, there are occasional chapters that return to Flappy and her antics at trying to organize a funeral for a man in the community. These could have felt out of place and unnecessary, but I absolutely loved them.

Next, there was the relationship between Gracie, her daughter (Carina), and grand-daughter (Anastasia). This is a story about three generations of women. Carina is a rather uptight businesswoman who's married to her job, leaving her little time for her mother, husband, or daughter. Understandably, Anastasia has some resentment toward Carina, preferring the company of her father or cell phone instead. There is obvious tension between the women at the beginning of the novel but when Carina decides to join Gracie for the trip to Italy, and Anastasia comes along, things slowly start to change. I adored their changing relationship and character arcs in general, especially Anastasia's.

I also loved the eventual flashback chapters to Gracie's life almost 30 years previous—when she *gasp* lived in Tuscany for about ten years. Readers learn about her secret life and the reason she has decided to return to Tuscany after so many years. I personally loved her secrets and her relationship with her uncle, Hans, and with Tancredi. 

Maybe the novel was a bit predictable in some regards, but it didn't honestly spoil the experience for me. I was *rooting* for my predictions to come true, expecting they would, but hoping they'd come faster.

Overall, this was an excellent mix of historical and contemporary, with humour mixed in, as well as sweet and heartbreaking love and romances. Highly recommend!
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Tuscany is what led me to this novel, and the story that takes place mostly in Tuscany is what kept me there.

Several years ago I was intrigued by Santa Montefiore’s first three novels, which I have never read as they never became available to me in sequence. This is Santa Montefiore’s newest novel, and my first reading of her work.

The Temptation of Gracie is romantic – in the broadest sense of the word – although there is definitely romance in it as well. Mostly, it is about love – between men and women; between uncles, nieces, and nephews; between fathers and children; between mothers, daughters, and grand-daughters.

Gracie is in her late sixties and has been a widow for almost ten years. While she is at her hairdresser’s she sees a photograph of a place she knew well at one point in her life – a time of her life that she has kept secret for more than 40 years. Something compels her to return and in the process of making her plans, Gracie’s estranged daughter and grand-daughter get involved and her solitary journey becomes a threesome.

It is obvious throughout this novel that Santa Montefiore spent time in Tuscany herself. The romantic and vivid ambience is described so well I felt that that I was there and drinking it all in. The story is tastefully written (and I’m not just talking about the food) and vibrant in sound, colour, and taste – a true feast for the senses.

There were a few twists in the story that I did not anticipate, although anticipating outcomes and being right about them is fun, it is a real delight to me when they are unexpected.

Thanks to my pleasurable reading experience with this novel, someday I am definitely going to read more of Santa Montefiore’s works.

With gratitude to Simon & Schuster Canada, Simon & Schuster UK, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an ARC of this novel, and to the author, thank you Santa Montefiore. Its publication date is April 16, 2019.
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