Cover Image: Italy Ever After

Italy Ever After

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Do you know, I’ve rarely come across an opening chapter that filled me with such rage. When Lou meets with her husband – they’re now estranged, and she needs his permission to take her talented violinist daughter Edie on a music camp at Lake Garda – he casually presents her with the divorce papers, questions her motives for being one of the parents going on the trip as a “helper”, has the audacity to berate her for being “ordinary and talentless”, and ends the meeting with his usual kiss on the cheek.

I was fuming, and it told me everything I needed to know about both characters – particularly the way such constant criticism and belittling must have made her feel about herself, and I was immediately firmly in her corner. And when neither he nor his ballet dancer girlfriend turn up for Edie’s important concert before the trip departs, I was ready to run him through – what a thoroughly obnoxious (but entirely believable) character, and it’s sadly not the last time we see him.

Getting to know Lou better, you discover that while she may have had the stuffing totally knocked out of her by her marriage, doubting herself at every turn, she’s a character you soon grow to love. She’s a great mother, nurturing her daughter’s special talent (while her father sees it as an “obsession” she should move on from): and she has a wonderful self-deprecating sense of humour, coupled with a tendency to speak her thoughts before putting her brain in gear, that only makes you love her more.

I’ll admit that I was slightly worried about the way the story would unfold when I saw it was about a music camp – I thought the focus might be on the children, and that would have been something I might not have enjoyed as much. But other than a nice focus on the relationship between Lou and Edie, it doesn’t – it’s far more about Lou’s personal growth and development, her search for a “talent”, and her developing relationship with Edie’s quite wonderful music teacher Nick, all against the backdrop of Lake Garda and the build up to the final concert at La Scala in Milan.

The setting is vividly and beautifully drawn (yes, another destination added to my bucket list) – and I loved the music theme that runs through the whole story, all the emotions attached to it, the lows when performances don’t go as well as they should (and the fear of failure), the exhilaration at every small triumph. And I equally loved Lou’s search for her talent, filling her days with workshops making perfume (that’s one that went particularly badly), cheese, jewellery, the perfect satchel – and her disastrous (and very funny) attempt at stand-up paddle boarding.

But perhaps the element I enjoyed the most was the extraordinary chemistry between Lou and Nick. As well as being the most wonderful teacher, with a warmth and caring approach to his students bringing out their best and drawing it out through their performances, he has a special musical talent of his own that he hides from others because of his own personal demons. They’re two damaged people who are clearly meant to be together – and I absolutely loved the way the author managed their slowly developing relationship. The dialogue is just superb – they feel their way towards each other, light exchanges filled with humour but with a subtext that you can really feel, and I so wanted to push them together so that they could help each other heal. The book’s emotional climax is totally glorious – yes, there were tears – with the emotional impact of that final concert with all its many undercurrents, and the uncertainty as to whether there will be a happy ending for both Lou and Nick or whether they might depart in separate directions.

I so loved the romance (you can tell, can’t you?!) but I also really enjoyed Lou’s difficult journey towards increased self esteem and happiness, her growing understanding that she really is good enough and far better than her toxic husband has always made her feel. And I also loved Nick’s journey, his passion for music, his torment as he strives to overcome his deep-seated fears and reach his own state of contentment.

I’d expected this book to be a light romance with a well-drawn Italian Lakes backdrop, and I knew there would be music – but it was so much more than that, it entirely engaged my heart. Very highly recommended – and Leonie Mack most definitely added to my list of “must read” authors.
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Almost from the start, I realised that there were some complicated characters to be found in this book. It really is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Lou certainly has some serious self-esteem issues but she is always likeable and you can see that the Lou others see is not the one she thinks she is. Phil, her ex-husband, likes to belittle people to bolster up his own view of himself. I certainly began to dislike him pretty quickly - Mr Romano on the other hand...

Nick Romano has to be the most complicated of everybody. It is no surprise to discover what has led him to be as he is but he has a sensitivity which makes him the pole opposite of Phil. Both Nick and Lou have to come to terms with what they want from their future and their journey is plotted with style. With a stunning setting in the Italian lakes, you sink into the story and breathe in the sights and sounds of Italy. What a great holiday read it would be. This is a delicious read.

In short: Escape to the Italian lakes
Thanks to the author for a copy of the book
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Italy Ever After was such a cute romance and it takes you on the most amazing trip to Italy, which we all need right now! 

I absolutely loved the dynamic of this romance. It is not totally typical - it follows a recently single mom who wants the best for her daughter so she volunteers to chaperone a school trip to Italy! During their time in Italy an unexpected romance sparks for mom and its just the cutest thing ever. 

I loved the characters! I will say that at times I felt the communication between characters was not great and made me feel a little annoyed but overall, the characters were likable and fun to read about!

The setting was beautiful. I mean, its Italy, so its one of the best possible settings for a romance! 

If you enjoy a fluffy romance and a happy ending - read this one!
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A lot has happened in the past few years and I have come to realize and appreciate those contemporary books that allow me to travel to another (REAL) country/place. This romance takes me to a country that has been in my bucket list since I was 12 and I met some friends that were from Italy, during a summer camp.

"Italy Ever After" as the perfect elements for a Saturday afternoon read, one of those stories that we grab, relax and just enjoy a romance journey. It also had that warmth that calls to be read during the summer, and you probably know what I will do: reread this Italian set romance, at the beach in Portugal. How perfect could it be?

We have characters that aren't perfect at all and that just made me happy because it felt real, I could understand the characters and their actions, goals, likes/dislikes and fears. From Lou and her daughter Edie, to Nick... From the interactions, to the growth...

Funny enough, I'm kind of hoping that one day in the future, the author will write Edie's story. She definitely has potential to be a star of a book. Plus, she was so cute and I want to see how her growth will continue throughout her life. But that's just me, the reader that loves to see all the amazing characters happy and romance in their lives.

It was fantastic that this book was set in Italy during a summer camp, this one a music camp, and although I'm a music expert, I did enjoy the setting and that camp element. And I kind of could relate since I have done a summer camp in another country. And that's why I was curious, part of me felt that connection immediately, and the other part of me wondered about the romance and the exciting of meting new people.

Overall, I enjoyed this story a lot. Stories set in Italy always have a magical touch to me. I really can't wait to see were the author will take me next in her other novels (the one she has already published, and all of those that are yet to arrive).

[I want to thank Rachel, at Rachel’s Random Resources, and Leonie Mack for the eCopy of this book and for allowing me to join in the fun and being a part of the blog tour with my honest review of the book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.]
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Such a cute getaway read. Italy is on my bucket list and now the Lake Garda region is part of that Italy bucket list! A great romance read that ends with a HEA and an epilogue. 

Louise is still dealing with her recent divorce and how best to co-parent and make sure her daughter’s needs and all her needs are met. While her daughter, Edie is keen to continue her music education, Louise is thoroughly engrossed in the eye candy that is Edie’s music professor, Mr. Romano. 

Nick Romano had a bright music future but stage fright can be unbearable. Since he has decided to help shape other’s futures he has been able to hide his stage fright while helping others discover their potential. He knows Edie will do great things but it’s her mother that has captured his interest. 

This was a new to me author but I am now interested in more of her works. I enjoyed not only learning some of the region but the banter and chemistry between the main characters was palpable. I can’t wait to read more of her work.
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Look at that gorgeous cover! With travel restrictions still in place, traveling through books is second best and going back to Italy is always a pleasure. Being sold already by the cover and the title I decided to go in blind and I not only found a cute romance story but a tale of self discovery.

Lou and Nick were both likeable characters but I found them a bit frustrating at times. They were both trapped in their own insecurities, doubting themselves, unable to see themselves through each other’s eyes. I find it a bit annoying when a character keeps putting themselves down, unaware of all their worth even when all those around them keep telling them different. Lou, please, do not listen to that prick of an ex husband you have and stop being your inner saboteur! In the words of RuPaul, if you can’t love yourself how in the hell you’re gonna love somebody else?

Lou and Nick’s interactions were always sweet but they seemed to have the same conversation over and over again. If I had been there I would have given them a slap on the head while telling them to wake up.

The setting was absolutely gorgeous. The descriptive writing really took to life Lake Garda and all the Italian villages. I wouldn’t mind doing paddleboard in the lake or hike through those mountains (even to the top!).

When I read a book set in Italy I always know there will come a time where they’ll discuss food and my mouth will water. This was not the exception and every time they mentioned pizza or Nonna’s raviolis my stomach grumbled.

A small critique would be that Edie sounded much older than 11 yo (it might have been a while since I was around 11 yo children but I don’t remember them being so adult-ish). On the other hand it was great seeing her commitment to music even being so young.

The lake, the music, the food and a cute love story made of Italy ever after the perfect escapist read.

Thanks to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Lou, who is recently divorced, is presented with the opportunity to chaperone her daughters orchestra trip to Italy. As Lou’s daughter and her classmates rehearse for their big performance, Lou finds herself taking a long hard look at her own life. What she needs is to find a talent of her own to nurture, and where better to start pursuing this than in beautiful Italy.

Lou quickly finds herself captivated by Italy’s beautiful landscapes and the food is delicious – but Lou’s attention is quickly dragged away by Mr Romano, her daughters music teacher. The more time that she spends with the gorgeous Mr Romano, the more she finds herself becoming quite enamoured with him. Now Lou finds herself battling her own mind – can she really put herself out there and risk her heart getting broken again? and is she able to pursue her own happiness whilst being a good mother?.

This is such a beautiful story that emphasises the difficult journey Lou faces to move forward with her life following a difficult divorce. Her dedication to her daughter’s happiness, and the ways in which she shelters her from the fall out of her broken marriage is admirable and really warms your heart. I loved following the growth of this character as the book progressed and she slowly began to regain her confidence and flare for life.

The romance between Lou and Nick (Mr Romano) was a lovely, captivating slow burner that really reels you in and has you fully invested in both characters finding happiness once more. Although this blossoming romance is of course a big part of this story, the author does an an incredible job of mixing it in with a variety of relatable themes that many of us may have faced ourselves.

A truly gorgeous, heart warming read that I found impossible to part with. Full of vibrant characters and an enchanting setting, this book has everything you could possibly want from a rom-com.
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I loved visiting the stunning sights of Italy during this story, I have travelled all over the world through reading and it remains one of favourite destinations.

Lou is a wonderful character who lacks in self belief and has been left damaged following her marriage to Edie's Dad. As Edie prepares to go to music summer camp in Italy for the summer, Lou starts to work on getting her own life back on track.

Little does she know that love appears in the most unexpected places. I flew through this book loving the growing friendship between Lou and Nick, both have lots of personal hang ups and in this story we watch them start to unravel them and find a way forward.

A wonderful story that will make you laugh and tear up a few times, set in a stunning location. Grab yourself a copy and find a chair in the sunshine as once you start you won't want to put it down.
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A heart warming tale of soul searching, believing in yourself and acceptance. This Italian based story will have you hankering after a holiday in the sun. Leonie Mack transports us to gorgeous Italy with fantastic descriptions of the food, scenery, language, and culture.

It was really interesting to see how the relationships between the characters changed over the course of the book; whether that was Lou’s relationship with her ex-husband, with music teacher Nick, or whether it was Nick’s relationship with music.

Lou did bother me – I just wanted to stop her searching endlessly for a talent, her self-confidence and belief is at a low and understandably so, but as a character that seemed interesting and engaging, I was a little annoyed she couldn’t see all the qualities everyone else could or take their compliments!

Nick clearly has his own issues, with talent in abundance, his own past demons still play a role in his lack of self-worth and often he seemed grumpy or hot headed. A catalogue of miscommunication and misunderstandings often get in the way of him and Lou throughout the duration of their stay in Italy resulting in Lou having to take extreme action to make her point.

An interesting story, with lovely characters, some fun and laughter as well as fantastic descriptions.

Highly recommend for a summer read.
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A beautiful story about finding your path after being in someone’s shadow for so long. Lou lost herself in her marriage and always took a back seat, her courage at trying new things was lovely to read. Watching her friendship and eventually romance blossom with Nick was wonderful to read. I love the authors writing style with the beautiful descriptions which made you feel like you were really in Italy by the lake. Absolutely a place I now would love to visit. Recommended for an escape from reality and a perfect summer beach read.
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This was such a heartwarming romance and the perfect read for COVID. 

Lou, a recent divorcee, gets the opportunity to help chaperone her daughter's orchestra trip to Italy with her classmates. Rocked by the divorce and desperate to find herself again, Lou decides that she must find a talent. As Lou's daughter and her classmates rehearse for the big competition, Lou is captivated by Italy's landscape, food and her daughter's music teacher. The more time she spends with the hunky Mr. Romano, it gets harder for her to ignore their growing attraction. But can she balance being a mom and also put herself back out there? Does being a mom mean that she can't find happiness of her own? 

This is a wonderful coming of age story about a woman trying to navigate her new life and regain her confidence. While it's a love-story, the author does a great job touching on some relatable themes in a way that made you feel more invested in the characters' arcs. In addition to building the chemistry between Mr. Romano and Lou, the author does a great job of making you laugh and smile. I honestly couldn't put the book down because I wanted to know what happened next. 

If you're looking for a fun book that will give you all the feels, then I highly recommend this book!

Thank you NetGalley, Boldwood Books and author Leonie Mack, for allowing me to have a free arc of this book.  All opinions and thoughts are my own!
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A simple but endearing story about love and romance in the sun; a second chance after a break up, set in the most idyllic location. A story that fulfils your needs for love and romance, based in the most exclusive, radiant location. What’s not to enjoy! 

This story starts with Lou trying to persuade her ex, Phil, to give his permission (and to pay) for their Daughter to go to an elite three week music camp in Italy during the summer holidays. He reluctantly agrees in the end and Lou prepares to go too, as Edie’s chaperone. Lou is at first excited at the thought of going away. However, facing three weeks away from home, ostensibly by herself, in a foreign country, and having been described by her Ex Husband on more than one occasion as ‘ordinary and talentless’, reality sinks in and Lou decides to ‘try and find a talent’ while she is away! Surely this wacky decision is destined to end in tears for Lou and laughter for us, the reader?

Nick Romano, Edie’s music teacher comes onto the scene, causing immediate sexual chemistry alarms to sound in my head! Nick is gorgeous and Lou seems to concur. Can they keep their hands off each other, whilst away together for three weeks, especially seeing as this a school trip? Surely any sexual liaison between the two of them, would be deemed most inappropriate, whilst in charge of a hoard of minors! There is little doubt of one thing for certain – that Lou’s attraction towards Nick (or Nico, as he seems to be known, to his Italian family) is undoubtedly reciprocated, whether or not either of them actually realise it at first!

Lou tries various activities, in search of her elusive talent, including perfume making, and cheese making, but one can’t help but wonder whether she should be looking closer to home, to find an existing talent.

Will Lou find her happy ever after with Nick and will she discover her hidden talent? I’m not going to spoil this for you, so read for yourself to find out!
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Escapist Armchair Travel....
Head off to Italy, for some escapist armchair travel, with this sunny romcom. Warm and nicely written with a colourful cast of characters, an engaging storyline and the beautiful setting of Lake Garda.
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From their beautiful book covers and interesting book summary, I for sure thought this book was going to be amazing. It had potential but it lack so much depth between the characters. I really thought Lou was going to take it slow and rediscover herself. But no, she gets involve with her daughter music teachers and keeps complaining about the age gap. It’s not a big one, just five years. It’s not scandalous. Lou just needs to calm down a bit and focus on her. I truly wish she did before pursuing a relationship or fling.
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Fancy a trip to Italy? This is the book for you. Leonie Mack does well to describe a beautiful setting in Italy so you'll feel like you're exploring Lake Garda yourself. Italy Ever After is a romantic read that's a bit different from the rest. The main characters are learning to love again, not only with each other but also themselves. Alongside this is a story of self discovery through music which was a lovely addition.
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I used to spend my summer holidays on Garda Lake and I was glad to travel there again as the author does an excellent job in describing the places and the atmosphere.
This a heartwarming and entertaining read, a good escapist read.
The characters are fleshed out and the plot flows.
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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This is a perfect heartwarming read which has provided a great escape. I love how this has been written and cannot wait to read more by this author.
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Thank you NetGalley, author Leonie Mack, and Boldwood Books for giving me a free arc of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
4.5 stars
This book was such a wonderful heartwarming summer romance! The author did a great job whisking the reader away to Lake Garda, Italy, by using descriptive language that captured the food, landscape, culture and music as the reader follows a recently divorcee capture the heart of her daughter's music teacher. The story showed how the dynamics of relationship change and evolve, or devolve, over time. The writing and the pacing made this book a very quick read that held my interest until he very end! Lou was a very realistic character. I found myself feeling sorry for her at times throughout the book. All she wanted was for her ex husband to be support of their daughter's musical interests. Lou seemed to have a lack of self worth due to her perceived lack of acknowledged talent, so she spends a lot of the story trying out all kinds of different activities during their time in Italy in order to find what she is good at. Nick was also a very endearing character. He also had some struggles with self confidence when it came to his own musical abilities in front of others. But he was able to encourage others and brought out the best performances out of his students. I was really invested in their relationship. Both came from different walks of life, but both find something in the other that they lacked. I loved how supportive Nick was towards not only Lou, but also her daughter Edi! I would have liked him to embrace his talent a little more, but I understood why he could not. Their romantic connections in Italy had a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. I especially liked how close Nick and Greta were! I also enjoyed seeing Lou grow and finally stand up to her ex! The ending was so cute and very satisfying! Overall, I would recommend this book to those who are looking for a great summer romance set in Italy. I can't wait to read more books by this author in the future.
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If you're craving travel, if you’re finding that cultural pursuits and music are soothing you through these mad times, and you love a love story, then Italy Ever After, with its adorable cover, is for you. Mack deftly serves you a gorgeous slice of Italy and woos you through Lou and Nick’s love story with an aplomb that will have you checking the flight schedules to go as soon as the world is normal again. Perfect ArmchairTravel.
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I absolutely loved this thoughtful, heartfelt love story set in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. The characters are well drawn, there is a lot of heart and good humour, and the author has brought this part of Italy to life. A pure delight.
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