Art restorer Emily Price has never encountered anything she can’t fix—until she meets Ben, an Italian chef, who seems just right. But when Emily follows Ben home to Italy, she learns that his family is another matter . . .
Emily Price—fix-it girl extraordinaire and would-be artist—dreams of having a gallery show of her own. There is no time for distractions, especially not the ultimate distraction of falling in love.
But Chef Benito Vassallo’s relentless pursuit proves hard to resist. Visiting from Italy, Ben works to breathe new life into his aunt and uncle’s faded restaurant, Piccollo. Soon after their first meeting, he works to win Emily as well—inviting her into his world and into his heart.
A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay
Published by Thomas Nelson (November 1, 2016)
Genre: Literature and Fiction | Contemporary | Christian
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: Paperback, 368 pages
Sometimes, before I fall asleep or when I catch a piece of music that lifts my soul, I envision another way to live, like that moment last night when the setting sun hit the top of that rise and the leaves glowed. They were alight with life, and it lasted only a moment. That’s when I suspect I’ve gotten it wrong and I’ve wasted my time, tilting at windmills–not anticipating the unexpected or being present enough to recognize it.
~ A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay, p. 178
From the first Katherine Reay novel I read, Reay’s writing voice satisfied a reader’s need in me. I can’t define exactly what it was. With the first words in Dear Mr. Knightley, I knew Reay was an author I’d follow as long as she published. Each book has been a joy to read.
A Portrait of Emily Price is no less impressive. A painter of sorts herself, Reay’s palette draws beautiful characters. Reay plays down physical beauty (although there are some rather gorgeous characters included). Instead, she fills them with a beauty from within, a spiritual and soulful beauty. A strong-willed or temperamental character demands description showing the depth of his/her emotions.
Descriptive settings seem to come easy for this author. It is as though Reay uses wide brush strokes to share the country or region of choice as a backdrop. In Emily Price, we see the hills and small towns of Italy. Imagine narrow lanes for driving and arches almost too narrow to drive even a tiny Fiat through. Picture ancient architecture rich in its workmanship and steeped in history.
Readers of Reay’s novels already understand her handling of romance between her characters. For those new to this author, her works are often inspired by the stories and characters developed by Jane Austen. From there, she nuances her own characters and storyline into a contemporary tale. For Jane Austen fans, it’s almost like double dipping.
In Emily Price, readers find a soft yet moving love flowing between two people. The bottom line in this romance is one of compromise. We find a couple supportive of each other, love working together, and yet allow each other room to breathe. This is symbolic of true love. Yet, this doesn’t mean there aren’t bumps in the road.
It is the quality and strength of Reay’s writing which make her books so pleasurable. These two characteristics, plus her meticulous research, draw me to each new book launched. It has been my privilege to be a part of her Peeps Team supporting her as the launch of Emily Price drew near.
If you haven’t read Katherine Reay before, look for these novels to enjoy as well.
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