Carla Caruso‘s latest novel, The Right Place, is full of food, fun, family drama, and a bit of romance too. I do love a book that brings together the stories of women from different times and places, and in this one we follow Nella, in modern day Adelaide, and her nonna Esta, newly arrived in 1950s Australia.
With her dreams of dominating Melbourne’s fashion scene in tatters, Nella Martini has returned to the last place she wants to be – Torrente Blu, the market garden inherited from her late nonna. She just needs to clean up the property, sell it quickly, and avoid run–ins with her neighbour: surly Adrian Tomaso.
But when Nella comes across her nonna’s cookbook things start to change. The place, with its endless tomato plants and gallons of olive oil in storage, gets under her skin, as does Adrian with his passion for this life. But her dreams have always meant being anywhere but here – haven’t they? Or has the right place been here all this time?
For Esta Feliciano in the 1950s, the right place was her Italian village. But in search of a better life than war–torn Italy has to offer, her husband has moved Esta and their daughter to this alien country, settling on a small, flat piece of land that he calls Torrente Blu. Can Esta come to grips with the harsh Australian sun and strange culture?
I thought The Right Place was a really fun and sweet read! There was just the right amount of romance for me, and some funny parts, as well as some very moving ones too. I am always interested in reading stories about the experiences of immigrants arriving in Australia, and I really enjoyed seeing how Esta’s friendships with the women around her grew and developed. It really showed the way that some things – like food and our families – can connect us regardless of a language barrier.
One of my favourite things about The Right Place was how central to the story the food and recipes were – both in helping Esta make those connections with women in a completely new place, and also helping Nella develop a connection with her family’s past and roots all the way over in Italy.
I really enjoyed reading this one and can’t wait to try a couple of recipes! I was lucky enough to be able to get in touch with the author, Carla, and ask a few questions about The Right Place – I’ll pop that up in a post later this week.
***The Right Place***
Source: Thanks to Harlequin Books for sending me a free copy!
Genre: Contemporary/historical fiction, romance
Read it if you love: Italian food, immigrant stories, The Last of the Bonegilla Girls