What an astonishing book I just read. The story is so emotional, exciting, breathtaking and filled with history I had to read it all the way through to the end. It is not easy yo put down a book that is so expertly written. I learned a lot about Italy through the eyes of the author. She captured the beauty of the land and people with brilliant words that painted a picture of pure beauty. I loved the food that was described and could smell the pasta cooking on the stove. This is one story that will stay with you for years to come. The story has captured the meaning of family in such a way that it has left me emotional but filled with hope.
Emily has a gift that many admire. She can reconstruct things and make them beautiful again. I found her work to be fascinating and the author described her work with great detail. I wanted to watch Emily work and listen to her as she brought something that had been destroyed back to life. As she is working on a family's home she finds out that she is going to be out of a job. Her chance meeting with Ben was mesmerizing and enchanting. Ben has come from Italy to help his family's restaurant out. Ben has everything going for him with his good looks, being a master chef and Italian. Who could resist this man of many talents.
Joseph is Ben's brother and has been doing his best to keep the business going. There is definitely some friction between the brothers but Emily can't figure out what it is. Emily has started to help do some restoration in the restaurant and help Joseph out. I loved how they both shared the same interest in art and their talks were fascinating.
I was a bit surprised when Ben suddenly asks Emily to marry him. They had only known each other for two weeks. She had plans to stay and work with Joseph. Ben's charm was to hard to resist and off she goes to get married. When they reach Italy I'm sure she was overwhelmed with what she had just done? Was she to impulsive? Will Ben's family accept her?
The story is so much more than restoring paintings and old relics. It's a look at a family that has been torn apart by something that happened a long time ago. Emily is not easily accepted by Ben's family , especially his mother. She is cold and distant. I loved Ben's father and found him to be so enduring and lovable. What is the secret that broke the family apart? Why won't Joseph come home to visit his family?
The author shows us through the eyes of Emily, brokenness , anger, unforgiveness and rediscovery. Her art captures each element and opens hearts that have hardened by pain and shunning. There is a part in the story about a painting that has long been covered up. The biblical reference is unmistakably the most powerful part of the story. The painting depicts a time when sin was thrown upon a woman that almost destroyed her. How this story is reflected back to Ben's family is emotional and I loved how the author used it to show how shame and guilt can cause someone to become bitter. What is the significance of this painting to the family? Can it bring healing and hope ? Can Joseph forgive the past and reconcile before it is to late? I kept thinking of "Beauty from ashes." Our lives may seem like they are in ashes and there is no hope, but God sees the beauty and gives us hope, joy and restoration.
I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild. The review is my honest review.