The story is centred around Anna, Catherine and Sophie and alternating chapters are written from each main character's perspective. One Night in Italy is funnily enough not set in Italy for the majority of the book as the three women actually reside in Sheffield.
32 year old Anna Morley is a journalist who works for the local newspaper and after visiting her grandmother, Nora, she finds out that the father she has never met is an Italian called Gino. Not only does this revelation change the dynamics of her family life as she sets out on a mission to find her estranged dad, it also improves her career as she is promoted to food writer and restaurant reviewer too. Unfortunately, things aren't looking so good for Anna's love life as she sees her boyfriend, Pete kissing another woman sat by the window in Nando's (classy or what?) at a time when she needed him the most after finding out about her dad. With only her father's name and her mother refusing to speak about him for the entirety of Anna's life, it seems unlikely that she will find Gino but supported by her colleagues, she immerses herself in Italian culture by joining an evening Italian class and also attending cooking courses in the UK and Italy.
Catherine Evans is a devoted mother to twins, Emily and Matthew and wife to GP, Mike. As the twins move out for university, Catherine is heartbroken at how lonely she will be but is trying to remain optimistic as it will mean that she and Mike will be able to spend more time together. Unfortunately, things go from bad to worse for Catherine as she discovers Mike has been having an affair and that he never loved her as they met on holiday when they were both at university. Mike admits that he only stayed with her as she fell pregnant. Whilst searching some documents that Mike leaves behind when he comes over to tell her that she needs to move out, Catherine discovers that Mike has also been lying to his patients but she's not sure how to resolve the problem without upsetting the twins. Catherine is a pillar of the community and participates in various voluntary activities but since meeting Mike, she has lost her own identity as he was condescending to her throughout their marriage. She wants to put herself first for once so decides to attend an Italian evening class to regain some of her lost identity.
Sophie Frost left home only a few months before she was supposed to complete her A-levels when she found out that her mum had secretly declined the offer she'd received to study Drama at Manchester. Sophie's parents had instead applied for her to take Business Studies at Sheffield. When Sophie realised, she was livid and decided to get away from them by travelling the world. Whilst living and working at a cafe in Sorrento (which reminds me of my favourite Hey Little Cupcake, Sorrento Cello), Sophie receives a phone call from her cousin, Samantha to say that her father has suffered a major heart attack (A.K.A myocardial infarction). On returning to the UK, Sophie and her parents make amends and her mum helps her to find a job as the teacher of the evening Italian class which is where she meets Anna and Catherine (what a coincidence!). Although it appears that Sophie is finally settling down and is a natural at teaching, her heart has always been in drama but she fears that it is too late.
One Night in Italy really exceeded my expectations as from the title and blurb, I assumed it would be about holiday romances for the three leading ladies but decided to give it a go nonetheless as I love Italy and really want to visit soon. Although there were a couple of things that I predicted such as Catherine's husband and Anna's boyfriend cheating on them, I think if the twists had been something else, the story wouldn't have worked or appeared genuine. Also, the name of each chapter is written in both English and Italian which I found to be a lovely touch. The three main characters of the book are very likeable as are all the others that attend the Italian class and I like how Diamond reveals a snippet of each of their lives too.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading One Night in Italy and despite it being just under 500 pages, I read most of the book in two days. It's one of those books that you can't put down once you start reading.
This may genuinely be the best piece of chick-lit I've read so far. It was consistently perfect and a very easy and light read which I highly recommend.
As the three books I've reviewed so far this summer have all been fiction, I think some non-fiction is long overdue which is why the next book review will be for Periodic Tales by Hugh Aldersey-Williams.
Until next time, take care.
Mancunian Sheep x