A Portrait of Emily Price
by Katherine Reay
Art restorer Emily Price has never encountered anything she can t fix until she meets Ben, an Italian chef, who seems just right. When Emily follows Ben home to Italy, she learns that his family, however, is another matter . . .
Emily Price fix-it girl extraordinaire and would-be artist finds herself in Atlanta, repairing objects damaged in a house fire. As she works to restore the home and dreams of one family, she strives to keep the pieces of her own life in perfect order and secure her own happy ending 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 reconnect with his brother and breathe new life into his aunt and uncle s faded restaurant, Piccolo. And soon after their first meeting, he works to win Emily as well inviting her into his world and into his heart.
Emily astonishes everyone when she accepts Ben s proposal and follows him home. Upon landing in Rome, she is enchanted with Italy. But instead of allowing the land, culture, and people to transform her, Emily imposes her will upon everyone and everything around her, alienating Ben s tightly knit family. Only Ben s father, Lucio, gives Emily the understanding she needs to lay down her guard. Soon, Emily s life and art begin to blossom, and Italy s beauty and rhythm take hold of her spirit.
Yet when she unearths long-buried family secrets, Emily wonders if she really fits into Ben s world. Will the joys of Italy become just a memory, or will Emily share in the freedom and grace that her life with Ben has shown her are possible?”
And handsome… The right kind – the dark, lean kind with a four o’clock shadow because five o’clock would be too de rigueur. The guy you watch walking down the plan aisle, hoping he’ll sit next to you. Yet he never does. He sits right behind you – with his wife.
He was exactly what I had always envisioned my ideal that guy to be. Actually, the whole list, fully formed at age eight, started and ended with Italian – all the rest was icing.
I dropped each into a jar, reminding myself with every plink that I did first-class work – the grownup equivalent of I think I can.
We piled into an impossibly tiny car, smaller than a smart car, if any American could imagine that. Ben then dashed like a lunatic onto the Roman roads. Cars were everywhere, careening between lanes, zipping at high speeds down frightfully narrow streets, dodging pedestrians, and climbing hills in switchback turns.
She articulated my name slowly pulling each syllable long, paying special attention to the center mal. It stretched forever. In Italian, I knew it meant ‘ache’ or ‘evil,’ and I figured her emphasis was no coincidence.
Francesca was a beauty, delicate and quiet. She had the raven hair of her mother, but a more delicate jaw line and nose. It made her feel like a whisper, while Donata, to me, personified a scream.
I enjoyed this story start to finish, a new bride finds herself in a foreign country and stranded in the home of a cold and angry mother-in-law, hmm, something I could most certainly relate to. In addition to those complications, there seems to be a silent eighteen-year family feud that no one talks about or seems to understand. Emily, who is an art restorer, liked to be working or fixing something. She was good at fixing things, however, her attempts at fixing people seemed to be more problematic than helpful, for all involved. This was my first experience reading this talented scribe and I adored her smart and witty style. Katherine Reay has devised an ingenious, lushly detailed, and well-constructed story. Her delivery was clever, crisp, and devilishly amusing. I want to read every sentence she has, or will ever, put to print.
About the Author
Katherine Reay has lived all across the country and Europe and has just moved with her family to Chicago. She is a writer, wife, mom, runner, and, most randomly, a tae kwon do black belt. Her award-winning debut novel, “Dear Mr. Knightley,” is a contemporary story with a dash of Jane Austen and other nineteenth century writers thrown in for the fun of it. Her subsequent novels, “Lizzy & Jane” and “The Bronte Plot” and “A Portrait of Emily Price” feature stories of hope, reconciliation, family, some seriously good food and travel.