First Impressions Friday - One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton


Synopsis so far –

Italy will be different this year. The place may be the same, but since Dad’s death Milly, her two sisters and their mother have all changed. Milly has put her aspirations to sing on hold. Leonie’s eating habits have changed, and Mum is putting work before family. Maybe she is avoiding her emotions, but her daughters are adamant she is joining them for Aunt Alice’s wedding. It is not Milly and her family who have changed. Whatever happened between Milly and Luke last summer, Milly expected his attention. When she arrives, Luke’s eyes are on another girl … and his arms, and lips … 

  • Characters: The character I am most interested in is Milly’s younger sister Leonie. She is the most assertive of the siblings, and appears insensitive in relation to other people’s feelings. Milly takes interest in how much Leonie eats, which makes me think Leonie has some issues of her own. I think Leonie is trying to hide her own vulnerabilities, and am interested to see how her character arc develops. Protagonist Milly claims to be 'fine' - I wonder what it will take for her to feel something other than 'fine'? 

  • Writing Style: My favourite thing so far is how observant Stainton is about contemporary life, from the Jamie Oliver cookbook ignored in favour of the good old standbys, to the way we gulp down our water ahead of airport security, Stainton notices the quirks of modern life and uses them to flesh out her world. 

  • Plot: The main question is how family dynamics will change following the death of Milly’s father. I get the impression this will be character driven, that each characters arc will be important. There is also a sideline of romance – will Luke rediscover Milly? Will Elysie find somebody she is really interested in? Family seems to come before romance – in terms of plot and in terms of Milly’s priorities. 

I'm going to keep reading to see how the different characters develop in the wake of Dad's death, and whether Milly's ambitions remain the same by the end of the book. Full review in the coming week - please follow for updates.

What are you reading this weekend? What are your first impressions?

I obtained my copy of One Italian Summer in a Readers First prize draw. Thanks to Readers First for their generosity. This does not affect my views.

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  1. Oooh I loved this book! It had me in tears so many times.
    Cora ❤

  2. I have never heard of this book before. The story sounds interesting. I am reading The Final Empire from Brandon Sanderson and loving it! xx corinne