Cleverly written this wry tale of a closely knit Italian family surprises the reader on every page. Set in Brighton and Tuscany the story is narrated by the two English daughter in laws Maggie and Lara who in their own way find it somewhat a trial being a daughter in law of Anna the Italian matriarch, neither can live up to her high expectations. However both Maggie and Lara are second wives and they both have problems and secrets.
Maggie is second wife to Nico a gentle loving husband and father to Francesca from his first marriage. Maggie is from a more modest background with a ten year old son and she is finding it difficult if not impossible to find common ground with the teenage Francesca.
Francesca at times gives Maggie hope from the odd smile or shared joke on dad but just as quickly will pull the carpet out from under Maggie’s feet. All seems to be lost when Maggie comes across a jewellery case with its own secrets and she chooses to throw it away rather than open up Pandora’s box……
Meanwhile Lara is walking on egg shells with the charismatic Massimo who has a Jekyll and Hyde character, a friendly generous facade for others and a mean and bullying front for Lara. Lara is living on a knife edge, her nervous personality spills out on to Sandro their seven year old son who doesn’t fit the macho image that Massimo desires. But Lara holds the key to Pandora’s box and a web of deceit is uncovered, the results are likely to cause a meltdown for this Italian family.
I haven’t read anything so cleverly written for a long time, really enjoyed the surprises this book held so much so I must read Kerry’s other books and soon!