Regular readers will know how I long to visit Italy one day. For now, I have to content myself by travelling vicariously through books like Only in Naples by Katherine Wilson. Here’s the blurb:
Katherine is fresh out of college when she arrives in Naples to intern at the US Consulate. There she meets handsome, studious Salvatore, and finds herself enveloped by his family – in particular by his elegant mother, Raffaella, who begins her real education: never eat the crust of a pizza first, always stand up and fight for yourself and your loved ones, and remember that mealtimes are sacred.
Immersed in Neapolitan culture, tradition and cooking, slowly and unexpectedly falling for Salvatore, and basking in Raffaella’s company and guidance, Katherine discovers how to prepare meals that sing, from rich rag to pasta al forno, with bacon, bechamel and four kinds of cheese. Through courtship, culture clashes, Sunday Mass, marriage and motherhood, Katherine slowly comes to appreciate carnale, the quintessentially Neapolitan sense of comfort and confidence in one’s own skin.
Steeped in sunlight, wine and unforgettable food, Only in Naples is a love letter to a city and a family, a coming-of-age story, and a transporting account of learning to live the Italian way.
Engaging and warm with the love of family and food, Only in Naples is a memoir that will tempt the inner traveller and wannabe Italian. Katherine lands on her feet in Naples, as she discovers a very different city to the “dirty and dangerous” one she’d been warned about. Not only does she meet her future husband, but she is welcomed into a loving family, and taught the ways of being Italian. As she says, right at the beginning, it was seeing Naples through unprejudiced eyes that made her start to live. For those wondering whether to add Naples to the travel list, have a read. It certainly made me re-think my own one-day travel plans.
Available from good bookstores (RRP $32.99 AUD). My copy was courtesy of Hachette.
For more of Monique Mulligan’s writing on books, check out Write Note Reviews
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television