From the publisher:
For the reasonable price of $1, Natalie Malone just bought herself an abandoned villa on the Amalfi Coast. With a detailed spreadsheet and an ancient key, she’s arrived in Italy ready to renovate―and only six months to do it. Which seemed reasonable until architect Pietro Indelicato began critically watching her every move…
From the sweeping ocean views to the scent of the lemon trees, there’s nothing Pietro loves more than his hometown. And after seeing too many botched jobs and garish design choices, he’s done watching from the sidelines. As far as he’s concerned, Natalie should quit before the project drains her entire bank account and her ridiculously sunny optimism.
With Natalie determined to move forward, the gorgeous architect reluctantly agrees to pitch in, giving her a real chance to succeed. But when the fine print on Natalie’s contract is brought to light, she might have no choice but to leave her dream, and Pietro, behind.https://amzn.to/3zghCjn
I was very excited to read this book because my husband and I have discussed the possibility of buying one of these $1 (Euro) homes in Sicily, but we can’t really afford the time or the money needed for rehabbing the homes. Lorraine Bracco (Sopranos, Goodfellas) also has Sicilian roots, and she bought one of these homes and turned the reno into an HGTV show, My Big Italian Adventure, which was a lot of fun to watch. This book revolves around one of these homes in a fictional town on the Amalfi coast of Italy.
Natalie, or Natalia as her name becomes Italianized, purchased an old inn with her grandmother. But her grandmother passes away before they can get to Italy and even start the rehab. Money is tight, but an inheritance from a man she never heard of helps get her the money she needs to move forward with the project on her own. When she arrives, she finds the inn uninhabitable, but there is a separate garage where she can live until the inn is updated.
The small town has a council in charge of this project and her fellow renovators meet weekly to share tips and help. There is some political infighting between the council chair, who is the mayor, and his son, Pietro, a renowned architect who has renovated buildings all over Italy. Pietro runs into Natalie when she is trying to get her building permit, but it is August, and pretty much most of Italy is on vacation. Her Italian isn’t very good (yet) so she is a bit confused until Pietro steps in to explain in English.
There is a definite spark when they meet, but Natalie has too much work to do and she’s not looking to get involved. On the other hand, Pietro’s reaction reminded me of the “thunderbolt” Michael gets when he sees Apollonia for the first time in The Godfather – if you aren’t familiar with the reference, it’s basically love at first sight. Pietro has her back, and with his influence, knowledge, and skills, Natalia’s renovation gets going.
The is a slow growing romance with enough turmoil to keep things interesting. The politics in the town and the troubles some of the other renovations run into are the subplots, and they help shape this book into something more than just a romance. There are some funny moments, a bit of intrigue with the mysterious bequest, and some steamy scenes as well. All in all, a terrific read for me!
6/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch