An American woman travels to Rome to find her birth mother and ends up entangled in a complicated romance.
Julia Ramos, a Texas native, takes her first trip to Europe in order to find the Italian woman who put her up for adoption when she was a baby. After landing in Rome, she sees a homeless man abusing a small dog, and before she can stop herself, she grabs the puppy and makes a run for it. She races across an open square, darts in front of an oncoming car, and the driver, British architect Daniel Stafford, narrowly avoids running her over. Even as he admonishes her for her reckless behavior, the chemistry between the pair is apparent. As luck would have it, Julia bumps into Daniel multiple times after the near accident, and he offers to help with the search for her mother by driving her and the puppy toward his sister’s house in Tuscany. Julia’s hunt for her mother grows ever more complicated, and she ends up staying with Daniel at his sister’s Tuscan home. Romance ensues, and both worry the relationship will crash, yet neither seems ready to give up. Via straightforward prose, the author presents believable characters with complex interior lives. As the storyline toggles between Daniel’s and Julia’s points of view, Mikalsen (Wrapped in the Stars, 2018) portrays two young adults who are floundering, each struggling to find meaning in the daily lives they’ve been living. As they attempt to find their places, personally and professionally, the result is a compelling tale of two people muddling their way through self-discovery. Although many secondary characters play to type, the novel abounds with well-researched details, ranging from architectural landmarks and topographical details to the cultural norms for ordering pizza. Despite the predictability of the plotline, the evocative emotional connection between the main characters makes the read worthwhile.
A romantic tale about the restorative potential of travel that is both emotionally involving and predictable.