An enjoyable tale of loss, lust, and love with a dollop of gravlax.


Petruzziello’s debut romantic comedy tells a delicious tale of an American’s adventures abroad as a culinary public relations specialist looking for true love.

Alex Corso’s reputation as a PR whiz lands him a job in the heart of Italy working for Eleanora Persini at Zero Otto Marketing. Soon, he’s rubbing elbows with Europe’s most popular television cooking personalities and sidestepping paparazzi. For Alex, the opportunity is a dream come true—in part because it allows him to meet his secret crush: Amanda Jones, a famous actress-turned-cookbook author. At the same party, he’s assigned to manage the Danish television star and cook Pernille Bjørn, and soon afterward, his life becomes a whirlwind. Over the next several days, he rescues Pernille from an obnoxious male model; makes love to a flirty barista named Patrizia;navigates a friends-with-benefits situation with an estranged ex-girlfriend, Emily; and juggles orders from his no-nonsense boss. Along the way, Alex is wooed and wowed by other women in the whimsical Cin Cin café; in the Largo di Torre Argentin, an outdoor square in Rome; and in his own apartment. Who will capture Alex’s heart? Stories of love and humor in this setting come easily to Petruzziello, who briefly lived in Rome himselfin the fall of 2011. He engagingly combines the Italian milieu of last year’s My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith with the self-starter message of Hester Browne’s 2006 novel The Little Lady Agency. That said, it can be a little heavy on the drama at times; for example, Alex and Emily repeatedly have the same “heavy discussion” about the status of their relationship.Still, it’s a fun and easy read overall that shows that even though the recipe for love is complicated, it’s one that’s worth the prep time.  

An enjoyable tale of loss, lust, and love with a dollop of gravlax. 

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73506-540-3

Page Count: 314

Publisher: Magnusmade

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2018

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.


Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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