Wednesday, 25 April 2018

A Year At Hotel Gondola by Nicky Pellegrino | Book Review

A book review of A Year at Hotel Gondola by Nicky Pellegrino - Venice romance and italian food italy seafood friendship europe

It was more like a few days at Hotel Gondola*, I just flew through this book! Nicky Pellegrino is one of my favourite authors and what's especially cool about her is the fact that she's a Kiwi too. I'm really bummed I missed out on her event in Wellington the other week but unfortunately, I had other plans as it would have been lovely to meet her and share the love. However, on with the review!

The thing that I love about Nicky's books is the fact they're not the type of books I'd usually like. They're the romantic, middle-aged woman meets handsome suave Italian man and lives (mostly) happily ever after type of books which I usually wouldn't rate five stars as it's hard to relate to a 50-year-old woman when you're 24. But, Nicky's writing is different, it just flows. It doesn't matter that I'm half the age of the protagonist, you connect to the characters whether you're 14 or 65 because of the way they're written. Half the time I forget Kat is almost 50 until she reminds me her 50th birthday is coming up. Nicky has one of my most favourite writing styles that if she continued to write about English girls falling for Italian guys on their holidays for the rest of her life I would continue to buy them and devour them.

I think one of the main reasons for me loving her style though is the food.

All of her novels, including this one in particular, go rather deep with the food descriptions, to the point where I am practically drooling at the sound of baby octopus swimming in a fishy broth. A point I will note here is I hate anything fishy or seafood-y so that is a miracle.

A Year At Hotel Gondola doesn't start when Kat Black gets off the plane and sets her first step on Venice soil, it starts in the thick of it. She's already met Massimo, she's already in love and living together and I think that's what I really enjoyed about this book compared to her other novels. It does flashback slightly, in the beginning, to give you the general context and backstory but from page one you're right in there, stuck in the relationship without the weeks or months of courting. Usually, that's the part of romance books I enjoy, but it was nice to actually have something different to the usual.

What's also different to the usual romance books is the characters other than the main couple are super important and are actually treated that way. Ruth and Coco, the ladies Kat meets in Venice who quickly become her best friends, are actually given more focus and storyline than Massimo himself. If I were to describe part of the book it would be that Kat Ruth and Coco act like longtime friends discussing the oddness that is boykind. You forget they're 50-70 years old and instead they sound like teenagers, it's adorable and not at all cheesy as it may sound. It's definitely a bit of a who run the world, girls type thing.

If you love food, romance, a bit of sadness, and most importantly great descriptions of hot Italian guys then go pick this book up right now!

Have you read it? What did you think?


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* I received this review copy from Hachette NZ, however, all opinions are my own
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