Blog Tour: One Summer in Italy by Sue Moorcroft

one summer in italyA lovely big welcome to Sue Moorcroft and the blog tour for her latest novel, One Summer in Italy. 

When Sofia Bianchi’s father Aldo dies, it makes her stop and look at things afresh. Having been his carer for so many years, she knows it’s time for her to live her own life – and to fulfil some promises she made to Aldo in his final days.

So there’s nothing for it but to escape to Italy’s Umbrian mountains where, tucked away in a sleepy Italian village, lie plenty of family secrets waiting to be discovered. There, Sofia also finds Amy who is desperately trying to find her way in life after discovering her dad isn’t her biological father.

Sofia sets about helping Amy through this difficult time, but it’s the handsome Levi who proves to be the biggest distraction for Sofia, as her new life starts to take off…

 

Mick Arnold has reviewed the novel, plus Sue has shared a recipe but first, an extract..

*** start of extract***

The next day, Sofia set out down the hill to visit Gianni at Hotel Alba, butterflies doing aerobics in her stomach and Via Virgilio’s crawling traffic loud in her ear. Her thoughts were on what lay ahead – getting to know her uncle’s family. Her family, in fact.

1D420D12-02B0-4A15-8790-97E4C3D82D76At the beginning of her journey she could see Hotel Alba on the facing slope but it was hidden from her view by a multitude of other buildings as she got down into the centre of Montelibertà. Traversing both Piazza Roma and Piazza Santa Lucia, busy with tourists and loud with as many English and American voices as Italian, she followed the route she’d memorised up Corso Musica, a street that, once past the theatre with a sort of bandstand outside, quickly narrowed. It wasn’t until she branched into Corso Sant’Angelo and rounded a sharp bend that Hotel Alba popped into view again.

Sofia paused to drink it in. Tall and white with the ubiquitous terracotta tiled roof, it was probably twice the size and twice the age of Casa Felice, and looked as if it was a cut above. Stonework framed the windows and arched like eyebrows over the doorways. Imposing urns set at intervals around the building were extravagantly planted with red, white and purple petunias. The road and pavement leading up to the hotel were cobbled, and the main doors stood welcomingly ajar.

Subduing an urge to retreat, if only to the nearest large window to check her appearance after a twenty-minute walk, Sofia strolled through the imposing doors, hoping her attack of nerves didn’t show. In the vaulted reception area, the ceiling was hung with impressive glass chandeliers. Walls and ceilings were painted white but the floor was glossy black marble, and the sofas dotted about were black too. Bureaus and side tables were painted a dull pewter. Paintings depicting busy market places and teeming cafés dotted the walls, bold splashes of colour standing out against the otherwise monochrome elegance.

Several guests sat around with either phones or tablets in their hands. Sofia guessed that the best free wifi was in this area.

***end of extract***

 

Sofia’s Lasagne

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

78DA3B70-C168-47D7-AB57-C26022D74B09300g beef mince

300g pork mince

1 large glass of red wine

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

1 stick of celery, finely chopped

1x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

40g butter

40g plain flour

500ml milk

100g parmesan cheese

1 ball mozzarella

Lasagne sheets

Salt and pepper

 

1. In a large pan, heat the olive oil and brown the mince well. Add red wine to deglaze the pan and cook until it has almost evaporated.
2. Add the onion, carrots and celery and fry for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and add the tin of chopped tomatoes. Fill the empty tin with water and add this water to the sauce. Stir together, lower the heat, cover with a lid and gently simmer for two hours, stirring every so often.
3. Preheat the oven to 200C.
4. Melt the butter in a small pan on a medium heat and stir in the flour with either a wooden spoon or a small hand whisk to prevent lumps from forming. Stir until you have a paste and then add a little milk.
5. Add the rest of the milk, stirring constantly, until the white sauce thickens to a creamy consistency. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and add 20g of the parmesan cheese.
6. Line an ovenproof dish with some of the meat ragù sauce and arrange sheets of lasagne over the top. Dot mozzarella over the sheets, a layer of white sauce and a sprinkling of grated parmesan. Continue these layers until you finish the ingredients, but make sure to finish with a topping of white sauce that can be dotted with the ragù and a little more parmesan cheese.
7. Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove the foil for the last five minutes of cooking to ensure you get this colouring on top.
8. Allow to rest for a couple of minutes before serving.

 

one summer in italyMick’s verdict of One Summer in Italy by Sue Moorcroft

As a long time follower of the novels of Ms. Moorcroft, I’ve been on tenterhooks for quite a while awaiting this story, the follow-up to the wonderful ‘Just For The Holidays’ and the Christmas smash, ‘The Christmas Promise’. Was the wait worthwhile?

With the death of her beloved father Aldo, his devoted daughter Sofia, proceeds to fulfil the promises she made him before he died specifically, to be happy and to start living her life. So, she decides to take a summer job in an Italian hotel, at the same time hoping to make contact with her local relations that she’s never met. Of course, life is never that straight forward and run-ins with her estranged family make her question the wisdom of her decision. Things are complicated even prior to the first disastrous meeting with her uncle, when she comes to the aid of Amy, a young lady she soon learns has run off to escape family problems and whom she feels a compulsion to protect, from being sacked from her waitress job by the hotel owner. Sofia is aided in this intervention by a handsome guest, Levi, who she soon learns is not there by accident.

This is a story about following and trusting what your heart tells you, no matter the obstacles that life sets in your path. That’s all I’m going to tell you about the plot which, if you’ve read my previous reviews, you’ll know is my style. There are plenty of other reviews that will give away what happens, but you’d be far best served to purchase this book. If you’re familiar with this author’s previous novels, then are you in for the summer treat of your reading life.

The books multiple story threads are woven seamlessly so that you never feel lost. You’ll meet more marvellous characters, other than Sofia, Levi and Amy, as the story unfolds. Some you’ll warm to, one or two, less so. But that’s fine, as why should you love every character? Even in a romance. As I’ve come to learn, Ms. Moorcroft is a master (she’ll kill me if I use the feminine, ‘mistress’!) story-teller who is well worth the praise and exposure she is receiving.

So, to answer my earlier question as to whether the wait for this latest novel from Ms. Moorcroft was worth the wait…too right it was! Of course, that only brings one problem; the wait has now begun for this author’s Christmas book! Life is so unfair. Ah well, I’ll just have to fall back on her back catalogue until then. Happy reading folks!

My thanks to all at @AvonBooksUK and Netgalley for allowing me to read ‘One Summer in Italy’ prior to its release, this is very much appreciated.

 

rp_Sue-Moorcroft-199x3001-199x300.jpgAbout Sue: 

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, an international bestselling author and has held the #1 spot in the UK Kindle chart. She writes contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes.

Sue has won a Best Romantic Read Award, received two nominations at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards and is a Katie Fforde Bursary winner. Her short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing ‘how to’ have sold around the world.

An army child, Sue was born in Germany then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a digital prepress. She’s pleased to have now wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.

Visit her website: www.suemoorcroft.com and her blog: http://suemoorcroft.wordpress.com.
Say hi to Sue on Twitter: @suemoorcroft and Facebook: facebook.com/SueMoorcroftAuthor
Sue is also on Instagram: suemoorcroftauthor

 

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Laura
I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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