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Sunday, June 4, 2023

The Little Italian Hotel by Phaedra Patrick

The Little Italian Hotel by Phaedra Patrick
Published by Park Row Books ISBN 9780778387121
Trade paperback, $18.99, 320 pages

In Phaedra Patrick's newest novel The Little Italian Hotel,  Ginny Splinter spends her days giving advice to callers on her radio talk show in a small town in England. She loves helping people and believes that she can help them solve their life problems. There isn't a problem Ginny can't fix,

Ginny is married to Adrian, who sells high end sports cars at a local dealership. She is about to surprise Adrian with a special anniversary trip to Italy when Adrian tells her that he is moving out, he doesn't know if he wants to be married anymore.

This stuns Ginny, and when she discovers that Adrian has a profile on a dating website, she is even more shocked. How could she, the woman with all the advice for her listeners, have been so clueless as to what was going on her marriage?

When Ginny finds out that the trip is nonrefundable, she invites four listeners from her show to join her in Italy. Instead of a stay for two at a luxury hotel and spa in a small town outside Bologna, Ginny will be joined by four strangers at a little Italian hotel near the luxury hotel. The only catch is that each of these strangers must have their own heartbreak story.

The hotel is run by Nico and his teenager daughter Loretta. Nico's wife left them when he refused to sell the hotel after a deathbed promise to his mother to change nothing in the hotel. The hotel is charming, and  a bit lived in, nothing like the successful luxury hotel up the road run by Nico's best friend.

Edna, an elderly woman who dresses in black, is sharp as a tack. Eric is quiet and gets up early every morning to run in the Italian hillside. He carries a dog collar with him. Rachel is a vivacious young woman whose mother has Alzheimer's.  Curtis spends all his time on his phone and can be a bit rude to everyone.

The group is slow to come together, but once they do, they all become very supportive of each other. We get the backstories of each of them, what their heartache is, and each story is moving as we become emotionally invested in them. The Italian setting is so vivid, if you close your eyes you will see the Italian countryside and smell the delicious fresh foods that Nico prepares for the group.

When Adrian shows up unexpectedly, Ginny is torn. She has to take a good look at her life and decide what she truly needs to be happy. The Little Italian Hotel would be good for a book club discussion, and you could have a great Italian-themed dinner to go with it. 

Thanks to Harlequin for putting me on their Summer 2023 Blog Tours.

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