Book Reviews

Book Review: A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay


Art restorer Emily Price has never encountered anything she can’t fix—until she meets Ben, an Italian chef, who seems just right. But when Emily follows Ben home to Italy, she learns that his family is another matter . . .

Emily Price—fix-it girl extraordinaire and would-be artist—dreams of having a gallery show of her own. There is no time for distractions, especially not the ultimate distraction of falling in love.

But Chef Benito Vassallo’s relentless pursuit proves hard to resist. Visiting from Italy, Ben works to breathe new life into his aunt and uncle’s faded restaurant, Piccollo. Soon after their first meeting, he works to win Emily as well—inviting her into his world and into his heart.

Emily astonishes everyone when she accepts Ben’s proposal and follows him home. But instead of allowing the land, culture, and people of Monterello to transform her, Emily interferes with everyone and everything around her, alienating Ben’s tightly knit family. Only Ben’s father, Lucio, gives Emily the understanding she needs to lay down her guard. Soon, Emily’s life and art begin to blossom, and Italy’s beauty and rhythm take hold of her spirit.

Yet when she unearths long-buried family secrets, Emily wonders if she really fits into Ben’s world. Will the joys of Italy become just a memory, or will Emily share in the freedom and grace that her life with Ben has shown her are possible?

What I Loved: The Portrait of Emily Price is a warm and inviting story full of family dysfunction, historic portraits, and FOOD. Reay takes you on a true vacation to Italy throughout the pages. The romantic tension takes a backseat in this novel and the family drama really shines. I enjoyed the way Reay weaved in themes about family, love, loss, grace, forgiving yourself, and, my personal favorite, learning to love others through the hard times.
The characters were Catholic, but the teaching never ventured in that direction which I appreciated. My only complaint was that there were times in the story where I felt the conversation was taking off without me…as if I blacked out and missed a few lines. But this small glitch was nothing to damper the beautiful story.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving The Portrait of Emily Price 5 stars and happily recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction, especially those that enjoy visiting another country through the pages of the novel.

~I received a copy from the publisher. I was not compensated for this review. All thoughts are my own.

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