lake-como-198x300Hallie Elliot is an up and coming interior designer living in San Francisco with her journalist boyfriend, Peter. She has reached the stage in her life where everyone around her is heading down the aisle, and as the close of wedding season approaches, she is getting more and more anxious to see a ring of her own on her left hand. Hallie has a growing career, a good relationship with her family and her life seems to be approaching “perfect”–that is until she catches Peter and her boss in a pretty compromising position. Hallie’s trust in both Peter and her career is rattled, so she decides that she needs to get away.

Hallie decides to go to Lake Como, Italy to be with her father’s side of the family (the Tesoro’s). The Tesoro’s are very prominent and public members of the Italian community. When Hallie arrives her half-sister, Portia, is dealing with the public scandal of a cheating husband.  Hallie helps her sister through the ordeal in the best way she can, all the while trying to avoid dealing with her own troubles.

Although she quickly falls in love with the magnificence and beauty of Lake Como, Hallie finds it hard at first to adjust to the Italian way of life, which is very different than San Francisco high society. She stumbles into an opportunity to work for a reclusive American millionaire completing the re-design of his grand estate on the lake. She even finds a bit of a romance with the caretaker of the estate, Angus, who slowly but surely teaches her to trust others (and herself) again.

This, however, is not the classic “happily ever after” ending for Hallie. Just as she starts to become accustomed to her new Italian life, Hallie discovers a huge family secret that makes her question everything and everyone she has ever known.  The rest of the story follows along through Hallie’s constant journey of reinvention and self-discovery.

The author paints a beautiful picture for the reader to follow and easily blends both the present and past stories of each character. I am a fan of summer reads, and this book is no exception. It maintains a fairly decent pace and immerses you in the beauty of the Italian countryside. It’s very easy to get lost in the world of luxury and scenic frescos described in the book. The storyline has both predictable and unpredictable plotlines and overall was an enjoyable read.

Melissa Rogers is a guest book reviewer for Spa Week Daily.