Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Sébastien Osaki has spent the past three years surviving the loss of his beloved Henry. When Seb lands in Amalfi, Italy, for their would-have-been tenth-anniversary trip, he’s haunted by the memory of the man he loved. Following Henry’s notebook leads him to some breathtaking coastal views but also right back to his despair. Seb’s there to get his groove back, not let the past wrong-foot him at every turn.
Enter Andrea Sorrentino, chauffeur, part-time pet whisperer, a Bernini statue in a soccer tee and tight shorts. From the moment Andrea picks Seb up from the airport, he knows just how to soothe Seb’s case of the sulks. But Seb isn’t sure he’s ready for Mr. Right Now, let alone a potential Mr. Right, in a part of the world where all roads lead back to Henry.
Can sun, sea, and eating your weight in pasta mend a tragedy-stricken heart? Will wine-soaked Amalfi nights and long walks through lemon groves work their magic on Seb’s wounded soul? Or will he slink back into the shell of his grief once his grand Italian adventure is over?
Sometimes a story just resonates with you and In Wild Lemon Groves by Selina Kray did just that with me. From the location to the characters everything about this book is staying with me, taking me back to places, scenes, and people. Reading this story became an almost visceral experience, my mouth watering through meals of local seafood, pasta, bread, and the ever present Granita al limone, my muscles ache in memory of the tortuous climbs up and down ancient steep stairways Seb walks worthy of mountain goats, and my mind and heart are envious of the sea, night stars and view that Amalfi affords the fortunate that visit and live there.
And while I’m luxuriating in all things Amalfi, I’m also deep into the characters of Sébastien Osaki and Andrea Sorrentino. Seb grabs at your heart immediately as the point of view of this story. On a personal journey of grief, loss, and just maybe recovery, he’s gone to Amalfi with his husband’s Henry’s travel journal, retracing Henry’s steps as Henry’s requested. Henry was a travel writer and although he had been there ten years earlier, this time they would have gone together. Now three years after Henry’s death, Seb is trying to find a way to move forward. It’s a realistic, and deeply moving portrait of a man who still mourns his husband and has been mired in grief. And you love Seb, he’s intelligent, self depreciating, and kind.
Andrea Sorrentino is equally well drawn. Layered, he starts off a bit “typical local Italian” but the joke is on us. Because that’s exactly the role he is playing up for the tourists. He’s exactly…well, I won’t spoil that little revelation for you. He’s lovely, multidimensional, and someone we can all connect with (and do).
Also, theirs is not a instant love relationship which I absolutely appreciated. This is a realistic HFN. It has to be because although they recognize they want to see where their feelings go, too much is new and there is also much that needs to be settled for them both. A mature and adult ending to a mature and adult story! Be still my heart! It does let me beg the author for a sequel, however, so we can see how Seb and Andrea are doing down the road. Pretty please?
And not just Seb because there’s a whole cast of characters to care for here, including the “girls”, three woman staying at the Villa who became Seb’s friends, listening boards, drinking and cards buddies and everything else. Plus Lucy the manager, Andrea’s family…well, I could go on and on….and I wish the book had too. How I adored this story!
If you love contemporary romance, do not let this one pass you by. It’s HFN but join with me in asking the author for a sequel. Seb and Andrea cry out for their HEA! In the meantime, I highly recommend In Wild Lemon Groves by Selina Kray.
Cover Design: Tiferet Design. The cover is simply beautiful and one of my favorites with Seb in outline and the Amalfi coastline so vivid below. Perfect.
Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 212 pages
Published February 8th 2018 by Selina Kray