There is a lot Rome can offer in one summer, and even more than you thought

Synopsis

Kate Harper has always loved the painting that has hung in her parents’ dining room for years, never suspecting that it is worth a fortune. When her art dealer boyfriend cheats her family out of the proceeds of the painting’s sale, she is left devastated and alone.

Kate discovers that two hundred years ago, the girl in the painting, Charlotte Browne, ran off to Rome with the artist who painted her portrait, but her eventual fate is unknown.

Hoping to uncover the mystery of what happened to Charlotte, Kate seizes the chance of a summer job in Rome, where she strikes up a friendship with artist Jamie Taylor. As they explore the city and start to piece together the surprising secrets of Charlotte’s life, Kate finds herself wondering if a summer in Rome can mend a broken heart…

My review

The painting hanging in her parent’s dining room has always intrigued Kate Harper. So when her boyfriend shows an interest in it, and ends up actually buying it, her heart is a bit broken.
Unfortunately, her heart gets broken even more when she discovers that her own boyfriend hasn’t been that honest at all about the value of the painting, and cheated her family out of the proceeds of the sale.
However, Kate cannot forget The Italian Girl and she discovers that the woman in the painting is Charlotte Browne, a young woman that ran off to Rome with the artist who painter her, about two hundred years ago.
Wanting to know what happened to Charlotte, Kate takes the offer for a summer job in Rome, hoping to find more clues about Charlotte’s fate.
Rome wouldn’t be Rome if Kate wouldn’t be amazed by all the beauty the city has to offer, exploring it all with her new friend, English artist Jamie Taylor.
Will Kate find out what happened to Charlotte? And is one summer enough to mend a broken heart? Or is falling for someone else all too soon and too fast?

Thanks to Covid, it has been several years since my last visit to Rome. So having the opportunity to visit Rome again, even just by reading a book, I grabbed it with both hands!
Add a mysterious painting, a woman betrayed by some close to her, and romance, and it can’t be getting any better!

While I truly liked Kate, there was one tiny bit of frustration from my side. It’s obvious that Kate is a very kind and lovely character, I kind of was astonished in how quickly she believed Gabe, without any actual proof, what the worth of the painting was. Especially as Kate was working in a gallery, even if not being an expert herself. I would have expected her to want some actual proof, something written on paper.
But maybe that is just me, overthinking things, having read too many stories about dishonest people.

But with the exception of that small issue, I truly liked Kate. And reading how she is discovering Rome for the first time, seeing her being amazed about it all, made me appreciate again the beautiful city all over again!

I also admired the courage Kate has, because she has nothing than just a small reference to discover more about Charlotte Browne. And, even if it was only a summer job, making the move to an unknown city, is not something I would see myself doing.

But the real beauty of this story, was seeing how Kate was developing more and more. initially she wasn’t that self-confident, she doesn’t really know what she truly wants to do. Slowly we see Kate getting out of her shell, finding again her own passion for art again, and getting a serious boost of self-confidence.
She also is a very focused woman, as she doesn’t just give up after it would appear that nothing more can be found about Charlotte.

Seeing how her friendship is getting stronger with Jamie was very sweet to read. Their relationship is a slow – burning one. While there is attraction, reading how at ease they are with each other, while just being friends, was surely giving us a hint at what to expect when the time was right.

Of course, having a main character so focused on wanting to find out what happened to Charlotte Browne, makes also the readers very curious! While things wouldn’t seem to be going towards a happy end for Charlotte, I had a feeling I knew what happened to her. But obviously I had to know if I had figured it all out.

I adored wandering around Rome, with lovely characters like Kate and Jamie, but also her other new friends.
Rome was described just like it was, with its chaos, beautiful places, people accepting and opening their arms to new entries.
There are many moments show us, that sometimes doing something new and different, will give us all the answers to questions we had and even didn’t know we had. And that yes, even a city can gift us the most wonderful feeling in the world.

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