Monday, April 5, 2010
The Italian Matchmaker - Santa Montefiore
"Do you believe in love after death?" Asks the cover of Santa Montefiore's The Italian Matchmaker and whether you are a believer or a skeptic, the magic of Incantellaria will weave itself around you to make you believe. Santa Montefiore has got that special thing which takes her readers right inside the pages of the book and if possible, get you so involved that you can feel the pulse of the book, how she must have felt while writing it. You can almost feel and smell the wet ink. I have only read two of Montefiore's books: The Italian Matchmaker and The Sea of Lost Love and both left my quench for romance completely satisfied. Her books will satiate even the most die hard of romantics.
The Italian Matchmaker revolves around Luca, an English Italian who sensationally quits The City and over night turns from one of London's most profilic bankers to a forty-something, divorced father of two ,who doesn't quite know where his life went. He decides to hie himself off to the sleepy little village of Incantellaria on Italy's Amalfi coast where his parents have recently bought and renovated an old palace, for some reflection and self-study. When he arrives at the village, he sees on the beach, a young woman and a little boy who instantly tug at his heart; consequently he sees them in and around Incantellaria and unable to get them out of his head, he sets about trying to befriend them. If only it were so simple; Incantellaria hides a few secrets and Luca's parents' Palazzo Montelimone is right in the thick of it. Darting, weaving and dancing in and around the town's morbid and fascinating past is the family of the woman Luca saw on the beach. Who are they all? What are their lives about? Most importantly who is this woman with the sad eyes and the solemn little boy who is with her all the time?
You might form some impressions of the ending while reading the book and they may or may not be true; but this doesn't spoil the pleasure of reading The Italian Matchmaker. This book is first and last about the beauty of life and of love. Both have been celebrated tremendously in a delicious plot, well-fleshed out characters and a setting so mesmerizing that it is all you can do not to catch the next flight to Italy. Whatever minor glitches or complaints the readers may have, they pale beneath the beauty of the book. The Italian Matchmaker is a beautiful, beautiful read. The villagers say that once you come to Incantellaria, it is hard to leave; it is the same thing with Montefiore's books: you can't put them down.