Friday, August 03, 2012
"Luca has died but he has not left me. He is in the blood tht goes through my viens, he is in every thought that crosses my mind, he is in every footstep I take, every flower I pick, every bird, every leaf, every raindrop, every word, every colour, every fingerprint, every star, every dawn and every sunset.
He is in every breath and heartbeat. Luca. The love of my life."
So says Liv, as the novel ends and she prepares to move on with her life. Her tale begins with the back story of her mutinous teenage years, working in the local Italian restaurant with the colourful Felicone family; at its hub, Maurizio and Angela and their five children, one of whom is Luca.
The narrative moves between the back-story and the present as Olivia tries to come to terms with the death of Luca from a car accident. It quickly becomes apparant that there is a rift between Liv and Luca's family and that Angela blames Liv for an unspoken tragedy. In search of some peace, Liv leaves London to return to her childhood haunts of Watersford, where Luca is buried. Whilst there she resumes some contact with his family, including his twin brother Marc. Liv comes to the realisation that Marc is suffering a loss almost as painful as hers and their joint desolation draws them both into a passionate affair, that brings their story to an explosive and painful end.
Douglas writes with great sensitivity about love and loss; her characters are three-dimensional and real. A wonderful find, I was bereft when I finished their story; I wished I'd known Luca in real life and that's the test of good characterisation. I read this book in one sitting and have scoured Amazon for her others. I hope no one expects me to feed them until I have read them all!
What's been your favourite read this summer? I'd love some recommendations...