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The Villa Girls: Book review

Author Nicky Pellegrino

Reviewed by's Steph Zajkowski

Nicky Pellegrino's latest novel The Villa Girls takes us back to her old stomping ground, with the action oscillating between London and the Italian coast.

Revisiting characters and places from previous novels, The Villa Girls is not a sequel to The Italian Wedding or Recipe for Life, but more of a sister story.

You can read them all or read just one, but appreciate that they are intertwined.

In The Villa Girls, the Martinelli family are back; still charming and shambolic, they welcome orphan Rosie into their chaotic home.

Uptight and standoffish, Rosie's teen tragedy has convinced her that she doesn't need people, but the Martinellis are hard to resist.

Daughter Addolorata Martinelli insists that Rosie come on a European vacation with her and two girlfriends; they're to rent a holiday villa somewhere in the sun.

Feeling like an outcast, a reluctant Rosie tags along. However, it seems, in the end Rosie might be the one whose life is most touched by her villa days.

The holidays become tradition and it's on one such escape that Rosie meets Italian hunk, Enzo.

Rosie and Enzo have a holiday romance that seems set to become something more serious until she discovers that he's not entirely what he seems.

The title of the novel is slightly misleading; I felt there was only perfunctory exploration of the other three Villa Girls. Lou's drinking problem is barely touched on; Tina, the Rottweiler journo never really stands out in my mind. Because this is really Rosie and Enzo's story.

Emotionally closed Rosie is a difficult character to warm to, but I think Pellegrino gets us there in the end.

Once more I really enjoyed the Italian setting of the story - you feel like you've smelled the air and tasted the food in the markets.

If you're looking for a place to escape to as autumn draws in, you can't go wrong with The Villa Girls.

Read's exclusive interview with Nicky Pellegrino .

The Villa Girls by Nicky Pellegrino
Publisher: Hachette
RRP: $39.99
Available: now.