- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: HQ Fiction - AU (20 August 2018)
- ISBN-10: 1489257810
- ISBN-13: 978-1489257819
- Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 3 x 23.5 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 322 g
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
The Right Place Paperback – 20 Aug 2018
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About the Author
Carla Caruso was born in Adelaide, Australia, and only 'escaped' for three years to work as a magazine journalist and stylist in Sydney. Previously, she was a gossip columnist and fashion editor at Adelaide's daily newspaper, The Advertiser. She has since freelanced for titles including Woman's Day, Cleo and Shop Til You Drop.
These days, she writes fiction in between playing mum to twin sons Alessio and Sebastian, making fashion jewellery, and restoring
vintage furniture. Oh, plus checking her daily horoscopes, jogging, and devouring trashy TV shows!
Find out more on Carla's website, or follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
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4 customer reviews
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The Right Place features Esta and Esta’s granddaughter, Nella. Esta’s story starts when she moves to Australia from Italy in the 50s. Esta struggles with homesickness as well as the language barrier. She and her husband run a market garden, Torrente Blu, in Adelaide and slowly, with the help of her passion for cooking, she starts to make friends, some fellow Italian immigrants and some Aussies. As the years go on, however, she still pines for her family and native Italy.
With Esta’s death, Nella inherits Torrente Blu. Nella had been living in Melbourne but her dress shop there failed at the same time as her boyfriend dumped her and she decides to return to Torrente Blu. Her grand plan is, of course, to ready the property for sale. The fly in the ointment is her neighbour, Adrian.
Adrian leases the land of Torrente Blu, giving him two blocks of land to plant out his crops. Nella and Adrian were childhood neighbours and friends, growing up almost like siblings. Adrian is not too happy to see Nella, however. She not only has the power to ruin his business should she sell Torrente Blu, he also believes she’s turned her back on her nonna and Adelaide. To complicate matters further, Adrian’s twin brother, Davide, was Nella’s first love. Although I’m not a fan of love triangles, Caruso adds this plot line without making it tacky. I must say, in fact, that Adrian and Nella’s story was probably one of the best contemporary romances I’ve read for a while.
Up to Nella returning to Torrente Blu, she had little interest in gardening or cooking. Instead her passions were turned towards fashion but whilst cleaning out the house, Nella finds her nonna’s recipes and she starts to have rethink the direction of her life. The recipes are interspersed throughout the book. All Italian, of course, they literally made my mouth water. There is an index at the end of the book as well as extra recipes, as many as some recipe books I have purchased in the past. They make purchasing The Right Place double the worth. I’ll definitely give some of them a try.
I loved the Italian characters and especially the struggles Esta faced in the 50s. With so many people of Italian heritage living in Australia, we forget that once upon a time they, and their food, was considered quite different and ‘foreign’. (Although, if the Italians hadn’t come to Australia, my coffee dependency might not be such an issue. Hee.)
I also enjoyed the Adelaide setting. I’ve never visited the city, but it’s definitely on my to-do list and Caruso’s books have a lot of influence in this area.
I think The Right Place should appeal to most audiences and I highly recommend it. I give it a 4 ½ out of 5.
But once Nella picks up her Nonna’s handwritten cookbook, things start to change. She remembers the time she spent here, she remembers Adrian and his twin brother Davide. Part of the complication for Nella is that Adrian has been leasing part of her Nonna’s property for his market garden.
The story moves between Nella’s experience in the present, and Esta’s experience of moving to Australia in the 1950s. Nella dreams of a return to the fashion scene, while Esta had dreamed of a return to Italy. Are dreams always of being somewhere else, of doing something different?
Nella’s time at Torrente Blu is longer than she’d expected it to be (it takes time to pack up a life time of belongings and to sort through memories) and the longer she stays, the more comfortable she starts to feel. And then, Davide Tomaso returns. What will Nella do?
What a delightful novel! I kept wanting to chide Nella, to get her to focus on the possibilities in the present. I felt for Esta, as she tried to make sense of her new life in Australia, as she dealt with tragedy and came to terms with all the changes. I loved Esta’s traditional Italian recipes (with Nella’s notes).
Was I happy with the ending? Absolutely. Will I spoil it for you? No way. Enjoy it for yourself.
Note: My thanks to HQ Fiction for providing me with an ARC of this book for review purposes.
I really enjoyed this book, often smiling at the banter, sometimes wanting to slap Nella for being an idiot, putting what she had at risk for pipedreams. Carla Caruso really makes the characters come to life, I could see the tomatoes on the vine and smell the homemade cooking in the kitchen. The tantalising addition some mouthwatering recipes is a bonus. I can't wait to try some of them.
The only drawback I found with this book was the resolution was a little too quick, too neat. But all in all a very enjoyable book and I look forward to reading more of the author's work in the future.
My thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Adrian Tomaso worked the market garden and had paid rent to Nella’s nonna. The arrangement was continuing, but Adrian was grumpy, surly and kept to himself. They were bound to clash – that was why Nella needed to have things done quickly. But the discovery of her nonna’s old cookbook – hand written with the fabulous Italian recipes she used to love – put a hold on her plans.
Esta Feliciano arrived in Australia with her daughter Olivia in 1950 after her husband Lucio had moved from their home in Italy, which had been decimated by the war, to establish himself for his family’s arrival. He loved Australia; Adelaide in particular – the small piece of land he’d named Torrente Blu was his pride and joy. But could his beloved wife accept and settle in the vast countryside under the scorching Australian sun?
As Nella’s plans unraveled, and new ideas took hold, she discovered things about her grandparents she had either forgotten or hadn’t known. The tomatoes of the market garden were edging their way into Nella’s heart. What was she to do? Where was home? Where was the right place?
The Right Place by Aussie author Carla Carusa – wow! What a fabulous story! Laden with wonderful Italian recipes; set in areas of Adelaide that I know; The Right Place felt familiar and completely perfect. The story takes place in the 1950s and current day – all in Adelaide. It tells the stories of two women – Esta and her granddaughter Nella. The Right Place is my first by this author; it won’t be my last. Most impressed – and highly recommended.