“The Italian Party” by Christina Lynch

Genre:          General FictionThe Italian Party
Publisher:    St. Martin’s Press
Pub. Date:    March 20, 2018


I wasn’t expecting to like this book, but it turns out that I did.  What I find so interesting, is that I never pay attention to book covers.  I know many do.  But, for once I did.  Since the cover of this book looks like a romance read (which I am not a fan of) I didn’t intend to read it.  However, one day when I was bookless I clicked it open, and lo and behold, I was won over.   This is a hilarious comedy about a young newly married American couple who move to Italy in the 1950s.  The book is a love letter to picturesque Italy.  You will be able to imagine the views and smell the aroma of the cuisine, while the author simultaneously pokes fun at Italian politics.   As for romance, that is not this genre but there is forbidden sex in the tale.

The couple marries keeping secrets from one another.   The wife is pregnant with another man’s child.  The husband is a CIA agent, with another secret that I cannot share without it being a spoiler.  There is also a teenage Italian boy, who the husband hires to teach his wife Italian (he can already speak the language).  However, the real reason for the boy’s employment is to help the husband spy on the local Communist Party, which is the real reason for their move to Italy.  The wife is clueless and thinks they are there for him to sell tractors.  Of course, being a comedy, everything that can go wrong does go wrong.   The husband turns out to be a bumbling spy and the wife falls for another married man.  I didn’t think that the story needed to add in an affair, it took away from some of the fun.  Still, all in all, I did a lot of chuckling. There is a surprise ending that reminds me a bit of the film “Marriage Italian Style.” The whole book is pure fun.  And for me, it is a lesson in that you cannot judge a book by its cover.

I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

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