If you’re read any of Katherine Reay’s previous books, you know about her unique way of weaving classic fiction throughout her stories. A Portrait of Emily Price takes it to the next level not only giving readers bits of Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and James Joyce but it also takes readers on a journey through the world of art.
Fascinated by how things work, Emily Price is the go-to fix-it girl for the insurance company she works for. While in Atlanta on a job, Emily runs into the Vassallo brothers and agrees to help the younger brother, Ben, with fixing up his aunt and uncle’s restaurant. As the two spend time together, Emily and Ben’s relationship blooms, and when Ben asks Emily to travel to Italy with him, she agrees without hesitation.
But once in Ben’s small village in Italy, Emily finds herself out of place. Ben’s mother does not like her, the house is always crowded and more often than not, she’s lost in the conversations going on around her, and Ben’s busy at his family’s restaurant. It doesn’t take long for Emily to learn that instead of fixing Ben’s family, she’s breaking it. When she uncovers a family secret, she’s not sure she belongs there at all.
From Atlanta to the Italian countryside, from literature to art, Reay paints Emily’s life in beautiful words. What I love about her books is that each of her characters is unique, likable but flawed, and we get to take the journey of discovery with them. For Emily Price, the lesson that has to be learned is that she can’t fix everything.
***The publisher provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.