This book was such a pleasant surprise. I downloaded it into my Kindle because it was free, so I didn't expect much.
Elizabeth Caldwell is a single mom whose daughter Marina has just graduated from college and is headed to her first big job. Marina already has her life all planned out, engaged to her high school sweetheart and planning to pay for it all themselves. She knows when they will be able to afford children, and she knows most of all that she will not turn out like her mother.
For Marina's graduation, Elizabeth plans a two-week vacation in Florence for the two of them. The news is met with obvious disappointment from Marina, who has assumed the tickets were for her and her fiancee, Jotham.
There is a lot to admire about Elizabeth. Even though she is met with scorn and eye-rolls from her daughter (can't we all relate to THAT?), she perseveres. Like me, she never seems to know exactly the right thing to say to Marina. Unlike me, she appears to know when not to say anything at all.
I don't want to give anything away, but the trip becomes a life-changing one. Mother and daughter bond in unexpected ways, and the ending gives every mother of a daughter hope that all is not lost.
The book was full of cultural information, which I personally enjoyed. I could relate some of it to my own memories of Florence, but I spent a mere afternoon there as opposed to an entire two weeks. The only criticism I have is that the author felt compelled to translate the name of each and every dish Elizabeth and Marina ordered. Either let us figure it out ourselves, or just use the English name for it in the first place.
This was a must-read for anyone with children, but especially moms of daughters.