Italy, 1946. “Estee, I bought this ring years ago and have kept it safe ever since. You’re the only woman I’ve ever loved.” She reached for Felix’s hand and gently closed it over the box. “No,” she whispered. “I want you to propose only when you’re truly free.”
Estee always believed that she would spend her life with her childhood sweetheart Felix. But when her incredible gift for dance gave her the opportunity to move to a big city and provide for her mother, she knew she had to sacrifice her happiness for her family’s future and a chance at a better life.
But years later, in a city of over a million people, Felix finds Estee. Due to marry the daughter of a prominent family, he is prepared to sacrifice everything to be with the love of his life. But Estee knows what is at stake: his family’s love and his livelihood could be lost forever if she says yes. Can she really follow her heart if it means him losing everything?
London, present day: Lily clutches a faded piece of paper in her hands, knowing that her life will never be the same again. Whilst grieving for her late father, she is told that her grandmother was born in a home for unmarried mothers, the only clues to her past contained on a handwritten Italian recipe and an old theatre programme.
Desperate for answers, Lily accepts a job on an Italian vineyard – a dream her father once shared. Lily receives a warm welcome from the owner’s charming son Antonio and as they chat long into the night, Antonio offers to help her discover her family’s heritage.
But arriving in Estee and Felix’s village, Lily unearths a tragic love story which has the power to change her future. As she unravels the truth of her own legacy, she begins to fall for Italy and for Antonio. Can Lily give up everything she has ever known to rebuild her life or will the risk of heartbreak force her home?
An utterly enchanting and heartbreaking novel about lost loves, family secrets and enduring hope. Perfect for fans of Santa Montefiore, Lucinda Riley and Victoria Hislop.
Title: The Italian Daughter
Author: Soraya M. Lane
Series: The Lost Daughters #1
Genre: Historical Fiction
Date of Publication: September 23, 2022
My Rating: 5 Stars
In this heartbreaking story, In 1945 Lake Como, Estee shows amazing strength of character. Estee started off as a young ballerina with hopes of joining La Scala, a highly sought after ballet company. With a very demanding mother, and a new friendship struck with Felix, Estee finds herself torn more than once. As a child, she has big dreams, and was being taught by her mother that winning came at a price. Thankfully, she struck up a friendship with 14-year-old Felix when she was 12 years old. Her story continues with heartbreak, love and loss.
In present day London, we have Lily, who has just come back from New Zealand. Lily is a winemaker who travels to different countries learning every nuance involved in the making of wine. She got her love for winemaking from her father, and has been following her dreams ever since. Grapes, soil and every aspect of winemaking comes naturally to Lily. Lily is hoping to make another trip, but before she sets out, she finds an odd note among her grandmother's belongings. This leads her to a box that bore her grandmother's name. The contents of that box will change Lily's life forever.
Lily is about to take on a new job, working with a winegrower and his family in the Como region in Italy. Perhaps this is fortuitous, as the contents of the box she found proves that her grandmother may have been Italian. While heading off to Italy for the next several months, she hopes to ask around to try and dig up things about her grandmother's past. More than finding answers, Lily also meets Antonio, the winegrower's son in Como, and she just might finally take a chance with her heart.
Estee from 1945. Lily from present day. In what ways do their lives converge? While Lily's story was one of hope, it was Estee's story that broke my heart into pieces more than once. We find how Estee's relationship with Felix began, flourished and floundered. Along the way we realize how her heart was fully his at a time when he could not offer her the same, although the love he had for her was palpable. It was this book that finally made me understand why certain decisions are made when they come with good and altruistic reasons.
The Italian Daughter is book one in the The Lost Daughters series by Soraya M. Lane. I was fully enthralled with this story and could not put it down. I got this ebook also as an audiobook which was expertly narrated by Zoe Mills. Listening to this book brought both sadness and joy, and the narrator did a fabulous job helping my emotions to ride that roller coaster of all the feels. This wonderful story wrapped up with a wonderful conclusion and now I cannot wait for book two in this series, which I believe will be The Sugar King's Daughter. That second book will also be in dual timeline fashion.
Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Soraya Lane graduated with a law degree before realising that law wasn't the career for her and that her future was in writing. She is the author of historical and contemporary women's fiction, including the #1 Kindle bestselling novels The Last Correspondent and The Secrets We Left Behind.