Italian Summer by Maria Grazia Swan {Jenna’s Review}

Posted 16 July, 2014 by Jenna / 4 Comments

A romantic and character-driven mystery.

Italian Summer by Maria Grazia Swan (Mina’s Adventures, #3)

Genre: Romantic mystery
Format: Paperback provided by the author for an honest review
Read: June 10-14, 2014
Maria Grazia Swan | @scrittrice | Facebook
Italian Summer on Goodreads


Book Order

  1. Love Thy Sister
  2. Bosom Buddies
  3. Italian Summer


When they say, “you can’t go home again,” they’re talking about Mina Calvi, twenty-something Italian transplant to California. Still nursing a broken heart, desperate to discover her place in the world, Mina arrives in the town of her birth in Veneto, Italy. In the decade she’s been gone, the village nestled at the foot of the Dolomites has changed much, yet remained oddly the same. Friends have moved on, family members passed away. Mina feels even more alone in her motherland than in America, and there seem to be too many bizarre deaths for such a tiny, serene village. Then a fresh chance at true love and a welcome bonding with a dear new friend give her hope. But the deadly secrets moldering in the centuries-old cemetery could rip it all from her and leave Mina emptier than before. Will she find herself or lose her heart again? Will Mina survive her Italian Summer?


My Thoughts

In Italian Summer, Italian-born Mina Calvi returns to her hometown after having been living in California for ten years. She’s carrying a heavy heart; mourning the loss of both life and love. I think it’s safe to say that Mina is lost, adrift in her own life.

Once back home in Veneto, Mina finds that not much has changed in the small town. She soon bumps into a former classmate and befriends her upstairs neighbor, Emilia. And, before she knows it, a familiar face is on her doorstep – a welcome harbor in the personal storm swirling around her.

Mina is a sympathetic character, but I felt a little at a loss having not read her previous two adventures. The author hints at and references previous happenings, and I could kind of piece together the general picture, but there were some confusing points as I was reading. That said, Maria Grazia Swan has crafted a laid-back story with threads of romance, elements of two unsolved mysteries, and a canvas of characters whose stories intersect with surprising results. The narration is not necessarily the cleanest or the best written, but it is engaging and Maria Grazia Swan lets her characters shine. She creates people who readers want to know more about and that, above all, keeps us turning the pages.

Girl with Book Lungs

Filed under: ESR: 7, Mystery, Review: Jenna, Romance, ,


4 Responses to “Italian Summer by Maria Grazia Swan {Jenna’s Review}”

  1. Mary, thanks, I hope you like the book, I wrote it last spring while in Italy, I describe my own little home town. I avoided mentioning the name because I intend to visit again, if you kn what I mean. Maria Grazia Swan

  2. Cecilia

    I’ve read Italian Summer. I liked just for the reasons you wrote. It has so much more substance than many books out there today. Somehow “cozy” have become a word to describe silly one-dimensional characters in a predictable plot with unfunny humor. The old-fashioned cozy has more substance, like Maria’s book. If you are looking for a REAL cozy book, read this, and the other books in the series. They are lots of fun. Mina is an unconventional protagonist.

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