Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Italian For Beginners ~ Book Review and Giveaway!

Ever since I was a young teenager I have been a lover of old movies. Much of the time, when I have the television to myself, you will find it tuned to a black-and-white on TCM! The romantic plots and the beauty of the old film stars--like novels--draw me into another world, dropping me into another time, another place!

In Italian for Beginners Karen Harmel draws her setting and inspiration from one of my favourite classic films, Roman Holiday. Actress Audrey Hepburn, who starred in the film has always been an actress I felt akin to, not surprising since we share our birth date {May 4th}. Based on this history of my interests and the fact that I grew up in a predominately Italian community this book had personal meaning beyond the words on the page!

Italian for Beginners is a glorious romp through Rome, its history, sights, sounds, and of course its rich tastes! This book left me yearning for an Italian vacation but beyond all this ambiance Harmel also made me yearn to follow my dreams, find my true self, and not always play it safe.
Cat Connelly is a New Yorker who has spent her life protecting and caring for her father and sister after her Italian mother left. Cat is 34 and single as her grandmother embarrassingly points out publicly in the midst of her younger sister's wedding ceremony:

"But, Cat!" Grandma exclaimed. She paused to cough violently while Dad rapped on her back. "Cat, dear!" she resumed, after the coughing fit. "Your sister is much younger than you! And now she's getting married? What about that nice young man you were dating, dear? Keith was it? Did you screw it up?"

Humiliated, Cat makes the rare and risky decision to take a vacation, back to Rome, a place she travelled in her youth, the place her mother hails from. She believes she is going to rekindle an old flame but soon realizes Rome means more to her than romance! With the help of new friends Cat re-evaluates her life and confronts the ghosts of her past which only Rome can heal!

This book is filled with the charm of Italy and strong Italian characters I recognize from my youth--The strong, and hot tempered Italian women, the Italian stallions, the nonnas saying mangia tutto! Light and uplifting, this novel is a delight for those with a heart for romance, a roaming soul, and a mind for dreaming! Harmel also includes some fantastic taste experiences for those with an Italian appetite! Nonna would be proud!

5 Northern Mama readers will have the pleasure of venturing Rome between the covers of Karen Harmel's Italian for Beginners! Yes, 5 copies. Thank you Miriam Parker of Hachette Book Group and 5 Spot!

To Enter:
  • Follow or subscribe via email to Northern Mama and comment here! {Required}

Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes Sept. 8th, 2009 10:00 pm CT. For further details see General Giveaway Rules.


  1. I follow your blog- this looks like a great book!

  2. I'm a follower and would like to enter!


  3. I follow and would love to read this one. Thanks!

    dlodden at frontiernet dot net

  4. I follow and I subscribe! And I'd love to read this book!!!

    melacan at hotmail dot com

  5. I do follow! Love this blog! Please count me in!

  6. I follow, it looks like a great light read

  7. This book looks great, count me in I am a new

    jsrogers at shaw dot ca

  8. I'm an email subscriber


  9. This book would be a great gift for my sister!
    I am a follower.


  10. I'm following you! I am hoping to win this for my mom who is trying to learn Italian.

  11. I follow. My motherinlaw is learning Italian and I bet she would love this.

  12. Please include me in your giveaway

    I follow your blog

    Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat - join us at


  13. I follow and am a email subscriber
    copperllama at yahoo dot com