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Lindsey's Literary Leanings

Book Reviews - Contemporary Fiction / Biographies / Autobiographies

  • Lindsey Skelton-Smith

Ciao Cariad (Author: Johanna Cogbill)

Book Cover - Ciao Cariad

Engaging, Heart Warming, Entertaining

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Family/Chicklit

'Ciao Cariad' by Johanna Cogbill - Author

Alex had taken the decision to remain in Italy when, Jared, her ex-boyfriend of five years now, had flown back to the UK to continue his education.

She intended to make a life for herself in Sorrento, and five years on, she had done just that; with a beautiful apartment, a job she loved at Riviolli's and daily banter with Luca, owner of 'Luca's, the cafe across the street from her work place; Luca showing his apparent concern & maybe disapproval of Alex's dedication to her work e-mails, accompanied by caffeine, out of office hours, indicating that Alex was perhaps, in need of more fun in her life, which, whilst this may have been a somewhat accurate description, Alex was content with her lot. She had also landed the biggest account of her career, and her client, was flying over to seal the deal.

However, fate was to send her on a slightly different course, and whilst that meant re-uniting with those she loved and hadn't seen in forever, returning to Porthcawl, also meant the possibility of re- acquainting herself with a face from the past, and that was something she didn't know if she was ready for.....

I chose to read 'Ciao Cariad', because of it's brightly coloured attractive cover, and it's interesting imaginitive title; part Italian - one of the settings of the novel, and part Welsh - the Author's home, also a setting. It is primarily a book for the ladies, with a female narrative running throughout which made it ideal for me. The two main protaganists being, Alex who resides in Sorrento, and Connie who has always remained in their hometown of Porthcawl.

When Alex comes up with a plan to keep the wheels of her industry turning back in Sorrento, whilst she has to be with her mother, I did have a moment of thinking that it would have been a lot simpler if Connie had stayed with Carole, allowing Alex to clinch her deal and carry on....however, that would have made for a very short story. The characters were likeable and believable and the dialect within the writing, gave them an authenticity, as each character either had a Welsh or Italian accent that I could hear in my head whilst reading. The connection between the characters across their two worlds was well written and beautifully intertwined.

The bond between the two girls was almost sisterly, they had known each other for so long. The relationship had certainly survived the test of time and their willingness to do anything to assist the other was tangible. The character of Wyatt, provided a good background storyline, and the twist towards the end, integrating him back into the storyline was clever. Even if 'The song' did make me cringe!

The main plot line of Connie's paternity is really the star of the story, leading the reader to the possibility of her 'padre' being in any one of a number of locations, only to eventually find him closer than she could have imagined. I did see both of these plot twists coming but it did nothing to spoil my enjoyment of the book.

This well thought out fusion of nationalities coming together for the benefit of all, is something that should be mirrored in the real world.

Ciao Cariad is cleverly imagined with thoroughly though out plots. The characters are easy to immediately warm to, particularly as the Welsh and the Italians are amongst the friendliest people in the world, which gives the book a warmth that invites the reader in. However, unfortunately though, for me, the book let's itself down technically in it's presentation. Anyone who reads the blurb concerning the Author will be aware, that her daughter's had the manuscript published for her birthday. They claim to have had their Mother's book proof-read, edited and formatted. No where can I find evidence of this, particularly with chapter 25, where the title heading is on one page, and the writing starts on the opposite side. There are many grammatical and punctuation errors, which in my opinion, required correcting and tidying up, before, being put out there to the wider public.

Whilst these errors didn't detract from the enjoyment of the story, I did find them very distracting. The fact that this has not been done, leaves me sad for the book & it's characters, and concerned for the reputation of the Author should she intend to publish further novels.

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