In her latest book, Carla Caruso gives a romantic story laced with a great zest for life, and with the opportunity to reflect on what really matters in life.
The Right Place is all about finding your place in the world, through the eyes of Nella and through the life of her nonna Esta, and to a lesser extent the women and men with whom they live.
At the start of the story, Nella is a young fashionista, living the high life in Melbourne and disparaging her hometown Adelaide. Her world is falling apart however as her boutique has failed and her relationship with Matt has broken down. She has to return to Adelaide to clean out her grandparents home that she has inherited. Her mother is not up to this yet and has another part of the inheritance.
Complicating matters the market garden is now leased to her childhood friend, Adrian, now enemy, because of rivalry with his twin brother, Davide. Of course, Adrian is incredibly attractive. The romantic plot line is fairly straightforward with the usual attractions and misunderstandings.
There are several things that make The Right Place stand out.
This book is a tribute to the migrant community of the 1950s who came from war-torn Europe and established their families and communities here, working very hard and adapting to a culture whose language, food and traditions were so different to their own. Like Esta, they find fitting in a struggle and cope with homesickness while raising their Australian children and preserving the traditions of home.
Esta finds friendship and support with her countrywoman Rosanna, as Nella does with Fabiana. It is a tribute to the Australians, such as Mabel, who extended the hand of friendship to Esta and made her welcome. Mabel and Esta embark on a mutual learning experience.
Nella discovers the book of recipes Esta wrote as a way of learning English, and Nella learns to cook these at places appropriate to the story as she struggles with her own identity and senses of belonging and her dilemma over what to do to the property. The recipes are printed through the book, so this has the form of a recipe book and story.
This is not only a modern romance but also the love story of Nella’s grandparents from the days of their courtship in Italy, the separation as Lucio establishes a base for them in Australia, their reunion, the grief of miscarriages, the hard daily work all their lives.
Adrian produces and prepares food with his heart unaware of the methods of modern marketing. Nella takes on the role of marketing expert and finds her true passion in food.
If you want to read a book full life and enthusiasm that reflects Australia, this is a romantic story I can recommend.
The Right Place by Carla Caruso is published in digital and printed editions by HQ Fiction.