Fiction Book Reviews

Contemporary Fiction | The Temptation of Gracie | Santa Montefiore

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Santa Montefiore’s stories always have emotive power and The Temptation of Gracie is no exception.

Publishing on 12th July (Simon & Schuster UK) in digital, hardcover and audiobook formats, this is one story you won’t want to miss.

Santa Montefiore The Temptation of Gracie

Never give up on your dreams, no matter how long you hold on to them . . .

When Gracie Burton stumbles upon an advertisement for a week-long cookery course in the heart of the Tuscan countryside,she cannot resist, and ploughs her life savings into the trip.

Her only family – daughter Carina and granddaughter Anastasia – are hesitant about what has prompted this seemingly random venture. But they have no sense of Gracie’s past; of what could possibly be calling her to Italy. They have no idea that Gracie is harbouring the secret of an extraordinary life that preceded them . . .

Hardcover: 416 pages

ISBN-10: 1471169588

ISBN-13: 978-1471169588


The Temptation of Gracie is such an emotive read.  With 68 year old Gracie’s stable and predictable life in Badley Compton a world away to the experiences she had as a teen/young woman, during the week at the cookery school in Castello Montefosco her past emerges as she confides in granddaughter Anastasia.  From not knowing each other very well at all, they realise how similar they are (in more ways than one!).  And as much as Anastasia is there for Gracie, Gracie is also the confidant for Anastasia.  I adored the developing bond with these two.

The setting and the cookery school have a magical effect, opening up the hearts of all (and believe me, you can feel the author’s writing opening your heart and the warmth spreading).  Gracie’s daughter Carina, always in control and trying to prove herself, alienates those close to her in her life in London. Even though I could relate to her I didn’t like her at the start … it was amazing to watch change happening 🙂  As Mamma Bernadetta’s daughter Ilaria says to her:

… Avoiding a whole food group is like living half a life.  Living half a life is like being half a person.

(I know you’ll love Ilaria’s descriptions of how the different ingredients work together.)

Bringing some light relief to the story is Flappy Scott-Booth, the ‘queen’ of Badley Compton.  She reminded me of Hyacinth Bucket from the TV series Keeping up Appearances.  Karma works its way through her life too.

It’s obvious in present day that something life changing happened in the past.  I wasn’t tempted to rush through though, savouring every page.  But when it comes, what a shocker!  No wonder it made Gracie change the path of her future.  In a world where reputation is everything, life can turn on a pin …  From the time Gracie visits La Colomba I read mostly through tears.

The Temptation of Gracie is as much about family as it is about true love (everything relates to the heart in some way).  Told in a beautiful writing style with an incredible setting and characters you’ll identify with, I’ve no doubt your heart will be swept away too.

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I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 9+ years. My love of reading, crocheting, being out in nature and positive psychology are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school.

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