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What Are Buzz Residents Reading?: Q&A with Catherine Gentry

Cindy Burnett
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Catherine Gentry

Buzz resident Catherine Gentry recommends her favorite recent read. 

This week I interviewed Buzz  resident and writer Catherine Gentry about what she has read recently and loved. She selected One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle.

The novel follows Katy as she reconciles herself with her mother’s death. When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.

But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life. And then Carol appears – in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and 30 years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how – all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. 

Author Gabriele Zevin says about the book “One Italian Summer is about love, mothers, daughters, the timelessness of Positano, and food. But mainly, love – the love between friends, the love between parents and children, the love between spouses, the love between strangers, the love of self, the loves that consume and last a lifetime, and the loves that are pleasant but fleeting. I find Rebecca Serle’s vision of the world to be profoundly hopeful: love is unexpected and all around us; love can transform and transcend death.”

I also really enjoyed One Italian Summer and had the opportunity to interview Rebecca about her inspiration for the story and much more. To learn more about the book spoiler-free, you can listen here.

Here is what Catherine has to say about it:

What is the best book that you have read recently?

My favorite book of the past few months is One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle.

What did you like about it? What made it stand out to you?

I found this story of a bond between mother and daughter to be especially moving, as my mom has always been my best friend. Katy's mom has always been her best friend and strongest supporter, the one she calls first, and when her mother dies, Katy feels lost and alone. Her decision to go alone on their planned mother-daughter trip to the Amalfi coast offers intriguing possibilities for healing, especially when Katy encounters and befriends her mother’s younger self. The idea of being friends with my mom outside the mother-daughter relationship resonated with me as a way to empathize with and find understanding and forgiveness of our younger selves. And the description of the breathtaking Italian coastline and all the delicious food made me feel like I was on vacation. 

How did you learn about this book?

I learned about the book from a good friend who knows how much I love to travel. And eat Italian food! 

What are you reading now?

I just started reading Brené Brown's Atlas of the Heart. I’m continually inspired by her to find courage and empathy as we learn to tell our stories.  I’m also reading The Maid by Nina Prose, a story that revolves around Molly, a neurodivergent character caught up in a mystery at the hotel where she works. The dialogue and description, as well as some warm-hearted characters who surround Molly, make this one a delight to read. 

I would love to hear what you are reading! Feel free to drop it in the comments below.

For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see Cindy’s monthly Buzz Reads column, her Thoughts from a Page Podcast or follow @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram. Find upcoming Conversations from a Page events here.

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