Rebecca Serle’s latest novel, set largely in the beautiful Italian coastal town of Positano (thankfully described in exquisite detail), begins with a death. In an attempt to work through her grief after the loss of her mom—her closest confidante—Katy embarks on the Italian vacation she’d been planning with her. In fact, its a trip that Carol, her mom, took when she was a young woman herself, and Katy is hoping to experience some of that Italian magic Carol told her about—but she gets a bit more than she bargained for. 

Where did the idea for this novel come from?

Rebecca Searle: “In the summer of 2019, I took a trip with my mom to Rome and then I went on to Positano. My mom, much like Carol, had always talked about the summer she spent in Italy when she was 20; she fell in love with this guy and had this magical Italian summer and hadn’t been back since. It got me thinking about all the women our mothers are before we get to know them, and I wanted to write about that. I really wanted to tell a mother-daughter love story. My mom is the great love of my life, and I think a lot about what it will be like when shes not here anymore, and I think this book is a bit of a love letter to my future self in that way.”

How much of yourself and your own mother are in these characters?

RS: “I think I often write to figure out how I feel about my life and in some ways, I was sorting through that. Ultimately, in this world, we have to become responsible for ourselves. No matter how close we are with our parents, no matter how much we love our mothers, no matter how much we think they have the answers to our lives more than we do, at a certain point we have to stand up and say ‘This is my own life, and the choices that I make are mine.’ I relate to that in Katy. Katy is really at this place where she has to become sovereign in herself.

And my mom is an incredible friend and a wonderful cook, and shes someone that people go to when theyre in crisis, and she helps people plan parties, and shes the person whos there for a celebration or in a crisis. Shes the person I go to for everything.”

Did you always know there was going to be a romance?

RS: “Its Italy! You have to have a bit of romance. I like to read books that have romance, and I also really like to write romance. I think that I write sort of non-traditional love stories.” 

Be sure to pick up One Italian Summer, a heartwarming mother-daughter love story from New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Serle.