When in Rome by Nicky Pellegrino

When In Rome by Nicky PellegrinoWhen in Rome by Nicky Pellegrino* takes us to the Eternal City in the 1950s and into the life of Serafina, a young girl trying to carve a different path for herself than the one her mother has in mind for her. Through sheer luck, Serafina finds herself working for Mario Lanza, a famous Italian-American tenor and movie star of that era.

Indeed, although the book is told from Serafina’s perspective, When in Rome is really Lanza’s story, which is a bit of a shame because Serafina and her family surely had many interesting stories to tell as well; I would have preferred more of a focus on them.

That said, Pellegrino’s research into Lanza’s life is impeccable, and anyone interested in the life and times of Mario Lanza would surely love this book. I wish my grandmother were still alive to read it! Unfortunately, knowing how Lanza’s story ends, so to speak, did take away from the enjoyment of the book a bit for me.

Overall, this book was OK to me — good enough to keep me reading, but I didn’t much think about the characters once I closed the book. It also didn’t transport me to 1950s Rome as much as I would have liked, most likely because so much time was spent inside Lanza and his wife’s lives and not out in the city.

Pellegrino’s writing is solid and descriptive, however, and it’s evident that she knows how to weave together an excellent tale, so I will be seeking out more of her work. And I can also see other readers loving When in Rome, so if you can get a sample chapter or two to see whether you’d get into it, I’d highly recommend doing that.

I wavered between three and a half and four espresso cups, but I’m rounding up. Pellegrino is simply too good of a writer to rate less.

Four out of five espresso cups!

* The link to purchase the book is to The Book Depository because it is not currently available at Amazon.com; it is, however, available at Amazon.co.uk.


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** NOTE: I received a review copy of this book from the author; the opinions expressed are my own. The link in the post above is an affiliate link, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

5 Beans of Wisdom to “When in Rome by Nicky Pellegrino”
  1. Grace Kelly

    Love your reviews Michelle,
    Thanks for being honest, the cover was nearly having me buy it straight up I was thinking it would be full of exciting tales and mentions of hubs in Rome.

    Not so interested in Lanzo’s life.

    Look forward to next reviews.

    Espresso cheers to you from down here in Puglia ,

    michelle Reply:

    The cover and tagline (“What happens when a city steals your heart?”) are awesome indeed! Unfortunately I don’t think the book matched up very well with them…I’m eager to read more of Pellegrino’s books, though, as I think I’m going to love them based on her way with words and storytelling 🙂

    Grace Kelly Reply:

    I’d love to get lost in some novels, especially about Italy, or Italian Cities can you recommend another one Michelle?
    I’ll look also on your site.
    Hugs G

    michelle Reply:

    As fate would have it, I work with a publishing company that focuses on Italy-themed books and we have two new releases that have been getting great reviews. At Least You’re in Tuscany by Jennifer Criswell is a memoir about Jennifer’s first year in Montepulciano, and True Vines by Diana Strinati Baur is a novel set partially in piemontese wine country. I think you’ll enjoy them both, but yes, do have a peek at other reviews I’ve done as well 🙂

    Grace Kelly Reply:

    Thanks lovely!
    I liked the sound of Espressologist but sadly no UK Kindle edition is avail to download.

    I’ll have a look at these others.




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