Book Review

‘Only in Naples: Lessons in Food and Famiglia from My Italian Mother-in-Law ‘ by Katherine Wilson

oin kwSTORY: In the tradition of M. F. K. Fisher and Peter Mayle, this enchantingly warm and witty memoir follows American-born Katherine Wilson on her adventures abroad, where a three-month rite of passage in Naples turns into a permanent embrace of this boisterous city on the Mediterranean.

It is all thanks to a surprising romance, a new passion for food, and a spirited woman who will become her mother-in-law—and teach her to laugh, to seize joy, and to love.

REVIEW: Katherine has arrived in Naples for a 3-month unpaid internship at the U.S. Consulate. Her parents in the U.S. are well-traveled and so it is only expected that Katherine try this adventure. Even with Naples’s reputation for being dirty and dangerous, she decides to ignore the negativity and go. With just basic Italian under her belt, she dives right in. She soon meets Salvatore and his family welcomes her into their home. Katherine loves the delicious food prepared by Salvatore’s mother, Raffaella, and blends right into their home life.

As Katherine’s Italian improves, her knowledge of the daily life in Neapolitan Italy increases as well. Raffaella is the one who prepares the meals using only the freshest ingredients and prepared exactly the way the family recipes have been handed down in the family. She loves Salvatore’s family so much and she learns so much from them such as how the Italians view housekeeping, doing laundry, and even using the bidet. The holidays, customs, and family life are all important to the family.

Her job at the Consulate is easy and she especially enjoys the 2-hour lunches. As her time in the job comes to an end, she decides that she wants to stay longer so she gets a job teaching English.

As Katherine becomes totally immersed in the Italian life, she realizes just how much she loves all of it – and Salvatore too.

The book follows her as she marries Salvatore, plans her own home, and starts her family.

I really enjoyed this book and learned so much. The author explains a lot about the language and the ways she learned on her own to discover the country, the people, and the customs. As someone who was totally immersed in France for a number of years, I understand how difficult it is to struggle to learn the language, customs, and daily life of a foreign country. Many people would just give up and go home. But there is nothing like knowing you have worked hard and conquered it all. I had a lot of laughs as I read this book for I experienced the same things in France that she did in Italy. It was a big change but one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Three cheers for Katherine.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b


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