Kate Harper has always loved the painting that has hung in her parents’ dining room for years, never suspecting that it is worth a fortune. When her art dealer boyfriend cheats her family out of the proceeds of the painting’s sale, she is left devastated and alone.
Kate discovers that two hundred years ago, the girl in the painting, Charlotte Browne, ran off to Rome with the artist who painted her portrait, but her eventual fate is unknown.
Hoping to uncover the mystery of what happened to Charlotte, Kate seizes the chance of a summer job in Rome, where she strikes up a friendship with Jamie Taylor, an English artist. As they explore the city and start to piece together the surprising secrets of Charlotte’s life, Kate finds herself wondering if a summer in Rome can mend a broken heart…
This is a slow burning romance set in the magical city of Rome in 2016. Having been defrauded by her boyfriend and lost her job in a London Art Gallery, Kate Harper has taken a temporary job in the “English House”. Relieved to find that her boss, Briony and co-worker Ariel are friendly and welcoming she also enjoys the company of Artist in Residence, Jamie Taylor. He persuades her to take up sketching and painting once again and her increased confidence as a tour guide helps to heal her heart.
She had chosen this location because of her interest in Charlotte Browne, an English girl who had lived there with her artist lover 200 years earlier. Kate’s family had owned a painting of Charlotte, but no-one knew what had happened to her after the artist had abandoned her. As Jamie takes Kate to visit the many essential places to see in Rome, we share her pleasure, described so well by the author. Kate also meets Conte Donatello Chiaretti who becomes a good friend even though he lives in a palace.
Interspersed between the story of Kate’s life in Rome are sections from Charlotte’s diary which describe why she decided to accompany the artist, Edmund Carey, to Rome. We read of her delight in the works of art she sees just as we do with Kate. Thus the two stories blend well.
This is a very satisfying novel of a young woman discovering her own gifts, among a group of people who care for her. The “Will they? Won’t they?” aspect of her relationship with Jamie add frisson to a rewarding read.
Rome for the Summer on Amazon UK