A beautiful Italian island, delicious food, romance and many secrets, I was captivated from the very first page.
The scent of freshly baked biscuits, lemon and aniseed reminds Elettra of her mother’s kitchen. But her mother is in a coma, and the family bakery is failing. Elettra is distraught; she has many unanswered questions about her mother’s childhood – Edda was a secretive woman. The only clue is a family heirloom: a necklace inscribed with the name of an island.
Elettra buys a one-way ticket to that island, just off the coast of Sardinia. Once there, she discovers a community of women, each lost in their own way. They live in a crumbling convent, under threat from the local mayor and his new development plan. It is within the convent’s dark corridors and behind its secret doors that Elettra discovers a connection to her mother’s past. She also falls in love again: with friendship, baking and adventure.
Edda has been in a coma for almost a year, during this time her daughter begins running her bakery but falls deep into debt so she takes the decision to close it for good. She has no other relatives. Her mother never talked about her past so Elletra doesn’t even know who her father is. The only thing that has a connection with her mother’s history is a necklace with the name of an island – The Titan. Not being able to communicate with her mum and reveal the mystery of her past she has no choice but to buy a ticket and go to the Titan (a fictional island between Sardinia and Corsica).
Once there with almost no money she agreed to stay in an old convent which is owned by Lea. Lea is the host of the two other women Nicole and Dominique who have been living there for a while. They live together and try to take good care of what is left of the convent after the huge fire which happened a few years ago. .
Elletra feels attracted to this place. She hopes she can find the answers to her questions there, as she knows that her mother was raised by nuns because her biological parents weren’t able to look after her.
Not only that, Lea refuses to talk about the history of the place and also never talks about the past at all. No one on the island wants to talk with the ‘tourist’. They avoid her and keep saying to leave her past behind.
While leaving in the convent Elletra wants to help with something in return for the roof that Lea provides so she starts cooking in the kitchen. Her talent at baking doesn’t go unnoticed. Soon the smell of the pastries attracts the interest of the locals. Only when baking, does Elletra feel close to her mum. Edda spent most of her time with her daughter in the kitchen making delicious sweets. Now years later when her daughter prepared pastries, the aroma of the ingredients bring her back to the precious moments they had shared together.
While staying on the island for longer than expected the secrets around her mother’s past start to reveal in unexpected ways.
This book makes me want to go to Sardinia and have amaretti and sweet focaccia. Did I mention that there were Italian recipes between the chapters for some of the pastries mentioned in the book? As it says on the cover it’s “a true feast for the senses”.