Published by Forever
Available on Amazon.com
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
3.5 / 5 cupcakes
Are you? Are you singing the song? Do you hear Dean Martin waxing romantic about the moon hitting your eye like a big pizza pie?
When you read That's Amore, however, you will find yourself singing "Has Anybody Seen My Gal." I know that sounds odd, to say the least, but Wendy Markham quotes that song in the book, not the one that first springs to mind.
Daria Marshall, all 5'2" of her (GET IT NOW?) is what you might call a runner. She does not like to stay put for long periods of time and has speedy departures down to an art form. She packs light, doesn't get attached to anything - not belongings, not people - and is always itching for a new place to be. When we meet her, she's in New York, staying with her sister Tammy, a psychic with whom Daria has maintained a long distance relationship. Tammy and Daria share certain psychic abilities, only rather than seeing into the future, Daria sees dead people.
Her complete opposite is Ralphie Chickalini, who has lived in the same house all his life, even after the deaths of his parents. His family is close by, together they all have a hand in the running of the family's pizza parlor, and Ralphie is nothing if not entrenched in Queens. Sure, he thinks about moving, but he can't bring himself to leave his home. He feels his father's presence there. But one thing he doesn't feel is peace. Ralphie is engaged to Francesca, a woman his family adores more than he does. When she breaks up with him, Ralphie is not exactly heartbroken.
Naturally, Daria, the girl who can't stand still, and Ralphie, the boy who can't move, meet. They have an instant attraction, one that strikes Daria most fearfully. She knows she can't - or really won't - stick around, but Ralphie. Oh, Ralphie. He begins to mean something to her. That he cares for her concerns him, but only because he is afraid she'll leave.
There are some pesky ghosts, both those whom Daria sees and the more emotional variety, that must be dispensed with before these two can truly come together.
This is a cute, sweet story. Ralphie is instantly likable; Daria takes some time to warm up to, only because she gets a bit annoying with her insistence that she MUST move and frequently. Ralphie's family, straight out of Central Casting for "big Italian clan", is likable as well. Not all is as it seems within the Chickalini herd, however, which adds a little unexpected zest to the story.
In terms of hot romance, it is here, albeit briefly. There is a scene that entails rocking the headboard, and while it is not particularly spicy or likely to linger in your mind, it is very fitting for a cute, sweet book such as this.
My biggest beef is the way Markham spells Chickalini. It's so .... un-Italian. Ciccialini seems to be the more traditional, not Americanized way to spell it, but even I know this is a ridiculous thing to complain about.
Cute, sweet, nice. That's That's Amore.