Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Italian Wedding

As I have recently read a Nicky Pellegrino book that I enjoyed I felt I was going to like this one too.

The Italian Wedding also boasts a subtitle reading: “Two feuding families, two love stories and a feast of delicious Italian food”.

Beppi Martinelli is an Italian, married to an Englishwoman and living in London with his wife and two young adult daughters. He owns a restaurant called Little Italy and the younger of his two daughters works with him, while the other, the principal character in the novel, Pieta, is a designer of bridal gowns. The Martinellis are a typical Italian family: fighting, eating and loving in equal measure. The younger sister is soon to be married and Pieta, since she is a bridal designer, is of course making the gown. But Pieta is distracted by a series of mysteries and unanswered questions. Why is her father feuding with another Italian in the neighbourhood? Why is her mother so troubled, faded and sad? And could the man she's always held a torch and secretly cared for really be getting married to someone else? Beppi, after anarguement with his youngest daughter has a heart attack and is in hospital. As Pieta stitches and beads her sister's wedding gown her mother helps so they can both be distracted with Beppi's health issues. In the course of their time together she uncovers the secrets that have made her family what it is and that stand between her and happiness. 
Her mother tells her how she came to hitch-hike to Rome all those years before where she met and fell in love and married Beppi and how she eventually persuaded him to return to London with her. As the wedding draws nearer, Pieta uncovers the secrets that have made her family what it is – and may stand between her and happiness. 
So there are two stories running parallel through the novel, stories of two generations of the Martinelli family. They are stories of feasts of food (lots of food) and love, family feuds, cultural dislocations and generational differences. It's about discovering who your parents really are. And who you really want to be. 
Nicky dedicates this book to her parents who on the face of it sound very much like Beppi & Caterina Martinelli though in her postscript she states that while her parents’ story is the base that gave the book its flavor Beppi and Caterina are not her mother and father.

In real life though her mother did hitch-hike to Italy with her girlfriends where she met her future husband in Rome and took him home to the UK.
Later Nicky was born and her father, clearly a skilled chef, (Beppi’s recipes in the book are apparently her father’s recipes), instilled in her a passion for food and taught her what all Italians know that you live to eat instead of eating to live.


  1. This sounds just wonderful! I still haven't read any of her books, but they are high up on my 'to be read' list!

  2. Long time since I read a book :-)