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Katherine Reay's newest novel, A Portrait of Emily Price, transports readers to Italy where one woman will learn what it means to be truly free.
Emily Price, art restorer and would-be artist, finds herself in Atlanta, restoring objects recovered from a house fire. As she strives to make all the pieces of her life fit, she finds herself enthralled by Chef Benito Hillam, who is in town from Italy visiting his brother Joseph, Emily’s boss. Ben spends his time working to restore his aunt and uncle’s restaurant and wooing to Emily. When she surprises herself and accepts his marriage proposal, Emily follows Ben home to Italy.
Emily is transported into a new world, but instead of allowing Italy to change her, she tries to change Italy, alienating Ben’s tight-knit Italian family in the process—everyone, that is, except Ben’s father, Henry. The elderly man takes Emily under his wing, and she begins to transform, growing wings as Italy’s beauty begins to take hold of her spirit, and her art and life begin to blossom.
But when long-hidden family secrets are unearthed and past hurts become fresh again, Emily is left to wonder whether she really fits into Ben’s world. Will the lessons of Italy become just a memory to Emily, or will she embrace the freedom and beauty that her life with Ben has shown her is possible?