BOOK CLUB: The Right Place

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Author: Carla Caruso
ISBN: 9781489257819
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: September 2018
Publisher: HQ Fiction
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

The Right Place has been sitting on my desk calling me all month, the cover is eye catching and inviting but I kept getting distracted by other books for one reason or another. I had actually wanted to try and read in time to review for the book launch here in Adelaide, but again it was left languishing in the pile.

My determination paid off and I picked this up right at the end of the month in between a toddler with a lost dummy and sorting the September lists. It was definitely a welcome escape from my daily grind.

The Right Place is set largely in Adelaide and it’s a tale of food, family and finding your place. It is a dual timeline narrative focussing on a migrant family when they moved to Australia and the third generation in the present day. I love that it is set here in Adelaide so there are places I am semi-familiar with but being down on Marion Road they aren’t places I know well, having lived only in the Hills since I moved here.

Nella Martini has spent almost a decade living in Melbourne following fashion dreams but when she inherits Torrente Blu from her nonna she returns to Adelaide to regroup. Torrente Blu is the market garden her grandparents made a living from since moving to Australia from Italy, it’s where Nella’s mother was raised and Nella herself spent many happy childhood times there. Now, it’s the last place she wants to be; it’s bereft without the warming presence of her nonna.

Regardless of what Nella does with her inheritance she needs to spend some time there to sort all her nonna’s thing and clean the place up. What better time than now, with her Melbourne life in tatters and no clear way to the next step on the path to fulfilling her dreams.

Torrente Blu is still a working market garden, times have changed a lot since the place was purchased and the garden is now leased to the neighbours. It is one of few remaining in the area and would probably be vey attractive to a developer, but if Nella were to sell she would want to ensure the lease survived the sale and that’s a little easier said than done.

The market garden next door to Torrente Blu was bought by the Tomaso family back before Nella was born so she grew up with the twin boys who lived there, they were almost the same age and loved spending time together when Nella was at her nonna’s. A lot has changed since those carefree childhood days, for all of them, and Nella isn’t so sure of her welcome from Adrian Tomaso these days.

Caruso has sensitively explored the sense of belonging so many of us crave but don’t always find, or end up finding in the unlikeliest of places.

Nella’s grandmother Esta migrated to Australia with her husband and young daughter to start fresh. She knew very little of the language and was very much feeling lost and isolated. They didn’t move to an area well populated with other Italian migrants so Esta felt the cultural divide deeply. She made the most of her new life but always missed her hometown. Life in a new country far from everyone and everything she knew was not without it’s hurdles and heartbreaks but with her husband and daughter beside her she could weather anything.

Nella has big fashion dreams and that’s all she ever remembers wanting so her time at Torrente Blu is to help her decide what comes next to get back to those dreams.

In the meantime Nella now has to look after herself, there isn’t the same glut of takeout places you can find in Melbourne; there are only so many times you can duck across the road for Subway before it gets old. A flick through nonna’s old handwritten cookbook is enough to stir a speck of inspiration into something more. Something that starts her looking at her life from a new perspective.

The Right Place is a tale of building new lives, a tale of family, a tale of making the most of what you have before it’s too late and it is a glorious tale of food. The book is scattered with recipes shared from Esta’s cook book, and discovered in Nella’s burgeoning affair with the kitchen. Nella has always loved to eat but cooking is a new addition to her repertoire. Recently on the site we shared one of the recipes included in The Right Place for Zeppole, which I have to admit sounds delicious.

I loved The Right Place, I loved the characters and I loved the way it all played out. I did find the storyline pretty predictable but that didn’t stop me enjoying the way we got there. A beautiful read about finding your place in the world, even if it takes decades.

Carla Caruso can be found on Facebook, Twitter and her Website.

Thanks to HQ Fiction 16 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading The Right Place. Please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Right Place

  1. I’d not heard of Carla Caruso before The Right Place was offered through Beauty and Lace’s Book Club. It appealed to me and I wasn’t disappointed. I absolutely LOVED IT. The sensitive and often delightfully funny way the story is told is lovely. The timelines are interesting and it is never difficult to follow.
    Nella adores her Grandparents and the way we get the background to the relationship after Esta (Nella’s Italian Grandmother) bequeaths her home to Nella is really beautiful. We’re given an insight into the hardships encountered when Esta and her husband, Lucio migrated to Australia from Italy soon after the 2nd World War.
    The characters are sensitively drawn and real as are their relationships. We really do feel we know the people involved.
    Nella discovers her Nonna’s hand written recipe book soon after she arrives at her Grandparent’s home which is now hers and she begins to cook, something previously foreign to her, often with the assistance from her part Italian neighbour. The relationship with Adrian, the neighbour, develops inspite of Nella not really wanting it to at first. Some of those recipes are interspersed throughout the book which adds to the charm.
    I loved the way Nella came to the realisation that the fashion industry she was part of and intended to return to wasn’t going to give her as much joy as following her heart.
    This is a beautiful love story on several levels and a realisation that ultimately “Home is where the heart is.”
    Thank you so much for the opportunity to “discover” Carla Caruso, Beauty and Lace. Thank you, Harlequin, for my copy. I’m definitely going to seek out other works from Carla Caruso. “The Right Place” was a very satisfying read.

  2. A great story to sink your teeth into. “The Right Place” is a book that will be happy to live in my bookcase and be reread many times. The two stories that are told in this book, work in perfect harmony. Nella and her Nonna Esta.
    And I can’t wait to try the recipes too.
    Thank you, Beauty and Lace book club.

  3. I have never read any of Carla Caruso’s work before so I was excited to be able to read ‘The Right Place’. A great relaxing read! This book weaves two stories into one…a beautiful young lady and her grandmother. It has the potential to become confusing but Carla has really pulled it off and it is so easy to follow the story line. Thanks Beauty & Lace and the publisher Harlequin. I’m off to do an internet search to see if Carla Caruso has written anymore books.

  4. The Right Place by Carla Caruso is a pure pleasure to read. I’ve been so looking forward to reading this delightful book and was definitely not disappointed.
    Nella inherited her Family home and market garden but thinks she loves the fashion and busy life of the city. THINKS. Haha just read it ,it’s lovely. Follow Nella as she learns to cook from her Grandmothers hand written book. Some recipes included and I will definitely be trying them. Oh and Adorable Adrian helps Nella find happiness.
    Thanks Beauty and Lace, Harlequin and Carla Caruso .
    I’m off to find another book by Carla .

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. As a person who arrived in Australia in the “60’s, I can relate to the locations,and the challenges,but luckily for me, I didn’t have the language issues. What made it even more relatable, is that it is set in Adelaide
    It covers generations of 2 families, swinging back and forth between the grandmothers era and arrival in Australia, to the grandaughter, in today’s modern Australia.
    It’s a story of challenges and adversity, surviving heartbreak, finding inner peace, and love, but most of all, finding themselves.
    I have never heard of Carla Russo before, but shall look out for other titles of hers, as I thoroughly enjoys this book.
    Thank you Harlequin, Carla Russo and Beauty and Lace, for a fabulous read.

  6. The Right Place, reminded me of coming home to my Grandma. The family, the food and the unconditional love. To belong to something is the best feeling of being home where you belong. Reading about the traditional and recreating it here in the now. I thoroughly loved this book and absolutely love all the recipes that were included. Gratitude for the simple things is something we all forget at some point and sometime a book like this reminds us to be mindful and appreciate what is right in front of you.

  7. Thank you for the opportunity to read The Right Place by Carla Caruso. I was really looking forward to reading an Australian novel I could relate to.
    While the premise of fashion loving Nella coming back from Melbourne to sort out her Italian grandmother’s house in Adelaide after her death was not familiar to me, I could relate to elements including places and emotions. She was left her on-site market gardens leased to her neighbour childhood friend Adrian. He has an interesting past with his twin brother which intrigued me, especially when they met again. Nella has a persistent friend Fabiana who becomes a great part of her life. This story is interspersed with that of her grandmother Esta who came from Italy with her husband and daughter. It was so foreign to her and I liked reading about how she finds her place. It was interesting to see how Nella founder her own way taking into account her past, and her present changes.
    The book was written really well with interesting characters, mostly people I’d love to meet. The recipes dotted throughout were interesting and there would be something in there for everyone. I would definitely recommend.

  8. This book was so close to my heart as I grew up in the Marion/Mitchell Park area and my Grandfather was a market gardener in the exact same area and even had street names named after him. We lived directly behind the Carusoes on Marion Road and I even grew up and went to school with one of the boys. Certainly is a small world. Loved the references to places like marion shopping center as it bought back so many memories for me. Her story about family and traditional cultures winning out over melbourne fashion scenes was heartwarming too. Loved the whole story …thankyou

  9. Thank you for allowing me to read The Right Place by Carla Caruso.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

    I loved how Nella found the connection to her Nonna and her childhood and the friendships she formed.

    I also loved reading about the food!

    I will definitely keep an eye out for mjre bioks if this author!

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