‘There’s no place like home’ – these are the famous words breathlessly chanted by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz when she’s clicking her ruby red heels together, desperately wishing she were back in Kansas. It’s a quote that remains so memorable today because the search for ‘home’ is a universal experience. We all desperately want a place where we feel safe, accepted, understood – we all want and need a ‘home.’
For Nella Martini, this is especially true. When her dreams of dominating Melbourne’s fashion scene fall apart, Nella is forced to return to the last place she would ever willingly go – Torronte Blu, the Italian market garden inherited from her late Nonna. She has no intention of staying for long, planning only to clean up the property, sell it quickly, and avoid run-ins at all costs with her surly neighbour, Adrian Tomasco.
But when Nella stumbles upon her Nonna’s cookbook, her perspective of the property begins to shift. The lush garden, abundant with fresh tomatoes and olives, begins to enchant her. She even finds herself more drawn to Adrian and his fiery passion for life. Could it be that this is where she has always belonged?
It’s 1950, and Esta Feliciano is dreaming of a different home – one safer and happier than her war-torn country, Italy. Along with her husband and daughter, Esta moves to Australia with the hopes of a new beginning. However, the country is alien to her. The sun is harsh, the culture is strange, and the food is different. Torn between letting go of what she knows and embracing that which is new and foreign, Esta is uncertain that she will ever feel at home again.
The Right Place by Carla Caruso is a heart-warming story of two women’s journeys, more than fifty years apart. Their lives are markedly different, but they share one thing in common – their search for meaning and a place to call home. Shifting between the present day and 1950 in both Italy and Australia, Caruso constructs a beautiful, detailed story about finding one’s place in the world, leaving readers with a powerful piece of wisdom – home is where you choose to make it.
The book is beautifully constructed, and the narrative and character shifts add diversity to the story, engaging you from start to finish. There are amazing homely touches throughout, such as actual traditional Italian recipes, that really make this book special. The attention to detail is immaculate, transporting you to a different time and place with the turning of every page.
There’s romance, too – we won’t spoil much, but we will say that The Right Place proves that home doesn’t just have to be a place – people can become your home, too. The book celebrates the power of relationships to challenge and develop us, as well as nurture and protect us.
If you’re looking for a read that will make you feel warm and fuzzy, as well as inspire you in the kitchen and garden, then The Right Place is certainly for you (recommended with a side of pasta and red wine, for good measure).
About The Author:
Carla Caruso was born in Adelaide, Australia, and only ‘escaped’ for three years to work as a magazine journalist and stylist in Sydney. Previously, she was a gossip columnist and fashion editor at Adelaide’s daily newspaper, The Advertiser. She has since freelanced for titles including Woman’s Day, Cleo and Shop Til You Drop. These days, in between writing romantic comedy novels (sometimes with a touch of cosy mystery), she plays mum to twin sons Alessio and Sebastian. Her books include the ‘Astonvale’ rom-com mystery series (kicking off with A Pretty Mess), Catch of the Day, Second Chance, and Cityglitter. She’s also an editor of the Romance Writers of Australia journal, Hearts Talk, and has a foodie blog. Plus, she’s obsessed with running, horoscopes, fashion, up-cycling vintage finds, trashy TV, and cats.