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June 10, 2023

Return to Valetto by Dominic Smith ~ a Review

by Donna Huber


Historian Hugh returns to his ancestral villa in Valetto, Italy for his grandmother's 100th birthday. The crumbling villa where his widowed aunts and grandmother live is one of the few inhabited homes in this nearly abandoned town. The immediate threat though is not another earthquake that will send what is left of the town tumbling to its depths. Instead, the threat comes from Elisa who shows up to claim that cottage that has been passed down to Hugh after his mother died. The arrival of Elisa and her claim leads to uncovering of family secrets and a past they thought they left behind. 

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was proved for an honest review.

book cover of contemporary fiction novel Return to Valetto by Dominic Smith
June 2023; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 978-0374607685
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); literary fiction

Return to Valetto
 is not historical fiction, but it does deal a lot with history. This is also not a dual timeline story which I felt was a great choice for this story and kind of refreshing. I've read a few books where the present-day family discovers an unknown history of their WWII relative, but they have almost always been dual timeline stories. 

The reason I think not having a dual timeline plot is perfect for this story is that it really is about the healing of the people who lived with the consequences of the past. So staying solely with the present-day people and hearing about the past from letters and recollections of those who lived during that time felt more authentic and real.

This is not an intense read, but it is a compelling read. It would be a good vacation read as I found it relaxing.

The characters are wonderful. The family dynamic is an interesting part of the story. 

The writing is really good. The story flows really well. It's such a smooth read that I would read much more than I realized.

If you are looking for a book about family, how the past shapes the future, and moving forward then you definitely should get Return to Valetto by Dominic Smith.

Buy Return to Valetto at Amazon


Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.



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