Review: Adriatico, Recipes and Stories from Italy’s Adriatic Coast – Paola Bacchia



Recipes and Stories from Italy’s Adriatic Coast

Paola Bacchia

Smith Street Books

ISBN: 9781925418729



The food of Italy’s eastern coastline mirrors the memories and traditions of peoples past and present who have lived on the shores of the Adriatic. Local ingredients reflect the climate and terrain. Naturally, seafood in abundant, as well as an array of incredible pasta, rice, polenta and meat dishes.


The Adriatic coastline runs from the heel of the boot-shaped peninsula at the Ionian Sea, through Puglia and Venice, to the northern waters of the Gulf of Trieste on the border with Slovenia. Along its length are rugged rocky coast lInes, sandy stretches of beach, lagoons and wetlands. Spindly wooden fishing piers, white washed walls, colourful villages and sea-facing piazzas dot the 1,200-kilometre coastline with a rich history touched by Etruscan, Greek, Roman, Venetian and Austrian populations.


In Adriatico, join Paola on a beautiful journey as she travels the length of this relatively unexplored coastline, to find ancient food traditions still thriving.



My View:

This book is a visual feast – I love the travel photography and narrative that accompanies the recipes.  There are images/photographs of the local landscape here I want to try and paint! Beautiful! If anyone suggested a trip to Italy right now I would not hesitate to pack my bags and join them – this book is inspirational.


And then there are the delicious recipes – I have already made half a dozen or so from this book and there are plenty more I would like to try out.  The ingredients are seasonal and fresh and pack a flavour punch.  This is a great book that inspires some wonderful kitchen (and travel) adventures.



Post Script: The Hit – Nadia Dalbuono


The Hit

Nadia Dalbouno

Scribe Publications

ISBN: 9781925321609



The investigation of an apparent hit-and-run unravels a tangled web in modern Rome.


When the family of Micky Proietti, a top television executive, goes missing, Leone Scamarcio is called to investigate. Everyone, it seems — from Premier League footballers to jilted starlets and cabinet ministers — has an axe to grind with Proietti. What starts out as an investigation into his countless affairs soon becomes an inquiry into how Proietti does business and the people he has discarded along the way. Finally, Proietti’s finances attract Scamarcio’s attention, and he discovers that the drama commissioner has been granting favours to some very shadowy sponsors.


Like a swimmer trying to escape a riptide, Scamarcio comes to realise that this new inquiry threatens to bring him head to head with his father’s old lieutenant, Piero Piocosta. If he’s to survive in the police force, Scamarcio knows that he must find a way to get Piocosta off his back, once and for all. And find it quickly.


Reluctantly, he travels home to Calabria in an attempt to understand how powerful Piocosta has really become and whether he might ever be silenced. It’s a perilous journey, but one Scamarcio has to make if he’s to finally banish the ghosts of his past.



My View:

Always have a contingency plan.


A multifaceted crime fiction narrative of kidnapping, deceit, organised crime, and manipulation that threatens to destroy the career (and life) of our protagonist Leone Scamarcio. The importance of family – in the literal and figurative (criminal) definition of the word is cleverly explored as secrets are slowly revealed.


Once again Dalbuono takes the reader on an armchair tour of Italy – the locations and culture real and colourful.


Scamarcio is an empathetic character; flawed, haunted by the past and struggling to make sense of the present.  As the narrative progresses, we, the reader can foresee the very imminent danger that Scamarcio will soon face, he is like a puppet with his strings being pulled in all directions – the puppeteer/s hidden behind a screen. Lies and more lies, manipulation and manoeuvring, this complex plot delivers a not so happy ending…and the promise of more moral and ethical dilemmas to come. A great read.





Post Script: The Lost Swimmer – Ann Turner

The Lost Swimmer

The Lost Swimmer

Ann Turner

Simon & Schuster (Australia)

ISBN: 9781925030860



Rebecca Wilding, an archaeology professor, traces the past for a living.

But suddenly, truth and certainty are turning against her. Rebecca is accused of serious fraud, and worse, she suspects – she knows – that her husband, Stephen, is having an affair.

Desperate to find answers, Rebecca leaves with Stephen for Greece, Italy and Paris, where she can uncover the conspiracy against her, and hopefully win Stephen back to her side, where he belongs. There’s too much at stake – her love, her work, her family.

But on the idyllic Amalfi Coast, Stephen goes swimming and doesn’t come back.

In a swirling daze of panic and fear, Rebecca is dealt with fresh allegations. And with time against her, she must uncover the dark secrets that stand between her and Stephen, and the deceit that has chased her halfway around the world.


My View:

This is a another book that is a slow burn – it took me a very long time to get involved in this narrative and after I finished reading I was not sure what the book was trying to achieve, what genre this was trying to fit into- mystery, thriller, romance…there was a little bit of everything here. My biggest issue with the narrative was about the relationship between Rebecca and her husband Stephen – for a relationship that was largely rock solid, supportive and trusting (at least at the beginning of the book and at the point the investigation of fraud begins) I could not believe that Rebecca would withhold details of this major investigation from her husband, it just didn’t make sense to me and I could not suspend my disbelief to go along with this aspect of the narrative. I know she was sworn to secrecy but….I just could not accept this. Further there were too many red herrings, too many threads that were left hanging or just not followed up or explained for my enjoyment.


However moments of extremely beautiful prose and breathtaking scenery saved this book from being mundane. It is clear that the author writes with a cinematic view of the world, such is the vividness and realism of the description of the drive along the Amalfi coast that I never want to venture there – I hate cliff tops and narrow windy roads which hug the coastline – sheer drops inches away, tourist coaches honking with bravado as they bulldoze their way around hairpin bends, an accident just waiting to happen. Some extremely evocative writing, the author’s love of this countryside is very obvious.



NB This book was provided for review by the publisher.

Post Script: The Sunnyvale Girls – Fiona Palmer

Visit rural Western Australia and Italy….without leaving home.

The Sunnyvale Girls

The Sunnyvale Girls

Fiona Palmer


Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9781921901454




Three generations of Stewart women share a deep connection to their family farm, but a secret from the past threatens to tear them apart.


Widowed matriarch Maggie remembers a time when the Italian prisoners of war came to work on their land, changing her heart and her home forever. Single mum Toni has been tied to the place for as long as she can recall, although farming was never her dream. And Flick is as passionate about the farm as a young girl could be, despite the limited opportunities for love.


When a letter from 1946 is unearthed in an old cottage on the property, the Sunnyvale girls find themselves on a journey deep into their own hearts and all the way across the world to Italy. Their quest to solve a mystery leads to incredible discoveries about each other, and about themselves.



My View:

Dual time settings, a recent history that beckons and beguiles, strong passionate women working on their own land – what more could you ask for? I loved the settings – as I started reading I was sitting in my own garden, coincidentally one of the protagonists was working in hers! She had the screeching of galahs as she admired her tomato plants, I raced around scaring Twenty-eights (demon parrots) from our olive trees, roses, tomatoes and anything else that looked young and fresh and green growing in our garden. Immediately I was transported and enmeshed in this story of the land.


More than a rural romance this narrative opens up a window to a local history that I quickly discovered I wanted to learn more about – the internment of POWs and immigrants in Australia during the Second World War, a population that helped shaped the countryside by working on farms in rural Australia. I am surprised that I have not come across more of this type of local history before now – this would make a brilliant heart-warming film of significant multicultural interest.


PS – did I mention the writing – flowing, fun, enjoyable and realistic. Take me to Italy any day even if only with your words.