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Hi! My name is Kendall, I'm 29, a Media Graduate and I'm from Scotland. I'm a Reader, Reviewer, and Blogger.

Monday 29 May 2023

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Drink Wine and Be Beautiful by Kimberly Sullivan!


Balinese Traditions


   THE WARM AIR OF THE TERMINAL hit Giovanna’s face as she exited the plane. Walking toward the baggage collection, she saw her reflection in the mirror. Her lean frame, long, dark hair and olive skin contrasted with Pietro’s robust build, blond hair, and rosy skin. The juxtaposition caused her to smile.
   They didn’t belong together.
   That’s what every confused stranger’s glance telegraphed to her before asking if the boy was her son. Some simply assumed she was the nanny, telling her how adorable her charge was.
   Back when Jake was beside her, no one asked those questions.
   Pietro’s tiny hand clutched hers anxiously. His body pressed close to her leg as she made her way to the visa counter. These past months, he never let Giovanna out of his sight, even to go to the bathroom. He crawled into her bed night after night. Exhausted as she was, she never had the energy–or the heart, really–to insist he return to his own room. She couldn’t bear to add to the young boy’s suffering.
   “Two visas, please,” she said to the uniformed woman behind the counter. “I don’t have any rupiah. Do you take euro?”
   “Yes. Forty euro.”
   Giovanna took the visas the woman handed her in exchange for the bills, then made her way to passport control, followed by a long wait at the baggage carousel. As they waited, Pietro’s eyes grew larger and increasingly worried. His lips trembled; tears threatened to burst from his eyes.
   “Oh, amore. It’s been a long flight. You must be exhausted.” She knelt down and stroked his cheek. “As soon as we collect our bags, we’ll find the taxi outside waiting to bring us back to the hotel. You’ll feel better after a good night’s sleep.”
   “I want our own house, mamma. Not a hotel. Why are we here?”
   Why are we here, indeed? Hadn’t she asked herself the very same question, at least a million times? If her own doubts weren’t enough, there were those of her parents and her sister, her colleagues, her neighbors. No one could understand it. Not even Pietro.
   She looked deep into those clear, blue eyes, with their flecks of white around the pupils. Jake’s eyes. She sighed deeply. “It’s where we’re meant to be, tesoro.” She forced a smile. “You’ll love it. I promise.”
   A few minutes later, dragging two suitcases behind her and managing long strides despite Pietro clinging to her, she emerged from the humid terminal into the sweltering day. Hundreds of Indonesian faces stood before her, each with a placard bearing a name. Panic welled up inside of her. She looked frantically around the solid wall of unfamiliar name cards, seeking out her own as the pressure on her leg grew tighter. When she glanced down, she saw the tears streaming unchecked down Pietro’s soft cheeks.
   “Okay, we came. Now can we go home, mamma?”

   WOMEN WASHED CLOTHES in roadside streams. Bare-breasted women worked beside men in the rice paddies, flocks of ducks waddling or swimming around them. Wood carvers worked at makeshift workshops along the road’s edge. Women carried enormous baskets balanced precariously on their heads. Young children rode astride scooters that zipped dangerously between the cars. Giovanna screwed up her eyes each time one of the young boys attempted a dangerous swerve around moving vehicles.
   She turned from the window to Pietro’s body extended across her lap. Exhausted from the jetlag and his tears, Pietro had fallen asleep just outside the Denpasar city limits. She stroked his blond locks absently. 
   What on earth was she doing? Giovanna had made so many questionable decisions in the past months, but on this trip, she had held firm. Jake had wanted this, and therefore, so did she. She screwed up her eyes as they barely passed a scooter driver before swerving back in—the driver no more than a day over nine years old.

Italian Tales of love, betrayal, longing, desire – and hope

Italy serves as the backdrop for stories of Italian women and expatriate women living in Italy.

A freak snowstorm in Rome changes the travel plans of two women, touching their lives in ways they could never have imagined. An ambitious Italian professional working in Brussels rails inwardly at her privileged boss, until fate presents her with a rare opportunity. A long desired trip to Bali, Indonesia serves as a needed chance for introspection. A cautious housewife in Rome thinks back to a fateful missed connection in Florence. A first-time mother feels debilitating guilt for not bonding with her newborn, until an elderly neighbor provides her with a new perspective.

The twenty-one stories in this collection follow women’s lives as they confront betrayal and love, alienation and community, despair and-ultimately-hope.

Check it out on Goodreads!

Buy your copy from Amazon or Kobo

Author bio:

Kimberly grew up in the suburbs of Boston and in Saratoga Springs, New York, although she now calls the Harlem neighborhood of New York City home when she’s back in the US. She studied political science and history at Cornell University and earned her MBA, with a concentration in strategy and marketing, from Bocconi University in Milan.

Afflicted with a severe case of Wanderlust, she worked in journalism and government in the US, Czech Republic and Austria, before settling down in Rome, where she works in international development, and writes fiction any chance she gets.

She is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) and The Historical Novel Society and has published several short stories and three novels: Three Coins, Dark Blue Waves and In The Shadow of The Apennines.

After years spent living in Italy with her Italian husband and sons, she’s fluent in speaking with her hands, and she loves setting her stories in her beautiful, adoptive country.

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