Italian Summer with the Single Dad By Ella Hayes

by Michelle

Italian Summer with the Single Dad is the latest delightful contemporary romance from Ella Hayes.  Set mainly in and around a beautiful Italian palazzo which is a luxurious wedding venue, it will resonate with so many of you and capture your imagination.

This heartwarming story features characters you can really relate to who come to life as you read on. Add to this the glorious setting of the Italian Riviera, which is described so wonderfully well and it feels like you’re actually there soaking up the sun  in this tender yet feisty modern romance.

We thoroughly enjoyed reading it as we love the rhythm and flow of Ella’s writing and have no hesitation in highly recommending Italian Summer with the Single Dad.

This is actually Ella’s second novel, her first entitled ‘Her Brooding Scottish Heir’ was published last year and soon garnered rave reviews, including ours. So why not make it a double read and enjoy both?

And if you’re thinking that Ella Hayes looks familiar, then well spotted. Many of you will remember from our last post that Ella Hayes is actually the pen name of Tracy Gow who for many years worked as a super successful wedding photographer, before making the transition into writing. Indeed, it was whilst photographing a wedding in Sorrento that Tracy was inspired to write her latest novel.

So without giving too much away, we’ve asked Tracy/Ella to tell us just a little more.

We love your new book and can you tell us a little about your inspiration for it?

In the summer of 2016 I was on the Amalfi coast shooting a friend’s wedding in Sorrento. Later that week we took a bus along the coast to Ravello and I was blown away by its beauty and its very romantic vibe.

I knew straight away that I wanted to write a story set in Ravello, so when I was throwing ideas around for my second Mills & Boon True Love romance, it kind of rose to the top!

Creating a photographer heroine was an obvious choice for me because photography is what I know. At Olivia’s age, I’d have jumped at the chance to work in an exclusive Italian wedding venue for six weeks, so professionally-speaking there’s a lot of myself in Olivia.

The book’s wonderfully atmospheric and we really felt transported to the Italian Riviera. How do you create such a lovely atmosphere/backdrop when you’re writing?

I’m a very visual person. It’s why I chose a career in photography! When I’m writing about setting, I suppose I have a cinematic approach, so I’ll set the scene broadly, then pick out and describe details. It’s like shooting a wedding … you take the wide shots, then go in for the close ups: like a flower in the bouquet, or a tight shot of clasped hands. All the gorgeous things I see regularly on your blog!

Above and beyond the physical details, I’m a total sucker for light, and I’m always trying to find new ways of describing the quality of light. Every photographer knows that lighting is the most important thing. Light describes the shape of things and it creates mood, so I’m always trying to pin that down in my writing.

Can you tell us a little more about the novel without giving too much away for those that haven’t read it yet?

Olivia Gardner is assistant to irascible (but loveable) wedding photographer, Ralph Holdsworth (if this was a movie Ralph would be played by Bill Nighy!) She’s talented and ambitious, but lacks the self-confidence to strike out on her own.

When she meets handsome widower, Zach Merrill at a society wedding, there’s an instant spark of attraction between them, but Zach has a three-year-old daughter, and is clearly still grieving for his wife.

She dismisses her attraction for him as a silly wedding day crush, but when he calls her a few weeks later offering her a dream job at his exclusive high end wedding venue in Ravello (filling in for his regular photographer who has been injured in a moped accident) she can’t possibly refuse. It’s the break she’s been looking for. All she needs to do is keep her head and hold on to her heart …

What’s next? Do you have another book for us to look forward to reading coming out soon?

I’m delighted to report that my third Mills and Boon title, Unlocking the Tycoon’s Heart will be released on the 25th June. This one is set in Amsterdam so the vibe is completely different to Italian Summer.

The guiding mood for the story is confinement, and it’s definitely a little darker in tone, but there’s a hero to die for … and it’s a romance so of course there’s a happy ending!

All images courtesy of Tracy Gow/Ella Hayes

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