“Kit is a playwright living in New York. She hasn't had much luck so far, and lives in an apartment in a rather dilapidated old building. She is on nodding acquaintance with other residents, but finds herself strangely drawn to an elderly lady known to everyone as Aunt Lu.
Kit - somewhat reluctantly - accepts an invitation to tea with Aunt Lu, and am amazing friendship begins. Lu - whose name is really Lucia - starts to talk about her life as a young Italian growing up in America in the 1950s. She works in a dress design shop, and is engaged to an upstanding young man.. but realises that she doesn't want to spend the rest of her life as a down-trodden wife. So she breaks off her engagement...
It took me several chapters to get into this book, not helped by the fact that I kept expecting it to return to the present; this didn't in fact happen until almost the end. However, I soon realised that Lucia's story was a fascinating one in its own right, giving wonderful insights into the way a young woman in this situation would be torn between family loyalty and modern concepts of equality and following one's heart. There's some tension, some romance, lots of family ups and downs, and something of a bittersweet conclusion... which then leads back into contemporary times, and at last I understood why the book begins as it does with Kit meeting Lucia.
By the end I was enjoying this quite a bit, although it took me a long time to reach the stage of wanting to read more than a chapter at a time. Really three and a half stars would be fairer. ”