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Italian for Beginners

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  1,414 Ratings  ·  195 Reviews
Thirty-four-year-old Manhattan accountant Cat Connelly has always lived life on the safe side. But after her little sister gets married, Cat wonders if she has condemned herself to a life of boredom by playing by the rules. She decides to take a chance for once, accepting an invitation to spend a month with an old flame in Italy. But her reunion with the slick and gorgeous ...more
Published (first published February 5th 2009)
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Confessions of an Air Hostess by Marisa MackleGirl from Mars by Julie CohenTruly Madly Yours by Rachel GibsonTangled up in You by Rachel GibsonIt Must Be Love by Rachel Gibson
Best Of The Little Black Dress Series
23rd out of 105 books — 58 voters
Wish You Were Italian by Kristin RaeItalian for Beginners by Kristin HarmelBlonde Ops by Charlotte BennardoFlirting in Italian by Lauren HendersonLove, Lucy by April Lindner
Vespa on the Cover
2nd out of 24 books — 6 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Hong Trang
Sep 14, 2016 Hong Trang rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nếu bạn thích nước Ý với vẻ nồng nhiệt và lãng mạn bất tử của nó, đây có lẽ là quyển sách phù hợp với bạn.
Nếu bạn đang hài lòng với công việc ngày làm 8 tiếng, mọi chuyện đều xảy như kế hoạch, và theo kế hoạch, bạn có lẽ sẽ ... đột nhiên thích cuốn sách này ... vì nó sẽ khiến bạn tự đặt câu hỏi mình, phải chăng đời mình đang quá tẻ nhạt. Có thể bạn sẽ cảm thấy muốn thay đổi, muốn thêm xíu màu mè vào cuộc đời êm ái xoay vần giữa sắc thái trắng-xám-đen hiện tại. Có thể từ đấy bạn sẽ tìm thấy mảnh
Jul 27, 2012 Lirio rated it it was amazing
This book is a WOW! Such an amazing one! When i first saw the book, i wasn't interested at all 'cause i thought it's merely a guide for beginners wanting to be proficient in the Italian Language..But..i was wrong. This book now is one of my favorites!

I love Cat Conelly! Such a lovely woman, i guess. I admire her character being a loving daughter and a sister. There's Marco too, and i super love him!! He's so cool, kind-hearted and a real gentleman.. Haha, i'm actually fantasizing to be with a ma
Oct 20, 2009 Namratha rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit
If this is your first chick-lit, you’ll enjoy it thoroughly. And if it’s your 55th chick-lit, you may not be blown away by the story but will still come away with a warm fuzzy feeling. I come under the latter category and ‘Italian for Beginners’ was a fun romp.

The plot has been done to death… Sensible yet single heroine on the wrong side of thirty…nosey relatives who love to drop poisonous barbs at every given opportunity (especially at embarrassing public gatherings like weddings)…unresolved i
The only way I forced myself to finish this book was because I'd hurt my back the night before and this was the only book I could reach without getting up. :P

The idea is really not terrible (and neither was the descriptions of Italy and the ending was kind of cute, otherwise, I'd have given it only one star), but the execution lacked... something. I think I'd have preferred this as a short story. The word "wonderment" was used twice, and that's twice too many. Several characters' jaws dropped mo
Aug 14, 2009 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Italian for Beginners was appealing for many reasons. First, I’ve read all of Kristin Harmel’s previous novels and enjoyed each one and knew that this too would provide that same level of entertainment and enjoyment. I can happily tell you it did, in spades.

It was, however, a bit of a departure from her previous work. I felt the story was more deeply emotional than her other novels. Outside of Cat’s obvious (and warranted) trust issues she also owns a heaping case of low self-esteem. Moreover, i
Jessica Lawlor
Oct 09, 2010 Jessica Lawlor rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2010
Italian for Beginners by Kristin Harmel tells the story of Cat Connelly, a New York City accountant. Cat’s life is not very exciting- she goes to work and spends time with her father and her sister with a few not so hot relationships thrown in here and there. She is the definition of dependable.

After her little sister ties the knot, Cat knows she needs to change something in her life. After much debate, she decides to go to Rome, where she spent a semester as a college student. She e-mails her o
Oct 09, 2010 Nan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, revision
This is one of the few books where the cover truly tells a part of the story. The young woman with her dark bobbed hair, the handsome man with a chiseled jaw, and a Vespa are instantly enough to bring to mind the famous Audrey Hepburn film Roman Holiday. That's actually a good thing, as the film plays an important role in the story--one that I found both unexpected and delightful.

As the novel opens, Cat is a bridesmaid at her young sister's wedding. Their grandmother (seemingly in early stages o
Jan 24, 2010 Jeannen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My lifelong and recently-renewed love of Italy led me astray with this book. The plot felt contrived -- not true to how people really behave (if you have someone staying with you and you know they don't speak the local language, do you really walk off and leave them alone in an unfamiliar neighborhood in the middle of the night?) -- and I couldn't connect with the narrator at all. 1st person narratives only work for me if the narrator is an interested and articulate observer of what is going on ...more
Carol Bryn
May 06, 2015 Carol Bryn rated it really liked it
A good, fast read. What I personally liked about it the most was the way it painted Rome in such a beautiful way - heading there next month for the first time ever, so it was nice to learn about the city and it's beautiful sights. After it's references in this book, we now need to watch "Roman Holiday"!
Renee Barrette
One of my favourite types of books to read are those where the characters are in a different country, where I can learn about a new culture, language, etc. I knew I'd love Italian For Beginners because I love Europe. I haven't had the pleasure of visiting Italy, however Harmel's descriptions of the sights and places in Rome are enough to create a fantastic picture if your mind. I find Harmel's writing style very similar to my own, therefore creating a stronger connection to her work than anticip ...more
May 09, 2012 Geli rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, own-it, italy
Not her best work but is still pretty good. It was a heart warming story about a girl's relationship with her mother more so than a romance story. I could identify with the character's lifestyle of never living outside the box she created for herself. Reading this made me wish to travel and find an adventure of my own. I felt at times the story seemed to be lacking but i suppose that is only because I am so used to the overly dramatic love tales Harmel usually spins. It was enjoyable to read jus ...more
Kathy Ginocchio
Nov 15, 2009 Kathy Ginocchio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book would be total fluff - I picked it up from the library shelf because it reminded me of Roman Holiday. Come to find out, that's not by accident! While it's a location piece that extolls the virtues of Rome and all thngs Italian (mostly, the food and wine, and the men too!) - it was actually a good life lesson book. The main character learns alot about herself and causes you to think yourself. A good read - quick, weekend fare, but actually substantial as well.
This was pretty typical chick lit, though a bit less light-hearted and fun than I was hoping for.

Most of the characters were forgettable or annoying. Cat, the narrator, had her moments, even though she was the "practical," "sensible," perpetually single thirty-something that you've read about a hundred times. She was also totally spineless, unable to stand up for herself to her pushy coworkers or her family. I did feel for her, though, considering she had such an unbearable family. In the first
Traci Andrighetti
Oct 02, 2013 Traci Andrighetti rated it it was amazing
I've always been in love with Rome and with the Italian language, so I really enjoyed this book. It was so much fun to read about Cat, her Italian heritage and her old flame in Italy, and I loved the way that the film Roman Holiday was woven into the storyline. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to go back to Italy and find that handsome Italian guy you met on your study abroad trip years ago, then this is the book for you.
Jan 25, 2015 Kryptique rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this. Recommended on Modern Mrs Darcy, one of my favorite blogs. And it was ok. I liked it, even teared up a few times. But it really needed some better editing. There were several time glitches---she arrives at an apartment at noon, lots of noon description, then suddenly it's 11 at night and all she's done is glance out a window for a little while. What? Also her aunt gives her a pale pink silk scarf and then a page and a half later gives her another one. You'd think he ...more
Aug 20, 2015 norcalgal rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I ended up DNF'ing this novel. I got bored and tired reading about the trials and tribulations of Cat - especially since she was such a doormat when it comes to her family (esp. her sister).

I was somewhat curious if Michael would end up being Endgame, and was curious to see how the author would explain his apparent unavailability (Cat believes he's married and doesn't give him a chance to explain) but even with these unanswered, I didn't feel like reading beyond the chapter where Cat stumbles i
Apr 09, 2015 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Several months ago I visited Rome, so when I saw this book and read the back cover... I was sold! It was a slow read... ON PURPOSE! I took my time reading and savoring this novel, and with every page I was transported back to the streets and sights of Roma. I still haven't gotten my trip out of my system, I feel like it was an incomplete adventure, and would love go back in the near future. After reading this, even more so.

Interwoven in its story is a lesson on being true to oneself and acceptin
Sep 20, 2016 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.
I enjoyed this novel about a mid-thirty woman who, uncharacteristically, decides to go to Italy at the end of the week. She spends a month there learning how to love herself, finding members of her family and creating a family of friends. She learns how to stop playing it safe all the time and to follow her heart. This book starts off as a typical chick-lit story but then becomes something a little more. The path to happiness and self-awareness isn't always easy and takes some effort t
Nov 19, 2009 Renee rated it it was amazing
I often read books about traveling also there's a romance, that could spices things up!! So this book began with an old romance with a man in Italy back when she was in really young age, then afterward she had lost contact with that man, as the time flew by, and the end of story told that the main character got herself a new boyfriend, discovered new things, her pasts, her dreams, and lived a happy life, this short yet catching story and I can really imagine the amazingly beautiful views at ther ...more
Mar 25, 2010 Kari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
30-something Cat is single, living in Manhattan, and has absolutely nothing exciting in her life. I mean, from the start you want to like this character but you quickly realize she is BORING; she's done nothing interesting since she studied abroad in Rome thirteen years ago. At her younger sister's wedding, Cat gets humiliated by Grandma and, with a push from her nearest and dearest, decides to take a four-week long vacation to Rome and reunite with her former Italian flame.

Well it's no surprise
Trisha W.
Sep 23, 2009 Trisha W. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read2009
Sigh, what a perfect romance. This book took place in Italy and the way the author described the streets made you feel like you were there. Cat is the main character in this book, she is the one who always does for others and never for herself. After her mother leaves them when she is younger, then comes back, Cat had never forgiven her. Her dad, sister, and her were close and Cat thought she needed to take care of them. After her younger sister gets married, and she is embarrassed at the weddin ...more
Jul 22, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it
Shelves: chicklit
Another winner from one of my current favorite authors. And now I have finished everything she has written at the moment. This book takes our protag to Rome. Girl is very straight laced and always looking out for her father and crazy sister before herself. Dad talks her into breaking out of the mold and going back to Italy, the only place she has spent more time in her younger days then home. She goes, but not without some hurdles, of course. Before she goes away, she goes out on a "perfect" dat ...more
Dec 27, 2010 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn’t sure how this book landed in my house; before opening it I literally thought it was a primer for teaching the language to the interested reader. Instead, it is a story of a young woman, marked by her mother’s abandonment and then death, stuck in her anger toward her mother, driven to be responsible and committed to living her life on the safe side. When she decides to visit Rome and reconnect to an old boyfriend, she unexpectedly encounters people and experiences that are life changing. ...more
Apr 13, 2011 Daniela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely adored this book. I'm so happy that I just plucked it off the shelf at the bookstore, because it said "Italian" in the beginning of the name. I'm Italian myself, so I already know the lanuage fluently, but I was interested to see how they would start a "Beginners" book on it, and I was surprised to see that it was a novel and not a self-help book on learning the language.

I've already recommended this book to two of my co-workers, and I'll definitely be recommending it to my friends
Apr 07, 2010 Teresa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Summary from the Publisher

Thirty-four-year-old Manhattan accountant Cat Connelly has always lived life on the safe side. But after her little sister gets married, Cat wonders if she has condemned herself to a life of boredom by playing by the rules. She decides to take a chance for once, accepting an invitation to spend a month with an old flame in Italy. But her reunion with the slick and gorgeous Francesco is short-lived, and she finds herself suddenly alone in Rome. Now, she must see if she h
Jan 19, 2015 Bonny rated it liked it
My own trip to Rome came tumbling vividly back to mind as I traveled there again with Cat Connelly. Believe it or not, I have never seen the movie Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn, which is roughly laced through part of the story. I intend to see it now! This is a nice love story set amid awesome historical scenery with some very delectable meals thrown in. Good looking Italian men, long forgotten welcoming relatives, staid careers mixed in with surprising hobbies make for well rounded, very li ...more
Apr 13, 2010 Kelly rated it liked it
if anything, this book really made me want to go to rome...and watch "roman holiday" again. the story is about cat, an irish-italian american, that at almost 35, has quite the mother issues. cat, who is too comfortable in her life, and just makes excuses and never takes risks. upon pressure more than anything, cat returns to rome, 17 yrs after her first trip, but, as soon as she lands, she remembers the passion and love she first had for the city. after a little snafu, she daringly decides to st ...more
Tim Owens
Italian for Beginners is a cute romantic story about Cat Connelly who at 34 is prompted to take a vacations for a month in Rome. Once in Rome she eventually comes to terms with her past and is able to shape a more powerful and positive future for herself. I enjoyed reading the descriptions of Rome and of course the food. The story was predictable, but who cares when it is so enjoyable.
Aug 24, 2009 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised just how into this book I got. For chick lit type books I normally can pick it up and put it down as I have time to read but this one kept me going up until the end even though it meant staying up late to finish reading it. The opening chapter was hilarious (in a glad it wasn’t me way) as we see Cat’s grandmother embarrass Cat at her younger sister’s wedding by wondering aloud why Cat is not married at the spinster age of 34. At her sister’s wedding reception she also meets a han ...more
Jan 09, 2016 Annette rated it it was amazing
I just loved this book. So light and easy to read. Playful and sweet. I found the author's style of writing to be appealing and made me feel like I had a break in Italy. The historical aspects of where Cat was in Italy and also the different dishes in Italy she had were so interesting.

The main character had lots of things to figure out and it was done very well. I loved this book and will be reading another one written by Kristin.
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Kristin Harmel is an international bestselling novelist whose books have been translated into numerous languages and are sold all over the world. After spending many years as a journalist (including more than a decade writing and reporting for People magazine) Kristin now freelances only occasionally, focusing on book tours, book club visits and, of course, writing her next books! THE SWEETNESS OF ...more
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