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Italian for Beginners
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Italian for Beginners

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3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  1,072 ratings  ·  162 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
ebook, 384 pages
Published August 13th 2009 by 5 Spot (first published February 5th 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,158)
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Lirio
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
...more
Juli
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
...more
Jaime
As an expat, I have recently developed a love for stories involving travel. Stories that combine romance and travel are all the better. That is why Italian for Beginners seemed exactly what I wanted. Unfortunately, I was left feeling a little flat.

At the beginning of the book, I didn’t get a real feel for the character. Instead of being swept into the story, I couldn’t help but feel like Harmel was exerting too much control over the characters, making them say what they ‘need’ to say to get the
...more
Namratha
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
...more
Michelle
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
...more
Jessica Lawlor
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
...more
Nan
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
...more
Jeannen
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
Geli
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
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.
Traci Andrighetti
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.
Renee
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
Kari
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
...more
Trisha W.
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
Rebecca
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
Kathleen
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
Daniela
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
...more
Teresa
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
...more
Kelly
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
Debbie
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
Bonnie
I consider Italian for Beginners as one of the best reading discoveries! This book was impossible to put down because of:

1. Roman Holiday is a beloved romantic classic
2. Cat is a relatable single women.
3. The tenderness Harmel puts into describing a romantic kiss.

Admittingly, I love a good romance. Cat dumps her boyfriend just before her younger sister's wedding. The insufferable question remains. Why are you still single?

The truth is I agree with Cat. She had not found true love. Why shoul
...more
Shanyn (Chick Loves Lit)
I thought that Italian for Beginners was a great summer read. It wasn't entirely fluffy (the main character Cat deals with a few issues during the course of the book), but was very easy to follow.

The thing that I noticed most at the end of the book was how slowly the days seemed to move - Cat only planned to be there for a few weeks, but it seemed to me like so many things happened while she was there that she was actually there for months. I did consider that she didn't have a job or many other
...more
Debbie
Harmel's approach to chick-lit is to focus, not on budding romance, but on the personal growth and self-discovery of the heroine. This has been true for almost every book of hers I've read. Unfortunately, what had started out as fresh and interesting has become a little stale. This book was okay -- and nothing more. The characters were very one-dimensional, even after their meticulously plotted out character development. It felt like Harmel was trying too hard with this book, tying in Cat's stor ...more
Renee Beaucage
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
Alexei
Eh, I liked the descriptions of Rome, the writing was okay, but the characterization was poor and stereotypical. It was like a bad fusion of In Her Shoes with Under the Tuscan Sun (not to insult either of those very fine books). I just could not like Cat. She let her mean little sister push her around, she jumped into bed with guys she barely knew, was the only person in her family with a steady paycheck but apparently gave all the money away, and then whined constantly about how her life was bo ...more
Michelle
I was disappointed in this book. I think part of the reason is because I loved "the Art of French Kissing," and another part of it is that I was just not a fan of the main character. I understand the problems she had with mom and everything, but jeez, she was just unlikeable. And really, who did not see the truth about Michael's wife? I knew immediately what the real issue was, and while I could see why one might storm off, I would at least give the guy a chance to explain once I cooled down as ...more
Susan
Tricky one this one. It was one of those books where I just HAD to skip forward and see what where I was headed before I actually went there. But for a chick-lit it was well written (but what was with all the typos in the edition I read!!!) and the emotional depth that the main character revealed was a change. It just was a pity that the book ended before the reader learnt fully how things ended romantically for Cat, but then perhaps the last words are a clue?

A surprisingly emotional read for me
...more
Jennifer
Looking for some light and frothy summer books I first I read the Straight Talking book by Jane Green (that has pretty good reviews) and although the author was pretty bawdy and did not hold back on her discussions of sex and 4-letters words which seemed to just lay everything out on the table about the writer (as it's written in a diary style, speaking to you the reader) I found the Italian for Beginners book much more intimate with less sex descriptions and more honesty. I liked this book and ...more
September Dee
All things Rome. It an entertaining little somewhat clichéd story of course. Somewhat contrived yet still an okay read. The perfect thing for a beach vacation.
Nicole Gubler
This book was super predictable and not a wonderful book but pulled itself together for a meaningful ending. Good for an easy lighthearted read.
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165006
Hi everyone! My name is Kristin Harmel, and I'm the author of seven novels, including THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING, which comes out this August from Simon & Schuster! I'm so happy to finally be on goodreads!

In addition to writing books (including ITALIAN FOR BEGINNERS and the YA novel AFTER), I've also been a magazine writer for years; my credits include People, Men's Health, Woman's Day, Ameri
...more
More about Kristin Harmel...
The Sweetness of Forgetting How to Sleep with a Movie Star The Art of French Kissing The Blonde Theory After

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