Dante’s Gift is a romance short story or novella about Dom and Kathleen who are heading for an engagement when Dom’s grandmother’s sister passes away in Italy and he decides to ask her to come back to Chicago to live with him in her older years. He breaks this news to Kathleen on the same evening that he plans to propose to her creating a crisis situation. Even when Kathleen decides she likes Dom’s grandmother, Antoine, she questions whether she is cut out for his family. Antoine helps her make this decision through sharing her own love story which takes place during World War Two in Italy.
This is a very sweet Christmas time story with realistic and interesting characters. The love story between Dom and Kathleen felt real and urgent just as the love story between Ken and Antoine felt nostalgic and romantic and they melt together beautifully. The ending was beautiful and might require a tissue or two. Antoine easily became my favorite character as a story teller and because of her easy manner in blending relationships with everyone together. Her easy going personality and desire to form a relationship with Kathleen make her easy to love.
I would have liked to have seen the conflict with Kathleen’s work play out a little further in the book. The author did an excellent job of setting it up but never mentioned it again. Although Kathleen is under plenty of stress it would have created more tension for her to have insane meetings she needed to attend coupled with spending time with Dom and Antoine and perhaps creating more tangible ways for her to create boundaries and decide what was important for her.
This is a perfect read for the holidays when everything is a little chaotic and short chapters allow a few minutes to enjoy some nostalgia and heartwarming romance. The author has also included a recipe to try and some resources to check out the places in Italy she talks about as well as how the war affected that area which she researched to make her story more plausible for the time and situation surrounding Italy in her story which readers will enjoy.