Raffaella Moretti, by far the most beautiful girl in the southern Italian town of Triento, is about to marry the only boy she has ever loved. It seems that nothing but happiness lies in store for Raffaella. Yet, just one year later, she is a widow, and has had to take a job as housekeeper in the Villa Rosa, for the young American who is temporarily working in Triento.
As Raffaella struggles to recapture her own lost happiness she starts looking for ways to help those around her to do the same. There is Silvana the baker's wife, her passion barely hidden; Carlotta the gardener's daughter with her mysterious grief and the kind and gentle owner of the Gypsy Tearoom who offers Raffaella friendship. As the lives of these villagers interweave, Raffaella is pulled into the centre of a conflict that threatens not only to divide Triento but also to destroy all she holds dear.
When Nicky Pellegrino's Italian father came to England he fell in love with and married a Liverpool girl. He brought to his new family his passion for food and instilled in them what all Italians know - that you live to eat instead of eating to live. This Italian mantra is the inspiration behind Nicky's delicious novels. Every summer the family left their home in Merseyside and returned to her father's home town, near Naples, in southern Italy. When Nicky met and married a New Zealander she moved to Auckland where she works as a journalist and edits a woman's magazine. She hoards her annual leave so that she and her husband can return to Italy to meet up with her family and to eat the best mozzarella and research her books.