by Terri-Lynne DeFino

Bravo! I absolutely adored this book. I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to continue to hang out with the Palladino family. It felt so much like being with my own Italian American family in New York (New York and New Jersey Italians are pretty similar culturally!). I loved all the characters so much. They felt so real, as if they were standing right next to me. Varina is a widow and has no interest in dating, but her mother and daughter have a different idea, and decide to take out an ad on her behalf without her knowledge. Chaos and hilarity ensue!

It’s not often that we have a protagonist in her 70s, and her mother in her 90s as main characters. I loved Varina and Sylvia. And the third point of view character is Paulie, who has been taken in by the family since he was a kid, and continues to work for the family business, and live and rent in their house. Although you find yourself laughing hysterically at times, there’s also a lot of depth and heartwarming moments to this family dramedy. Sprinkle in the cool feature where the author highlights a different New Jersey bastardization of an Italian word or phrase at the beginning of every chapter as a lesson, and this book stole my heart.