Summer of Love – Stefania Hartley

Profile picture April 19

Hi Stefania and welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming along to share all your summer secrets.

I suppose this summer is a little peculiar for most people, how will you be spending it?

Yes, this summer will be a little peculiar for me too. I usually pop over to Sicily to see my parents before the heat of the summer becomes too much for me, and then I go on a family holiday with my husband and our three teens, but this summer we’ll only do daytrips nearby. I’m actually looking forward to this, because I find family holidays a little tiring and stressful at times.

But I will certainly miss the Romantic Novelists’ Associations’ annual UK conference! I’ll miss meeting fellow romance writers, rubbing shoulders with my favorite authors and making new friends. I’ll probably sound like a nerd, but the conference is the highlight of the summer for me.

Are you a beach person or do you prefer the countryside?

I adore the sea. I’ve grown up on the Sicilian coast and it’s taken me a few years of living inland in England to come to terms with summer without the beach. I also enjoy the countryside and nature in all its forms, but growing up in Sicily has definitely left a mark and given me a special connection and a love for the sea.

Have you ever gone anywhere exciting over the summer?

Yes. My most exciting holiday has been to the US, Lake Michigan, a couple of years ago. Then, of course, there’s Sicily, and other places where I’ve lived and then returned to visit, like Germany, Hong Kong and Singapore.


(Photo by Flo P on Unsplash)

My kids love going to summer camp, did you ever go to camp for the summer holidays?

When I was growing up in Sicily, summer camps weren’t common. Holidays are still usually spent with family, especially with grandparents, and many people have a second home by the sea or have a family member who has one.

But school holidays in Italy last from June to September, so plenty long enough to get bored! So, every summer, I went away on summer camps with the youth group of my parish or with my girl guides and boy scouts’ unit. On one occasion, when I was twelve, I went on a camp organized by the World Wildlife Fund up on the Alps, in the North of Italy. The world of Alpine ibex, marmots and larches was totally new to me. It was fascinating but also a steep learning curve (literally!)

That sounds so amazing. We went marmot hunting once (not literally, just to see if we could spot one!) they are adorable creatures.

So, what’s on your reading list this summer?

I’ve just discovered Talia Hibbert and I’m enjoying very much her Take a Hint, Dani Brown. Next on my TBR pile is my friend Ella Hayes’ latest Mills and Boon, Unlocking the Tycoon’s Heart, and Beth O’Leary The Switch, followed by a hilarious Italian writer called Diego De Silva, which unfortunately hasn’t been translated into English yet.

So, when you were back home in Sicily, did you have a favorite summer food?

Summer in Sicily is really hot and one of my favorite dishes, which I haven’t eaten since leaving Sicily, is the Insalata di Riso rice salad. It’s a cold salad made with Italian rice, pickles, cut-up tomato, tinned tuna and hard-boiled eggs. A picnic’s favorite for those who don’t insist on taking a whole tray of pasta bake to the beach (you’ll be surprised how many people do!)

Here is a recipe in English (but I haven’t tried it yet)


(Photo by Cody Chan on Unsplash)

I’m posting several cocktail recipes; do you have a favorite cocktail to sip by the pool?

Don’t tell anyone, but I have a little secret: I don’t like the taste of alcohol (I don’t think my taste buds have grown up yet), even thought my summer romance, Sun, Stars and Limoncello, has an alcoholic drink featuring even in the title! Of course, I recommend drinking limoncello (a southern Italian lemon liqueur) by the pool while reading Sun, Stars and Limoncello.

That sounds like a great plan!

Finally, what advice would you give to our readers so that they have a great summer?

I love to give advice! Here are my two cents’ worth: if, like me this summer, you’re not going anywhere, think of all the time you’ll be saving. Holidays away require organizing, planning, packing and unpacking, and endless hours in a car/ferry/airplane/train.

Imagine how many things we can do with all that extra time! I plan to use it to read, watch movies, do exercise, and trying out new things with my daughters. They’ve already bought a henna shampoo and are planning to turn my hair red.  I’m still thinking about that one, though…

That’s great advice, thanks so much Stefania.

You can buy Stefania’s book, Sun, Stars and Limoncello here,


(and scroll down for a giveaway)


Sonia believes that men equal heartache and disaster. Brad has sworn never to love a woman again. It’s a pity they’re so irresistibly attracted to one another.

After her traumatic teenage years, Sonia’s teaching job would be the best thing that has happened to her if it weren’t for Brad Wilson. Her arrogant, standoffish colleague never fails to rub her the wrong way. But when she’s faced with the choice between canceling the school trip to Sicily or accepting his ungraceful help, she swallows her pride and resigns herself to spending an entire week in close quarters with him. Little does she know just how close.

A tragedy from his past still haunts Brad, and he’s sworn never to let his heart be shredded by grief again. Loving another woman is not in the cards. That’s why his petite olive-skinned colleague is so very dangerous.

What could possibly go wrong when their mutual destination is one of the most romantic places in the world?


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