book price comparison twitter
Search our site
Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron Read the opening extract of the brand new Sophie Cameron book before its publication on 22/03/2018

Dear Alfonso by Mary Contini

Dear Alfonso

Biography / Autobiography   Cookery, Food and Drink   eBook Favourites   
Download an extract Share this book

Lovereading view...

This is the story of the author’s father-in-law, Carlo Contini, and her father, Alfonso, but predominantly it is Carlo’s story. Born into a large Italian family living just outside Naples, we are told of his poverty stricken but mostly happy childhood, then the horrible deprivations of the war and on into peace where Carlo joins the police special forces. He’s sent by his employers to Edinburgh to learn English. Interspersing his story is that of a Scottish based Italian community in East Lothian. While in Edinburgh Carlo meets Olivia, the daughter of an Italian delicatessen owner and they fall in love. Olivia’s brother, Vittorio, is despatched to Italy to check on Carlo’s family where we learn of some deep-buried secret but it is not revealed to Vittorio and so the wedding is able to take place. Carlo remains in Edinburgh and helps build the family business which flourishes today as Valvona and Crolla, a renowned delicatessen, restaurant and wine merchant. The warmth and charm of these Italian families radiates from the pages. The author has a light touch, neither maudlin nor sentimental which makes for a delightful book with the added bonus of a smattering of mouth-watering Italian recipes. ~ Sarah Broadhurst


Dear Alfonso by Mary Contini

Following the successful publication of Dear Francesca and Dear Olivia, bestselling author, Mary Contini picks up the thread of her family story from 1934 in Pozzuoli, Naples, following the commercial success of the family business - Edinburgh's acclaimed Valvona & Crolla - and the Dolce Vita of parent's generation. With her inimitable style she shares stories of exuberant family relationships, mouth-watering food and hilarious laughter, painting a vivid picture of life in wartime Italy and Scotland and the decades immediately after.

About the Author

Mary Contini grew up in East Lothian above her family's Italian cafe. She is the bestselling author of numerous books about Italian life and cooking, including Dear Francesca, Dear Olivia, Valvona & Crolla: A Year at an Italian Table and The Italian Sausage Bible. She is a Director of Valvona & Crolla, the renowned Edinburgh delicatessen, restaurant and cookery school.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

7th September 2017


Mary Contini

More books by Mary Contini
Author 'Like for Like'


Birlinn Ltd an imprint of Birlinn General


288 pages


Biography / Autobiography
Cookery, Food and Drink
eBook Favourites

Autobiography: general
Cookery / food & drink etc



I love reading books I wouldn't normally choose before everyone else gets to read them!

Dawn Lynch

Lovereading is an amazing place to be, the website is wonderful and to me if I'm sad I'll go here and it cheers me up!

Sophia Upton

Lovereading does a stella job in promoting both new and established authors.

Iris Clements

I love Lovereading for the wonderful like for like author recommendations and for highlighting new books, it's a great resource for readers!


If you LOVE reading then you will love LOVEREADING! It's a 'novel' idea. Seriously though I could not recommend them enough.

Rebecca Whymark

Its jam packed with fantastic titles, informative descriptions & fantastic reviews and has a vast array of great features & competitions.

Linda Rollins

Lovereading always comes up with great suggestions and has introduced me to enjoyable books and new authors to discover.

Gaynor Passmore

I love reading because my cares & woes vanish for an hour or two whilst I read of the joys, adventures, lives of the characters in the book.

Jennifer Moville