Book Reviews

Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch Review

Santorini felt like an island holding its breath. As if it were keeping in a secret…

Liv Varanakis doesn’t like to think about her father much, which makes sense—he fled to Greece when she was only eight, leaving her with just a few painful memories of their shared love for the lost city of Atlantis. So when teenage Liv suddenly receives a postcard from her father, who explains that National Geographic is supporting a documentary about his theories on Atlantis—and asks if she will fly out to Greece and help—Liv is less than thrilled.

When she arrives in gorgeous Santorini, things are just as awkward as she’d imagined. There are so many questions, so many emotions that flood to the surface after seeing her father for the first time in years. Liv doesn’t want to get sucked back into her father’s world. She also definitely doesn’t want Theo, her father’s charismatic so-called protégé, to witness her struggle.

Even so, she can’t help but be charmed by everything Santorini has to offer—the beautiful sunsets, the turquoise water, the sun-drenched villages, and the delicious cuisine. But not everything on the Greek island is as perfect as it seems. Because as Liv slowly begins to discover, her father may not have invited her to Greece for Atlantis, but for something much more important.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series (although all can be read as standalones) Love & Gelato, but the second book, Love & Luck, didn’t quite match my excitement. I am so happy to say that this newest installment is my favorite of them all. First of all, the chapter structure was so clever and really helped guide the story. Like all of Welch’s books, this one did not disappoint in the wanderlust department, and the gorgeous descriptions of Santorini helped me escape the freezing cold I’m currently living in and travel vicariously with Liv. I loved Liv and instantly felt connected to her. You could see the effect her father’s leaving had on her growth and her pain and struggle with it are painted vividly for us. Watching her protective shell crack and her truest self emerge as the story and her newfound relationship with her father developed was extremely endearing. In fact, all of the relationships in this book were very well crafted and real. I loved Liv’s relationship with her family at home, especially her bond with her mom, and her budding friendship with Theo in Santorini was adorable and gave me a nice slow burning and believable romance. The whole story of Atlantis is absolutely fascinating, and I loved getting to learn about it. I thought the tie in of her and her father’s relationship with the mysterious city was heart-wrenchingly beautiful and brilliant. I ugly cried for probably the last 100 pages of the book and was left feeling both emotionally drained and happily fulfilled.

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