Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Red Sails to Capri, by Ann Weil
Fourteen-year-old Michele lives on the island of Capri with his parents. They tend a small inn together but can barely make ends meet. At the beginning of the book, a boat with beautiful red sails, unlike any seen before, approaches the island and three foreigners depart. Because it is the off season, Michele's family would be beyond thrilled to host them. Michele's fisherman friend, Angelo, agrees to intercept the visitors and make sure they don't go to the competitor, while Michele races home to warn his parents so they can prepare the vacant hotel.
When the guests arrive, the Pagano family learns that they are foreigners from three different countries, each pursuing a different passion. Lord Derby, from England, has come to seek beauty and to paint. Herre Erik Nordstrom, from Denmark, is a student of Philosophy and seeks truth. Monsieur Jacques Tiersonnier, a Frenchman, is a writer in search of adventure.
The three guests, and the Paganos, find their source of adventure soon enough. Monsieur Jacques brings Michele and his best friend, Pietro, for a sail in his fabulous red-sailed boat. They pass a cove that the visitors would like to explore, but it is forbidden among the islanders to even discuss the cove, let alone the reasons it is off-limits to visit the cave there. But the visitors, new to the strange social stigma of discussing this topic in this far-flung locale, are having none of it. Once they hear the legend, they make plans to return to discover the truth of the cove and the cave.
This was a light and fun read. It's also fortunate that the book was reasonably short since none of the reveal about the cave actually happens until very close to the end. But it is reasonably firmly based on a true story, which I would have liked a brief summary of at the end.