Smart, career driven Jamie had not intended to fall in love. And to a foreigner no less, an Italian who doesn’t reveal his heritage at first. Jack is short for John, he tells her, but she soon discovers that John is short for Giovanni. Insanely handsome and intense but unreadable, Giovanni is a man of few words. An engineer with degrees from prestigious universities, she assumes he’s driven by the American dream like she is. Jamie comes from a long line of career women and there is no question where her future lies. Love, she believes strongly, does not give him claim to her soul.
When, after only two months together, she accompanies him to his cousin’s wedding in Italy, Jamie learns that he hasn’t been back to the troubled family estate in ten years—and with one step upon the rich Italian soil covered in ancient vines, it’s as if he never left. Suddenly his language is no longer her language, and Jamie is drawn inexplicably into an Italy that outsiders rarely see—a crumbling villa, an old family scandal, a tragic mother, an estranged father, and a host of spirited Italian cousins. Jack is finally forced to face the destiny he’s been renouncing; and Jamie makes a rash decision, unaware that it will change her life forever.
Gentle, intelligent, hauntingly real, this story will leave you thinking long afterwards about the oceans that separate us from the ones we love. Imperfect Pairings explores:
- Beyond wine and pasta – the realities of Italian life vs. American life
- Lessons we can learn from Italian families, like why trying to have it all can leave you blind to what’s right in front of you
- Moving past chemistry, love exposed at its most basic level—two people trying to accept each other for who they are, and not lose themselves in the process
- Why pairings are inherently imperfect—breaking down the expectation women bring to relationships, to foreign countries and their men, to life’s fairytale in general
- What happens when men inherently fall of their pedestals, and learning to live with their imperfections
“My hope,” adds Townsend, “is Imperfect Pairings will encourage readers to think about the legacy they would leave behind if their life was defined not by what they have achieved, but by how they have loved.”
Jackie Townsend received her MBA from Berkeley, spent eight years on the fast track to becoming a partner with a financial services consulting company before burning out. From
Website: jackietownsend.com there, she rode the dot.com boom up and then down again working independently with start-up technology firms. After coming to terms with what is important in life, she began writing and hasn’t stopped since. Imperfect Pairing is her second novel. Her first novel, REEL LIFE, received great reviews from Kirkus and Writer’s Digest.
Relationships are hard, even between two people who have a lot in common. Take two people who are polar opposites and the culture clash becomes even more difficult.
When Jamie meets Jack, she is on a trajectory to shatter the glass ceiling singlehandedly. She is the antithesis of the American career woman, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Familial dysfunction is all she’s ever known so marriage isn’t in the cards for her. Never having known a strong faith or family ties, she lives her life, unapologetically as she pleases. The two fall in love, but Jamie isn’t sure their love will survive once Jack gets his Green card. However, two years into their tumultuous relationship, he takes her to Italy to visit his family where he becomes distinctly more Italian as he immerses himself back in the culture he left behind.
All of a sudden, her Jack becomes Giovanni and Jamie is thrown for a loop by her boyfriends’ close family led by “La Mamma,” who speaks very little English and doesn’t quite know what to make of her son’s choice in women. Jamie is not a nurturing motherly type, nor is she comfortable with the emphasis his family places on religion. She makes one misstep after another with his family due to their cultural differences. Jamie gives it the college try but deep down, she resents the changes she feels compelled to make to keep Giovanni happy.
However, once the opportunity to become a partner in her firm presents itself, she questions whether she even wants to take that on. Have all the plans she made for her life gone down the tubes because of Jack and the complications loving him has brought into her life?
Take the journey this richly woven story takes you on through all the trials and tribulations experienced by two people in love who try to reconcile their cultural differences in a way that works for them both. Imperfect Pairings is a perfect study of whether love between opposing cultures can work.
I was provided an ARC of Imperfect Pairings via Netgalley. My objective rating is four out of five stars.