Lisa photo 1The New York Times bestselling author, Lisa McGuinness, has written several books including Caffeinated Ideas Journal, Bee & Me and Baby Turtle’s Tale (the later two co-authored under the pen name Elle J. McGuinness), and The Dictionary of Extraordinary Ordinary Animals. Her love of all things Italian began with her mother who taught her to make the perfect pasta al dente and to enjoy the pure pleasures of Italian peasant food. She’s passed many wonderful days meandering around Italy, but lives in Northern California with her husband and children.

In CATARINA’S RING, Lisa McGuinness interweaves the stories of four generations of strong, vibrant women, creating characters both idiosyncratic and adventuresome. The novel’s vivid, picturesque locations offer readers both a visual and culinary journey.

Born at the end of the Nineteenth Century and nestled in South Western Italy, Catarina Pensbene’s life in Perdifumo is full of sun-drenched olive orchards, lush grape vines, delicious peasant food, family and love. But with impending war threatening to take all of the local boys to the battlefield, and her unexpected plunge into an untenable situation, Catarina’s prospects for marriage are bleak. When a letter arrives from an old family friend who has settled in San Francisco asking for her hand in marriage, Catarina decides to take a huge risk—she becomes a mail order bride and sets out across the ocean.

Entwined with Catarina’s is the story is of her witty and self-deprecating granddaughter, Juliette Brice. Born and raised in Northern California, Juliette experiences an unfortunate tragedy that serves as the impetus for her to shake up her life and travel to her grandmother’s homeland, where she enrolls in a six-month cooking class in Lucca, Italy. While abroad, Julliette becomes romantically involved with a handsome Italian man, yet her own destiny dictates she is to return to California once her class ends.

Through her attention to detail and employing both historically accurate and thoroughly modern storytelling, Ms. McGuinness serves up Italian delicacies, luminous characters, a delicious escape, and completely inspiring narrative.