Wednesday, May 6, 2015

G569 Book Review of The Artisan's Star by Gabriella Contestabile

Name of Book: The Artisan's Star

Author: Gabriella Contestabile

ISBN: 978-0-9960585-0-6

Publisher: Stelle Publications

Type of book: Past, perfume, scents, visions, smells, food, perfection, artisan's star, Greece, Italy, Florence, Paris, travel, relationships, family

Year it was published: 2014


Elio Barati’s perfumery shop in Florence marks its entrance with a mosaic star. This shop immerses Elio in the artisanal world he loves, but he harbors a regret. As a young man he created a full-fledged perfume of jasmine, iris, and cypress at the renowned Ecole des Parfumeurs in Grasse—a fragrance his idealism and stubbornness boxed away before ever bringing it to light.
A second star now brightens Elio’s life, his daughter Romina, an artist. She has her father’s unrealized talent, a precise and intuitive sense of smell. She’s also inherited more challenging traits of Elio’s: unbridled ambition and an insatiable wonder for the world.

But changes ripple through modern-day Florence. Artisan traditions wane; and when Romina tells her father she has no intention of running the family business Elio fights to hold on to the Florence he cherishes. Confronting the lost opportunities of his youth, Elio is thrust into this journey by five spirited women: his Greek mother, Elena; his mentor Palma; his soul mate, Marina; his astronomer wife, Sofia; and finally his beautiful artist daughter, who like the city of her birth, shows him how tradition and modernity can and must co-exist.

Now he must alter his own path by harnessing the transformative powers of the fine and artisanal arts.


While the character of Elio is on the center stage, it seems as if the women that surround him steal the show and the spotlight and its more about them rather than Elio. First is Elena, Elio's Greek mother who encouraged and nourished the gift of scent that Elio had; then there is Palma who was his mentor and tried to capitalize on Elio's gift; Marina is a life-long friend and perhaps saw Elio as a way of trying to reconcile what might never be; Sofia is Elio's wife and its her that Elio showers his love and everything good. Rumina is the daughter who is trying to change what used to be. I have to say that Sofia and Rumina weren't well drawn out as the other three women. What is also unique is that the women surrendered the spotlight gracefully to other women.


There are many possibilities to life; don't be afraid and seize them


The story is in third person narrative from Elio's point of view, and its more of a journey and exploration rather than something straight-forward, at least in my reading that's how the book presented itself to me. The characters seemed both human yet a little otherworldly, and I did delight in learning more about Florentian life and culture. I would have liked the book more if I had some sort of warnings about when the book will move back in time because the scenes tend to run together and for me its kind of awkward.

Author Information:
(From Italy Book Tours)

Buy the Book:

Barnes & Noble
Meet the Author:

Gabriella Contestabile is an author, educator, and owner of SU MISURA JOURNEYS, a boutique travel company connecting people to the artisans of Florence. She emigrated, with her parents, from Italy to New York City in 1959. In her pre-writer life, she worked as a foreign language teacher, management development specialist, and fragrance/cosmetics executive. Gabriella is a strong advocate of the arts, of multiculturalism, and of social justice—a passion inspired by reading Dickens and Dante at a very young age. She has been an active volunteer with Dress for Success for over eight years and is a member of the Slow Food NYC Food and Farm Policy Task Force. She lives on the Upper West Side with her husband, her daughter, her mom, and a furry Shih–Tzu named Oreo. ‘ The Artisan’s Star’ is her first novel. She is currently working on a collection of short stories, also set in Italy, and a screenplay.

Connect with Gabriella: Website  ~ Twitter  ~ Amazon Author Page  ~  Su Misura  ~  Faceboo


If you love authors like Erica Bauermeister, then you'll be in for a treat that will involve senses of taste, scent and vision and how they impact day to day interactions, creating perfections. In writing style its also similar to The Monday Night Cooking School as you have one character reminisce about his own history and involvement with perfume, similar to Monday Night Cooking School. Although I loved getting lost within these pages, I did feel slight annoyances as I read the book because it seemed as if the scenes happened without rhyme or reason, and there weren't warnings when they would occur. In a way too this is a story of how Elio became the man he was today through women such as his Greek mother, his French mentor, and his soul-mate Marina. Sofia and Rumina, his wife and daughter, didn't get as much attention as I had hoped.

This is for Italy Book Tours

our Schedule:

April 20 - Library of Clean Reads - review / interview / giveaway
April 20 - Sarah Rehmatullah - review
April 21 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
April 22 - Book Stop Corner - review / author interview / giveaway
April 22 - allthingsbookie - review
April 22 - Packabook Travel Novels - review / author interview
April 23 - Girl With Camera - review
April 23 - Essentially Italian - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

April 24 - Young in Rome - review
April 27 - Il Mio Tesoro - review
April 28 - Studentessa Matta - review
April 30 - Griperang's Bookmarks - review / author interview / giveaway
May 1 - Hello, my name is Alice - review / guest post
May 4 - Italophilia - review / guest post

May 5 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / giveaway
May 6 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
May 7 - Musings from Sri Lanka - review
May 8 - The Discerning Reader - review / giveaway

May 4 - Roughseasinthemed - review
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Svetlana. Thank you for your insightful review of 'The Artisan's Star'. I particularly enjoyed your depiction of the female characters, as they do take center stage. And you are right, I do have my favorites! Thanks again.


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