Press & Reviews

Reviews for A Portrait of Emily Price

On a whim, a restoration artist marries a chef and moves to Italy, where she uncovers hidden artwork and family secrets.

Emily Price is restoring a fire-damaged house in Atlanta when she meets the handsome Vassallo brothers, Joseph and Ben, who are working to revitalize their aunt and uncle’s Italian restaurant. Although she’s tempted to say yes when Joseph offers her a better restoration gig, she can’t say no when Ben offers his hand in marriage. At first her relationship with Ben is bland in its perfection, but when she joins him at his parents’ restaurant in Italy, she’s caught in the middle of a dispute between Ben’s aging father and his disapproving mother. The constant tension does wonders for her personal art projects, which never earned her as much recognition as her restoration work. Even her thoughts are more painterly, which Reay captures in a lush yet modern style: “A blush on me was more of a blotchy oil-mixed-with-water affair, a discordant clash of color. I envied the whole cream-and-roses look,” Emily says of her new sister-in-law. Reay’s signature references to literary classics, in this case, Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, beautifully match the characters’ desires to break free from expectations and discover themselves in new surroundings, and her depiction of Rome is breathtaking. But there are so many broken things for Emily to fix—two restaurants, a mural in a church, multiple family feuds—that her eyes can’t rest on any one problem for too long. KIRKUS

Portrait of Emily Price - Katherine Reay

Romance novelist Reay (Dear Mr. Knightley) crafts another engaging and sprightly page-turning bildungsroman. Emily Price is an art restorer and artist with underdeveloped talent and some personal blind spots. She works for an Italian expatriate based out of Atlanta, who has an exquisite art sensibility and a family that includes a handsome, sexy brother, Ben, who can cook and charm. After Emily falls for Ben, she acquires a set of Roman in-laws with secrets and another way of life. When Emily heads to Rome to meet the family, everybody has something to learn, not least the young American woman who discovers how to look at people and art with more care and consideration. The American-goes-to-Europe plot is a real chestnut, familiar but nicely revived by Reay who hits a sweet spot between adventure romance and artistic rumination; the novel finds a fantastic groove where chick lit meets Henry James. Reay’s well-realized characters enliven the formula, and the moral development of the heroine owes a lot to the Jane Austen novels that Reay has echoed in other works. Though not every detail of Italian culture rings quite true, on the whole this is another delight from Reay. Agent: Claudia Cross, Folio Literary Management. (Nov.) Publishers Weekly Starred Review


Art restorer Emily Price’s work schedule in Atlanta leaves little time for romance, until she meets chef Ben Vassallo. Charming and attractive, he weaves a spell around her. When Ben asks her to help restore his aunt and uncle’s pizzeria in Atlanta, she agrees, and before she knows it, she is in Italy as Ben’s wife. But Emily soon begins to think twice about her choices as she struggles to adjust to life in a new country. In the character of Emily, the author captures the free-spirited essence of a young woman reaching a crossroads in her life and following a path wherever it leads—sometimes with unexpected consequences. VERDICT Reay’s sensually ­evocative descriptions of Italian food and scenery makes this a delight for fans of Frances Mayes’s Under the Tuscan Sun. The author of The Brontë Plot writes novels that speak to the universal truths in the human heart, and her latest will appeal to readers of new adult fiction with its focus on the power of ­following a dream. Library Journal Starred Review

Reviews for The Bronte Plot

The Bronte Plot - Katherine Reay
Katherine Reay is a remarkable author who has created her own sub-genre, wrapping classic fiction around contemporary stories. Her writing is flawless and smooth, her storytelling meaningful and poignant. You’re going to love The Bronte Plot.

—Debbie Macomber #1 NYT author

Lover and seller of rare books Lucy Alling likes to add a little something special to her treasured finds, in order to make the buying and selling of books and memorabilia more lucrative. When her boss begins to suspect Lucy is tampering with the inscriptions and provenance of the books, her unethical embellishments have consequences in her closest relationships. But even as her disillusioned boyfriend, James, retreats, his wealthy grandmother Helen unexpectedly hires Lucy as a literary consultant on a buying trip to London. The idea of visiting the home of the Brontë sisters particularly excites both of them. Once in London, Helen has a secret agenda that helps Lucy consider the morality of her actions, and both must confront their pasts in order to find peace with their decisions. Quotations and allusions flow freely in Reay’s (Lizzy & Jane) third tribute to the female giants of English literature. While some readers may miss the more obscure references, the finely drawn characters, flawed and authentic, dominate and ground the story emotionally. Lucy realizes that her beloved Brontë characters know more about God and grace than she ever suspected. Fans may find themselves unearthing their classic novels after savoring this skillfully written homage. — Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review *

Great works of literature and other priceless antiques populate Reay’s (Lizzy & Jane, 2014, etc.) thoughtful tribute to the Brontë sisters. Lucy Alling has found her niche selling rare books inside the gallery of Chicago’s premier interior designer. She charms her client James Carmichael with a limited-edition Jane Eyre—and her latent talent for design—but when James catches Lucy in a lie, he exposes a secret that could end her career. Just when all hope is seemingly lost, Lucy peeks up at readers from the middle pages and assures us that her story is far from over: “All books have it…that time when you don’t know where you’ll be, but you can’t stay as you are.” Opportunity knocks when James’ grandmother Helen proposes an unusual trip to England’s literary landmarks with Lucy as her shopping consultant. James’ disapproval adds tension, and the shopping transforms Lucy’s soul-searching into something more tangible. Reay handles each souvenir as carefully with her prose as her interior designers do with their hands—creating the effect of walking through an expensive gallery without any pressure to buy—and with a discerning eye, she brings out the varying shades of emotion in her characters. Lucy, for example, compares Helen’s eyes to paint colors—they start out as “Benjamin Moore #810 Blue Dragon” and change with her mood. Confronting her past at the Brontë sisters’ home in Haworth, Lucy soon discovers how much she and Helen have in common. Although age brings wisdom, Helen suggests that even wisdom can come with a price. The moral ambiguity makes the story more modern than its premise would suggest—and proves how well its source material holds up over time. — —Kirkus Reviews


Reviews for Lizzy & Jane

Lizzy and Jane - Katherine Reay

“Reay’s second Jane Austen-inspired tale is a layered and nuanced story of faith and hope, enriched by complex but relatable characters. Recommended for lovers of character-driven women’s fiction.” —Library Journal

Deeply moving and intensely meaningful, Reay’s latest gives readers an intimate look into the lives of sisters. Elizabeth’s character is raw and real —her desire to live a meaningful life, yet her authentic fear of rejection will help everyone identify closely with her journey. Delicious descriptions of food and the closeness that provides to others gives the novel even more depth. —Romantic Times 4 1/2 Stars

“A Rising Star in Contemporary Fiction!” —Family Fiction


Reviews and Awards for Dear Mr. Knightley


“Katherine Reay is an up-and-coming powerhouse of an author with a deft hand for crafting empathetic characters and telling their stories. I can hardly wait for her next novel.” —Serena Chase, USA Today



Additional Reviews for Dear Mr. Knightley

>> Library Journal: Starred Review

>> Romantic Times, Book Reviews. 4 ½ Stars, “Top Pick!”

>> USAToday, Happily Ever After, “High Recommendation”

>> Eloisa James “Reading Romance” Newsletter for Barnes and Noble. March 3, 2014

Blog Reviews:

>> Books and Beverages
>> Dreaming Under the Same Moon

Publishing Credits:

>> Christianity Today “Faith and Fairy Tales” (March 4, 2014)
>> USAToday, Happily Ever After “Katherine Reay on Why We Can’t Get Enough Fairy Tales,” January 22, 2014