Titles by Isabetta Andolini
kiss my jagged face
Released: January 2023
Francine is caught between two worlds: one in which she feels at home but stunted and one in which she feels dominant but distant, all the while balancing her precariously regimented mental health.
A wild child living in 1970s London, manic-depressive Francine must prove to herself and the watchful eyes of her father and psychiatrists that she is capable of more in order to attain the stimulating lifestyle she desires. She finally lands a job in New York and makes the jump only to find out she is pregnant by her rock-and-roll ex-boyfriend back in London. The New York life she idolized is fast and moneyed, but Francine quickly realizes that escape is not necessarily a solution. Torn between American success, motherhood, and the life she left behind, Francine’s independence has never felt so costly.
Decades later, Francine’s daughter Margherita accompanies her architect father to the island of Mustique, where he oversees the development of a new resort while Margherita plans an ambitious project of her own. Unable to mend her fraught relationship with her mother, she adopts her dictum: “don’t let anyone make you feel small.” Eager to embody Francine’s fierce spirit, Margherita heads to Italy’s Ligurian coast to revitalize a dilapidated villa and turn it into a chic, seaside hotel. When the project—and Marghe’s tenacity—begin to splinter, she finds herself retracing Francine’s steps from London to Big Sur, in search of the one person whose opinion and guidance means the most. How does one learn to be close to a loved one from their past while also growing boldly away from them?
Kiss My Jagged Face, the second work of fiction in the ITALIAN LESSONS series, shines a spotlight on self-control, the art of finding home, and explores the yin to courage’s yang: facing the fear that comes with it.
Released: July 2021
After a prestigious education on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and a degree from the Yale School of Architecture, Margherita tries to find her place in various cities, from her own metropolis of New York to the hills of San Francisco. It is not until Margherita accepts a new position in Italy that things finally fall into place. In Milan, she has a fabulous job, new friends, a sense of belonging, and the interesting, adventurous lifestyle she had long aspired to. Charming European men who wine, dine, and tempt her add to the fun, and she finally feels the blissful freedom she’s been seeking.
When a fateful event forces Margherita to suddenly abandon the life she built in Italy and return to Manhattan, she finds herself navigating yet another transition, and this one is not pointing to a brighter future. With a stripped-down spirit and a cunning boss, she is once again faced with a feeling of loss and loneliness, and she enters into a secret, unruly affair that threatens to peel away her protective layers. The sense of belonging she felt in Italy disappears, and she is forced to reinvent her life with her less than perfect reality.
ITALIAN LESSONS explores the landscape of the mid-twenties: the torturous state of out-of-sync lust and love, the guilt of establishing yourself away from family, the quest for fulfillment in work and in friendships, and the yearning to understand where you feel most yourself, with whom, and why. With wit, laughter, and tears, Margherita learns to reconcile her journey between two very different cultures, all the while discovering the difference between mistakes worth making and those which are irreversible.