Amazon reviews for if you loved me

5★ A beautifully crafted story that kept me turning the pages

Amy came to Rome to sell the apartment bequeathed to her mother by Marco Giordanni, but a sense of connection causes her to change her plans and stay on. This decision will define her life as she falls in love with the ancient city and the enigmatic Davide. Like the glimpsed shadow of a grey cat, the tale of her mother’s youthful romance weaves across Amy’s path and gradually reveals its poignant ending.
The story evolves through a subtle interplay of shadows cast by decisions taken and those avoided, a candle carried for an old affair, and the harmful demands of family. Caroline and Marco’s love is crushed by the will of his narcissistic and unyielding mother, and the joy of their early days can never be regained. Amy, in the present, is troubled by the mystery of Davide’s mysterious career and his extended trips to Naples. Through Amy's calls home we meet Caroline as mother, a benign but forceful personality, away from whom Amy must forge her own path. During Davide’s longest absence yet, Amy considers her dilemma as she is asked by her friend Paolo, ‘What are you willing to lose if you stay here?’
At a time when I have been longing to travel, this sensory feast of a book sets me down in Rome and conjures the sights and sounds of the city around me. I can hear the language ringing in my ears as I sit at a pavement table of a trattoria eating something delicious with a glass of good wine. I am taken to the places that only a Roman would know. A powerful sense of history pervades the story, through the characters’ lives, and the ancient city and its saints and traditions.
The characters are deeply wrought and nuanced, so that I could sympathise with Caroline’s treatment of Marco and deplore it at the same time. The supporting characters too are all lovingly and cleverly drawn: the two priests, the Nanninis, Amy’s fellow market stall holders and the women at the cat sanctuary. I especially loved the gattara Concetta. I am delighted that there is a word in Italian for a crazy cat lady!
This beautifully crafted story unfolds gently, with a gradual uncovering of plot and motives. I have been pulled along by the characters and their stories, as layers of intrigue and insight kept me turning the pages. The author has allowed a few shadows to remain, so that at the end there is still some mystery, and still hope. I have been so thoroughly engrossed in this book that, on reading the last page, I am already missing the characters.

5★ Fantastic novel

If You Loved Me weaves an intricate fabric of the push and pull of family loyalties upon the choices and hurdles faced in becoming one’s own person. With the insight of a clinical psychologist and the perspective of a worldly voyager, Jennifer Pulling draws the reader into a young British woman’s search to unravel the mystery of an inherited apartment in Rome, its influence upon who she is and who she might become. Her odyssey brings her into the world of cats, and those who love them, and poses existential questions regarding the courage to live and love. This, hopefully, will be the first of a series of novels by this talented author.

5★ A feel good read

The enigmatic Davide, two, (at least), adorable cats and a city that the author brings to life with a wealth of knowledge even down to the way one takes one’s coffee! Who knew? Without spoiling the story, I am so glad that the protagonist (Amy) made the decisions she did. A very satisfying read leaving me with a desire to go to Rome and stay at least two months!

5★ Sincere exploration of the pain of love

I loved this book such a fresh look at life with all its sorrows and joys.

5★ A story to lose yourself in completely

A lovely taste of Italian romance and adventure. I loved the descriptions of the food and wine so much my mouth was watering by the end! If you can't go on holiday this year, read this book and you will feel like you are in Rome.

5★ Good story

Good if you are interested in Italy and cats!