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Reviewed by Steven Robson for Readers' Favorite
Savory Sabastian is Anne Marie Citro’s fictional account of an Italian family’s lives after their husband/father Shawn Savage and elder son/brother Marcello were killed in a senseless massacre at a music festival. It chronicles the emotional scarring of such a tragic loss and the recovery process for the mother, Valentina, and her four sons, Sabastian, Alessandro, Luca, and Santino. In a poignant way, Shawn’s influence reaches out from the grave to facilitate this healing in two ways; his planning set up a resort that the whole family becomes involved in running and he led the family to Evangeline Rossi (Emmy), who becomes their cook at the resort. Emmy was in the process of dealing with her own emotional scars, and once she is introduced to the Savage family everyone quickly realizes they are where they all belong.
I found Savory Sabastian to be a wonderful read. The characters are very strong and believable, and a picture is painted very close to what I imagine a true loving Italian family would be. This family comes to terms with their grief in time, and it is the acceptance of Emmy as their new family member that facilitates it to a large degree. As Emmy’s character is revealed through their interaction with her and flashbacks to her past, we discover why she is carrying her emotional damage. The way each and every Savage bonds with Emmy is a joy to experience and truly brings out strong empathy and feelings in the reader as well. This is a book that is difficult to put down once you start reading.