I’m so pleased to welcome Anna-Maria Athanasiou, author of La Casa d’Italia For Starters, to Linda’s Book Bag today. I really wish I had had time to read La Casa d’Italia For Starters as it looks a smashing narrative, especially as Anna-Maria’s guest post today about fate really resonates with me and I’m delighted to be sharing it with you.
Published on 7th December 2017, La Casa d’Italia For Starters is the first book in Anna-Maria’s new trilogy La Casa d’Italia series and is available for purchase in e-book and paperback here.
La Casa d’Italia For Starters
Step into La Casa d’Italia, a place for new beginnings, and let destiny take care of the rest.
When Dani’s trust is shattered, her life disintegrates around her. She loses her home, her job and her man. With few choices left, she starts over again, hoping to forget her hurtful past and move on.
Fate leads her through the doors of the popular Italian restaurant La Casa d’Italia, and into the path of Jerome Ferretti, a married man and highly successful leisure industry mogul. A man who seems to have everything he could ever want: a thriving empire, a beautiful family, good looks and the respect of everyone who knows him.
She is everything Jerome has ever needed. He is everything Dani could ever want. Their chemistry is undeniable, their paths destined to cross, their fate ultimately sealed. Except he’s off limits.
A story of new beginnings.
Written in the Stars? My Brush with Fate
A Guest Post by Anna-Maria Athanasiou
I have always felt that some great power is leading us onto a certain path. I’m not necessarily talking about a religious greater power, just some force that sets us in a specific direction. We have choices along this path but ultimately the final destination is always the same, though the journey may meander a little.
I’ve often thought to myself “Why am I going through this?” or “Why am I even in this place?” and then suddenly it all makes sense. It’s my destiny or fate, or just how it’s meant to be.
I’m of Greek Cypriot origins but was born and brought up in the north of England. While I was proud of my heritage, I fully embraced the British culture too. I had decided from an early age that I wanted to make a career for myself; marriage was the furthest thing on my mind. My dear departed grandmother always told me I’d marry a Greek man and I would always scoff at her words. It was a running joke between us, my point blank refusal and rejection to the idea and her constant teasing.
I was lucky enough to secure a place at college to study Hotel Catering and my dream to have my own restaurant one day started to look attainable. My studies took me to Switzerland which I can easily say was one of the best experiences of my life, even though it meant I was away from my home and family. This was a time without mobile phones, internet, social media and telephone calls were expensive! So a once a week phone call back home and endless letters were the only way to keep in touch.
At the same time as I was embracing further education and a new adventure, a young man was reluctantly leaving his home in Cyprus to go and study in the UK. The idea of further education was the last thing on his mind but his parents insisted that he should get a degree. He was flung into a completely contrasting culture and country, unable to communicate and make friends. The Cypriot consulate took him under his wing and introduced him to my cousin and brother. The three of them became firm friends and spent the next couple of years partying hard and embracing the single student life. They holidayed together on a few occasions, staying with family and friends and basically caused havoc!
Throughout my time away the weekly phone calls home were peppered with news of my brother’s antics and his new friend Marios. The letters I received were also full of stories of what my cousin, brother and Marios had been up to.
After securing a job in Switzerland for once I’d finished my degree, I returned to complete my last nine months of studies. I had one week at home after an absence of two years to spend with my family before I went back to college.
I’d put my car in for a service and was frustrated that I couldn’t do the last bits of running around before I was due to leave. I would’ve normally borrowed my brother’s car, while he was sleeping off the previous evening’s antics, but he’d let his friend Marios drive it as he was over the limit.
I was stranded at home until lunchtime when there was a hard knock at the door. I opened it to find a tall, dark, brooding man holding my brother’s car keys. His handsome face broke into a big smile and said.
“Oh you must be Anna-Maria.”
To which I replied,
“And you must be Marios.”
Nine months later we were married.
Marios had never wanted to study, let alone come to the UK. Out of all the Greek Cypriot men in the large community, the consulate contacted my cousin and brother to befriend him. Over the two years I’d been studying I’d had the odd visit back home but Marios had always either been away or studying for exams, so our paths had never crossed until that moment.
I wasn’t supposed to be at home that morning and in fact it was unusual for Marios to be up that early, but his girlfriend was leaving that day! Oh yes I forgot to mention that. Needless to say they didn’t last.
We’ve been together 30 years last October. I guess my Grandmother knew a thing or two about my fate!
(This is just brilliant Anna-Maria. My husband was delayed getting to Nottingham University to do his PGCE by a year because he’d been writing up his PH.D and looking after things at home following his father’s massive stroke. I was late to a seminar as I’d got lost on campus. There was one seat left next to him. We moved in together less than a week later and got married ten months after that. 2018 sees our 35th wedding anniversary! So, yes, I agree – we all get a brush with fate!)
About Anna-Maria Athanasiou
Anna-Maria Athanasiou wrote her first books, The Waiting for Summer novels in secret, firstly because she never thought she’d finish them and secondly, it was a completely new territory for her. Throughout her life Anna-Maria had regularly created scenarios and stories in her head, thinking that one day she would finally put them down on paper. Eventually, in the September of 2011 she took the plunge and started to write down an idea that she’d been creating for almost ten years. Waiting for Summer books one and two are the result of her small idea, and she finally had them published in September 2013 and June 2014.
She lives in Cyprus with her family and has penchant for cake, tea, whisky, wine and a healthy obsession with shoes. Anna-Maria loves the fantasy land of romantic fiction, and is passionate about bringing her stories and characters to life.