Review: The Artisan’s Star by Gabriella Contestabile w/ Giveaway

The Artisan's Star

Florence is a favorite destination of mine. Needless to say being transported to this vibrant energetic artesian city was delightful. The lush descriptions added to an armchair travel experience regardless if you are revisiting or hoping to inhale Florence at some point in time, you’ll find yourself enjoying every ingredient the author provides of this magnificent city.

I adored reading of the intricacies in creating a perfume along with the business in general. Perfume is alluring and intriguing, I appreciate a narrative delving into the fragrance industry.

Travelogue more than story, which was fine with this reader. The author also did more ‘showing’ than ‘telling’ which led to an abundance of descriptions bordering on tedious. Make no mistake the details were appreciated but after a while becoming somewhat overwhelming.

Character development was lacking. I prefer to bond experiencing a true connection with characters, I was disappointed I felt nothing for these characters. If Contestabile fleshed out the players more perhaps I would have felt a warmth, as is I felt nothing, vapid. Also the numerous characters were a distraction along with digression in subject matters and conversations – a bit chaotic. On more than one occasion the narrative veers off track leaving the peruser stranded.

Italophiles, an interest in the origins of perfume, undoubetly will find this book entertaining. Despite my misgivings I completely enjoyed my time immersed in rustic Florence.

About the book:

Elio Barati’s perfumery shop in Florence marks its entrance with a mosaic star. This shop immerses Elio in the artisanal world he loves, but he harbors a regret. As a young man he created a full-fledged perfume of jasmine, iris, and cypress at the renowned Ecole des Parfumeurs in Grasse—a fragrance his idealism and stubbornness boxed away before ever bringing it to light.

A second star now brightens Elio’s life, his daughter Romina, an artist. She has her father’s unrealized talent, a precise and intuitive sense of smell. She’s also inherited more challenging traits of Elio’s: unbridled ambition and an insatiable wonder for the world.

But changes ripple through modern-day Florence. Artisan traditions wane; and when Romina tells her father she has no intention of running the family business Elio fights to hold on to the Florence he cherishes. Confronting the lost opportunities of his youth, Elio is thrust into this journey by five spirited women: his Greek mother, Elena; his mentor Palma; his soul mate, Marina; his astronomer wife, Sofia; and finally his beautiful artist daughter, who like the city of her birth, shows him how tradition and modernity can and must co-exist.

Now he must alter his own path by harnessing the transformative powers of the fine and artisanal arts.

Buy the Book:

Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author:Gabriella Contestabile 2

Gabriella Contestabile is an author, educator, and owner of SU MISURA JOURNEYS, a boutique travel company connecting people to the artisans of Florence. She emigrated, with her parents, from Italy to New York City in 1959. In her pre-writer life, she worked as a foreign language teacher, management development specialist, and fragrance/cosmetics executive. Gabriella is a strong advocate of the arts, of multiculturalism, and of social justice—a passion inspired by reading Dickens and Dante at a very young age. She has been an active volunteer with Dress for Success for over eight years and is a member of the Slow Food NYC Food and Farm Policy Task Force. She lives on the Upper West Side with her husband, her daughter, her mom, and a furry Shih–Tzu named Oreo. ‘ The Artisan’s Star’ is her first novel. She is currently working on a collection of short stories, also set in Italy, and a screenplay.

Connect with Gabriella: Website ~ Twitter ~ Amazon Author Page ~ Su Misura ~ Facebook


5 winners will each receive one print or ebook copy of The Artisan’s Star, a $10 Amazon gift card and a perfume sample. (Open to USA & Canada) Ends May 16

Excited to be included in the tour for Gabriella Contestabile’s The Artisan’s Star. Be sure to click on the Italy Book Tours banner to check out the entire tour schedule. Thank you Italy Book Tours!

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9 thoughts on “Review: The Artisan’s Star by Gabriella Contestabile w/ Giveaway

  1. this sounds like an interesting book that tackles the problems of family and modernity in an intriguing manner. And of course, the setting sounds delightful!


  2. I’d love to visit Italy but I don’t see it happening anytime soon so I could visit through your book! Thank you for the chance!


  3. Thank you for the honest and discerning review. The book a novel/travelogue hybrid of sort. My goal was to place the reader in Florence so your ‘armchair travel’ analogy is perfect. The giveaway also comes with two fragrances (one male, one female) from perfumer Villoresi himself.


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