Love & Olives (Love & Gelato #3)

Love & Olives (Love & Gelato #3)
Age Range
Release Date
November 10, 2020
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Liv Varanakis doesn’t have a lot of fond memories of her father, which makes sense—he fled to Greece when she was only eight. What Liv does remember, though, is their shared love for Greek myths and the lost city of Atlantis. So when Liv suddenly receives a postcard from her father explaining that National Geographic is funding a documentary about his theories on Atlantis—and will she fly out to Greece and help?—Liv jumps at the opportunity.

But when she arrives to gorgeous Santorini, things are a little…awkward. There are so many questions, so many emotions that flood to the surface after seeing her father for the first time in years. And yet Liv doesn’t want their past to get in the way of a possible reconciliation. She also definitely doesn’t want Theo—her father’s charismatic so-called “protégé”—to witness her struggle.

And that means diving into all that Santorini has to offer—the beautiful sunsets, the turquoise water, the hidden caves, and the delicious cuisine. But not everything on the Greek island is as perfect as it seems. Because as Liv slowly begins to discover, her father may not have invited her to Greece for Atlantis, but for something much more important.

Editor review

1 review
Love Among the Ruins
Overall rating
Writing Style
Olive Varanakis's father was obsessed with the lost city of Atlantis, and since he was born and raised on the island of Santorini, Greece, he left Olive in the US with her mother when she was eight years old and returned to the island. He has only sent a few occasional post cards, but Liv (as she prefers to be known now) has a box with the 25 items he left behind him, which included their favorite annotated map of Santorini. As she is preparing to apply to colleges (her boyfriend, Dax, wants her to go to Stanford with him, but she would rather go to the Rhode Island School of Design to pursue her art work), she gets a post card from her father asking her to come and spend time with him as he is working on a project. Her mother insists that she go. After a long flight, she is met by the exuberant but entirely unknown Theo, who is her age, very attractive, and does seem to know who her father is. Her luggage is sent separately as she takes off with Theo on his motorcycle. Her father has arranged a big party in her honor and given her a set of very special oil paints, but she is still irritated. She is sharing a small room right off the bookstore that Theo's mother owns with Theo, and the two spend a lot of time together working on a documentary about Atlantis that her father thinks National Geographic will feature. There are many problems along the way, family secrets revealed, light romance, but most of all, a chance for Olive to connect with her heritage and make things right with her father.
Good Points
This is a Young Adult novel that will also be popular with middle school readers. Liv isn't thrilled about spending time in Greece, but she doesn't complain, either, and she embarks on the documentary with good humor. The descriptions of Santorini are great, and I loved Theo and his mother, especially the book store. This gets into a lot of information about her father's mental health at the end, and I don't want to spoil that plot line, but it was well done and helped Liv make sense of her childhood and some anxiety that she herself has. The cover is fantastic! Understated and in pretty colors.

The first two books, which are not related to this in any way that I can figure (other than the general theme of traveling) are hugely popular in my library. I do love books about Greece, so I'm definitely purchasing this, but I wish it had mentioned the scholarly archaeology that has been done on Santorini!

Most readers won't care about this, but I was really surprised that there is no mention of the archaeological digs done in the at Akrotiri on Santorini by Spyridon Marinatos, or of Sir Arthur Evans and Knossos (although Olive does meet a man whose boyfriend is an archaeologist vaguely studying "the Minoans"). Why do I care? I was lucky enough to visit the site with Nanno Marinatos in 1985 and heard about all of the theories about Atlantis!
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