Book Review: Beginning of Forever by Catherine Bybee

About the Book:

Title: Beginning of Forever

Author: Catherine Bybee

Series: The D’Angelos #3

Page Length: 360

Publication Date: June 27, 2023

Publisher: Montlake

Synopsis: Tasting wine is not enough: sommelier Giovanni D’Angelo wants to create it. To put his family first, he’s always deferred his dreams—a vineyard to run, a woman to marry. But a three-week vineyard tour in Italy could set him back on track.

For Emma Rutledge, wine is in her blood. Intent to run the family wine business one day, she finds that the men in her family are only intent to push her out of it. But that’s fine—she’s got a plan.

When Gio and Emma meet on a wine tour in Tuscany, their shared aspirations fuel an undeniable chemistry. Returning home to California, they work toward setting up Emma’s vineyard and a label of their own. But when Emma receives a life-altering diagnosis, she worries it’s all been for nothing.

As Emma works to cement her family legacy while dealing with this unexpected challenge, Gio tries to convince her that their future isn’t just wine.

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BAM

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Beginning of Forever is a fantastic story and everything I love about contemporary romances. The characters, the gorgeous settings, the themes and messages, the love story – everything about it is brilliant!

Gio and Emma are relationship goals, and I ADORED their love story! They’re such a wonderful complement to each other, and they fit together perfectly. Though they don’t live too far from each other, the first time they meet is when they are on the same tour in Italy. And what a fun tour! Not only are they touring the vineyards and wineries of Italy, which are surrounded by beautiful and charming landscapes and towns, but Gio and Emma they get up to all kinds of shenanigans, meet the best people who make the trip a memorable one, and make life-long friends in almost all of them. If I ever go on a trip like that, I’d love to bring the Golden Girls with me. They were a blast!

Though Gio and Emma have a whirlwind vacation romance, it doesn’t end when the vacation is over. Instead, they continue dating back home. Ooof – the chemistry between these two is super swoon-worthy! I couldn’t get enough of them. I especially loved how Gio treated Emma. I think he saw in her things she and many of her family members didn’t see in herself. He believes in her. It was so lovely to see just how much Gio, a bachelor who never had a long relationship and enjoyed playing the field, cared for Emma almost from their first meeting. It was also fabulous to see Emma take a chance on Gio even though a past relationship soured her feelings toward love and relationships.

The story also includes secondary characters who are as fabulous as Emma and Gio! I adore the D’Angelos and think it would be great if they adopted me. Please and thank you! lol They are such a fun, close-knit, boisterous, and supportive family who have so much love to give. They don’t have many boundaries, and they have even less filters, but the way they are there for each other in the good times and the bad, the way they love so deeply and unconditionally, and the way they welcome new people into their fold is incredibly heartwarming and wonderful.

Emma’s family is a bit more complicated, and some pretty toxic relationships really affect her. It’s great to see Emma finally get (from Gio and others) the respect and support she often lacks, and I think she goes on a tremendous journey over the course of the novel. Physically, she, of course, travels to Italy, but emotionally she learns a lot about what she wants and what she won’t accept anymore. A lot of her growth stems from her newish independence, her growing relationship with Gio, and a surprising health problem.

I loved this story. It was my first by the author, and though it’s not the first book in the series, it can totally be read as a standalone. I haven’t read any of the other books, but I easily followed the story. However, I NEED to go back and read the other books because if they’re half as good as this one, I know I’ll love it!

Special thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.



Favorite Parts:

  • The romance.
  • The settings.
  • The messages.
  • The D’Angelos.


And when Gio paused long enough to shove some food into his mouth, his mother offered a sweet smile and tapped her fingers on the table.

“You’ve said nothing about Emma.”

Gio chewed slowly and looked around the table.

Everyone was quietly watching him.

He slowly swallowed with a grin and followed it with a drink of water. “What do you want to know?”

Mari lost her smile. Slapped a hand on the table. “What do I want to know?” She rolled her eyes, lifted a hand in the air, and switched to Italian. “For an hour you’ve talked about everyone but the woman you introduced us to.”

“C’mon, Gio . . . give it up,” Chloe said, kicking him under the table.


“Is she your girlfriend?” Franny asked without hesitation.

Gio winked at his niece. “Emma is someone I hope you will all meet very soon.”

“Bene, bene . . .” His mother was smiling again.

“I won’t say she’s a girlfriend, but we are more than friends.”

Mari’s smile fell to a flat line. “Why not a girlfriend?”

“Mama, we’ve only known each other a few weeks.”

“This means nothing to me. When you know, you know.” Mari swirled spaghetti with her fork. “Your father and I—”

“Yes, Mama, we know. Instant love, marriage, and babies. It isn’t like that nowadays.”

Brooke cleared her throat and placed a hand on her protruding baby bump. “I disagree.”

Dante laughed. “It took Chloe and I more time.”

Mari tossed around gestures with her free hand. “You were childhood friends. That’s different. And since you eloped without a whisper to the family, something must have been instant. Not that I want you to share.”

Dante stood down.

Smart man.

“This Emma is beautiful, and the way you smiled at her . . .”

“It was sappy adorable, Gio,” Chloe said in agreement with their mother.

He was infatuated with the woman, there was no pretending otherwise. “Her guard is up a bit. She’s been married before.”

“Children?” Mari asked.

“No, Mama. But when someone is divorced it takes a little longer to trust.”

All eyes turned to Luca. The only person at the table who had any personal authority on the subject.

Gio waited for his brother to agree.

Instead, Luca placed a hand over Brooke’s at the table and shook his head. “Not when you find the right person.”

Gio rolled his eyes. “It still takes time.”

“Wasting time, you mean,” his mother said.

Gio spread his hands to each side of the table, indicating his sister and brother. “Mama, two weddings in one year . . . isn’t that enough?”

“No,” she said flat out. “My youngest son still isn’t married. There is still room at this table. So, no. It’s not enough. When you’re married, it will be enough.”

“It’s a trap, Gio,” Dante said.

Chloe hit his arm.

“Not marriage . . . the enough part. Soon as you’re married the question switches to babies.”

The two things Emma said she didn’t want.

“Oh,” Chloe sighed. “That’s true.”

“None of this when you meet Emma. We don’t talk about my lack of being a husband or anyone’s biological clock. I don’t want anyone scaring her off.”

“What’s a biological clock?” Franny asked.

Dante started laughing.

“I mean it!” Gio pointed his fork at his sister and mother.

“She means something to you,” Luca said quietly.

Gio paused, thought of her smile, her laugh. The freckles on her face and how crazy her hair turned in the humidity. “Yeah. She does.”

“Then we will do our best to keep our opinions about weddings and babies to ourselves. Don’t you think, Mama?” Luca asked.

Mari released a deep sigh. “Fine. I can do that.”

Gio felt the tension in his shoulders ease.

Franny leaned over, tapped his arm. “What’s a biological clock?”

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Beginning of Forever by Catherine Bybee

  1. Such a great review! I’m completely sold. I keep hearing her books are wonderful, but I’ve yet to pick one up. I definitely need to change that.

  2. Fab review! I love a story with an Italian setting, and I’m really intrigued by the whole wine industry as well. I visited some vineyards during our vacation recently, and it was so interesting to learn more about the process of wine making.

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