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Antonia and Her Daughters: Secrets, Love, Friendship and Family in Tuscany Hardcover


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Antonia and Her Daughters: Secrets, Love, Friendship and Family in Tuscany + That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story + The Lady in the Palazzo: An Umbrian Love Story
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin (September 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1742374077
  • ISBN-13: 978-1742374079
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #534,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

De Blasi, author of A Thousand Days in Venice (2002), digs a little deeper in her latest memoir, chronicling not only her own experiences but also the story of a passionate Tuscan matriarch. When Marlena accepts the offer of a friend’s isolated cottage, in order to finish the book she is working on in solitude, she gets more than she bargained for when she meets Antonia, a feisty octogenarian rightfully suspicious of expatriates with romantic notions of life and love in the Italian countryside. As the two form a prickly friendship, Antonia begins to reveal, layer by layer, the harrowing, heart-wrenching tale of her wartime experiences, as she struggled, at great personal cost, to protect her family. De Blasi’s liquid prose will draw readers into this testament to love, loss, friendship, and, ultimately, survival. --Margaret Flanagan

Review

"An irresistible grown-up love story."  —USA Today on A Thousand Days in Venice


"The great Marlena de Blasi writes fairy tales for grown-ups."  —Adriana Trigiani, author, Big Stone Gap


"De Blasi’s liquid prose will draw readers into this testament to love, loss, friendship, and, ultimately survival." — Booklist

More About the Author

Marlena de Blasi has been a chef, a journalist, a food and wine consultant, and a restaurant critic. She is the author of two cookbooks, Regional Foods of Northern Italy (a James Beard Foundation Award finalist) and Regional Foods of Southern Italy. She and her husband, Fernando, now direct gastronomic tours through Tuscany and Umbria.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 24 customer reviews
I have read all of the non-fiction books written by Marlena de Blasi.
Proftom
Do not read this book if you are seeking light heaerted escape and a happy description of great food and the pleasures of life in Italy.
Terry5555
This is a light enjoyable holiday read, interesting characters and a good story.
Jinksie the queen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jinksie the queen on July 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read Marlena De Blazi's other novels and liked them all. This is a light enjoyable holiday read, interesting characters and a good story. Ms De Blazi is a good storyteller and clearly understands the expats place in their new community, warts and all. The Antonia in this story adds a dimension to the Tuscan dream not often considered in our romantic view of Italy. I really liked this book and recommend it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By MS on December 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a loyal De Blasi fan, one who buys all her books as a matter of course and reads and rereads them many times. She's a wonderfully skilled writer. Her descriptions of people, food and country seem to magically open a richer world--and at the same time she's by no means a softy. In her Orvieto memoir, she was not afraid to address the real, everlasting coldness with which some natives treat foreigners. And in Antonia and Her Daughters, she deals with a tragedy which took place in the unforgotten past.

(SPOILERS) From almost the first words that old Antonia speaks, we're aware that she and others dear to her were the victims of atrocities during the WWII Nazi occupation of their country home. The exact details don't emerge until near the end of the book. However, the gist of what happened is clear to us very early on. I was troubled by the writer's "shaping" these disclosures, with mysterious and portentious language, pretty much throughout the book.
It is done with much art, but somehow that is the heart of my objection. I think there are certain tragedies in life that need to be presented exactly as they were--with more of reality and less of art.

There are a few other less important lapses in the book. De Blasi is a profoundly gifted writer, but sometimes she depends too much on her charm to make us accept repetitious material. There are descriptions of certain landscapes and meals that, however pleasant at the time, are perilously close to filler. And toward the beginning of the book, either she or her Marlena-persona indulge in some borderline mean-spirited remarks about her husband Fernando. There is no question that this is a devoted couple, smitten lifelong with each other.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Karen B on May 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I reviewed this on Goodreads but, needlesstosay, I thought this book about Marlena's experiences with the feisty Octogenarian, Antonia, and her beautiful daughters was magnificent. Please see Goodreads for more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nana Nan on October 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this book Marlena De Blasi brings us to a new place, while remaining in an old place--a less familiar Tuscan landscape. She pens the history and life story of Antonia and the people who make up Antonia's larger family. And of course food in its growing, harvesting, preparation, and serving threads through the chapters. The serious events remembered, revealed and wonderfully told in this story will remain with me. It interests me that somehow I was reading "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak at the same time. I am about to read "The Lost Wife" by Alyson Richman, to continue my reading trend.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Susan Greene on September 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Deeply moving...well written and as usual....a must read and reread...I am going to put it on my Kindle..Am looking forward to her next book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By maryanne forish on November 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Finally another book by one of my favorite authors. I couldn't put it down. Have read
all of her books..all well written. She has this capacity to draw you into her life
in Tuscany, via food, scents, and relationships.. Brava Marlena.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sarla V. Joy on October 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have devoured all of Marlena de Blasi's books, relishing the stories along with the insight into Italian culinary adventures. In this one, I also appreciated the personal revelations about her relationships and her clear expression of her need for solitary attention to her writing. Thank you, Marlena. Please continue!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ellen G Snader on October 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have loved all of Marlena DeBlasi's books. When I saw that she had written a new book, and about Tuscany, I bought it immediately. Unfortunately, this was by far my least favorite of all of her books. The story took far too long to develop, in my opinion. Once the story really got going, I do not feel that it was developed enough. DeBlasi is superb at writing about the textures, smells, and colors of Italy. They all are starting to sound the same to me. I honestly did not feel that the characters were that interesting. Somewhat predictable.
I brought this book along on my beach vacation, and instead of devouring in in a day or so, it took me five days to plow through. Sadly to say, I was relieved when it was over. I will take my time before I purchase any future books. Reviews will be read first. Sorry Ms. DeBlasi!
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