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Now and Then in Tuscany: Italian journeys Paperback – February 26, 2017
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Marisa and Guiseppe spend the next 50 years learning to love each other and raise the son. The story of the next generation of Guiseppe’s family is interwoven; grandson Francesco is now the scion of a family that includes Anna, his second wife, their 3 children, and Alba, his teenaged daughter from a first marriage. Like Marisa, Anna and Alba are especially endearing characters who each have a big question in their lives.
The book is full of a subtle yearning. The prose is evocative. The historical narrative is impressively authentic and riven with the author’s love of her subject.
I haven’t read anything quite like this book and I struggled a little to adapt to the meld. There were incidents and details in the fiction which didn’t help the flow of the plot but which were really interesting in themselves and very authentic - I suspected they had been gathered from interviews with eye witnesses. Likewise the photographs added realism but detracted from my immersion in the fiction. I couldn’t decide whether this was history or fiction. It was both, but not quite either.
Whatever it was, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was well-written in a lively style. Most of all I wished I was reading it on a terrace in Tuscany with a glass of Sangiovese in my hand.
Angela Petch has an eye for the minutiae of life and her writing is crammed with stunning descriptions, bringing the story and her characters vividly into focus. There are photographs too, and while in the Kindle edition these are quite hard to see, Angela's words make up for any lack of detail. Though I enjoyed the book, I did find it a little hard to get into at first. This may have been due to the mix of fact and fiction, which at times jarred a little. However, on the whole, this is a beautifully written and well-observed tale that will take you straight into the Tuscan countryside.
What-happened-next books are so often disappointing. After the enchanting ‘Tuscan Roots’ (Angela Petch’s first novel set in Tuscany) I was almost afraid to read on. I needn’t have worried. This new book, which continues the story of Anna and Francesco Starnucci, like its predecessor, blends a modern-day story with family history in an intricate weaving of now and then. Once again the author’s love of the landscape and people of this beautiful region shine through, but this is far from being a mere travelogue. Angela Petch is an assured storyteller who knows how to blend in a touch of mystery to keep the reader guessing.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a deft combination of novel and history.Read more
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