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That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story Paperback – May 19, 2009
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
“An extraordinary tale of passion and love stretching over decades of the twentieth century.”—Booklist
“A marvel . . . a fragrant tale of life and love in the mountains of Sicily.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“This book reads like a suspense novel complete with a surprise ending, and though Tosca’s story is compelling, it’s in de Blasi’s telling of it that the true magic lies.”—Publishers Weekly
“Mesmerizing . . . riveting . . . Brilliantly crafted, the story lingers, thoroughly haunts beyond the final page.”—Providence Journal
“The great Marlena de Blasi writes fairy tales for grown-ups.”—Adriana Trigiani, author of the Big Stone Gap novels
“A taste of old-world Sicily with this story of love among the almond blossoms.”—Christian Science Monitor
About the Author
Marlena de Blasi lives in Italy. She is the author of three memoirs, A Thousand Days in Venice, A Thousand Days in Tuscany, and The Lady in the Palazzo, as well as three books on the foods of Italy.
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Still, this is more than a story of a true love with a happy ever after. Many times, Tosca, the storyteller, explains or justifies her actions or those of her people by invoking their identity as Sicilians. The love story, within the travel memoir is, thus, an interesting way of illustrating what it’s like to be a Sicilian. It matters little that the picture Tosca paints does not go much deeper than our stereotypes of Sicilians (at least, as formed by movies). Tosca’s story is a rather more entertaining way of telling us about the essence of Sicily than just describing sights, sounds, smells, tastes, textures, which De Blasi, in fact, does sumptuously in earlier chapters.
De Blasi calls her editor to tell him this, and then turns to her husband to ask him what he'd like to do with the unexpected free time.
They go to a bar, and see some policeman who frequent the place. Di Blasi approaches them. Could they tell her of some place to stay in the countryside, perhaps a small hotel or pensione? Unexpectedly, they tell her. The woman's name is Tosca. The place is Villa Donnafugata.
De Blasi and her husband thank them, and leave.
What happens next is...so Sicilian.
How would you feel if you think you're going to a hotel, only to arrive somewhere that could better be described as a nunnery? There are bells. There is a community of women, cooking, sewing, and digging. There is bustle and laughter. There is tragedy and death. Marlena de Blasi can only gape.
But the biggest surprise comes from Tosca herself, who talks. And she is not talking about the weather, but spilling a tale of love, rivalry, jealousy and the mafia.
All those things it is better to be silent about.
Hence THAT SUMMER IN SICILY. Five stars.