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The Tuscan Child Paperback – February 20, 2018
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A Goodreads Choice Award Semifinalist, Historical Fiction
A New York Post Must-Read Selection
“Pass the bread, the olives, and the wine. Oh, and a copy of The Tuscan Child to savor with them.” —NPR
“The next best thing to going to Italy right now.” —HelloGiggles
“Readers who enjoy World War II historical fiction and rural Italian culture will appreciate this story by a master of her genre.” —Library Journal
“The alternating narratives keep the story moving along, and the pastoral setting is transporting.” —Booklist
“Besides being an action-packed story that is intense and haunting, Bowen also brings to life the setting where the reader can smell the cooking scents, see the brilliant olive groves, and hear the Italian chatter.” —Crimespree
“This novel is well plotted with characters that are so compelling, with their attributes and flaws, that the reader can almost feel as if they had sat down and shared a glass of vin santo with them.” —Historical Novel Society
“The interwoven mystery is expertly crafted and unravels at a pace that will keep readers guessing until the end. This is an overall enjoyable trip to the Tuscan countryside and readers will be reluctant to leave this charming and intriguing place.” —RT Book Reviews
“That Rhys Bowen is the consummate storyteller is a given—from her insightful characterizations to her plotting wizardry, she is a wonderful writer. But now Rhys has outdone herself—The Tuscan Child is a poignant story of love in wartime, woven into a compelling search for the truth when mysteries consigned to the past begin to unravel. The Tuscan Child presented me with a conundrum—didn’t want the book to end, yet I couldn’t put it down. Best read with a glass of Chianti beside a roaring fire. Brava Rhys Bowen—brava!” —Jacqueline Winspear, New York Times bestselling author of the Maisie Dobbs historical mystery novels
About the Author
Rhys Bowen is the New York Times bestselling author of the Royal Spyness, Molly Murphy, and Constable Evans mystery series, as well as the #1 Kindle bestseller In Farleigh Field. She has won the Agatha Award for Best Novel and has been nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel, among numerous other awards, nominations, and starred reviews. Bowen was born in Bath, England, studied at London University, married into a family with historic royal connections, and now divides her time between Northern California and Arizona.
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This book hit all my hot buttons--a secret dating back to World War II, an English protagonist, delightful descriptions of Italian food and scenery, a burgeoning romance--what could be better?
Thoroughly recommend this to everyone who longs for a good read on a rainy night. Or any other kind of night.
The Tuscan Child flips between two different eras throughout the novel. Starting with Hugo Langley, a son of the aristocracy, a husband and father brought down with his mates in the late part of WW2 in the mountain region of Tuscany, the only one to survive the wreck with a bad leg as a result. The second character we meet in the early 70's, his daughter, Joanna who must deal with the remnants of her recent loss of her estranged father Hugh who was 'existing' in a portion of the Family Estate in the English Countryside, the Lodge which was lent to him when he became heir to the estate but unable to pay inheritance taxes to the Crown(which many families have found various ways of dealing with).He was forced to sell the estate to a local private school. Joanna going through his belongings finds a returned letter to a Sophia in Tuscany which upon reading , piques her interest in their relationship and refers to a 'golden child'. Having inventoried the remaining family possessions, including several paintings, Joanna decides to put off her exams to be eligible for the bar , leave said possessions with her barrister(Nigel Barton), and takes off to unravel the mystery of her father's time spent during the war, and what happened to the Sophia, and her child or children.
All of the parallel life histories tell us much about these two, and all the characters that they weave into their stories. So we learn more initially than they do, but not all except they are somehow all connected, the good, the bad, and the potentially nasty or are they ?
Let me lead the reader to have the satisfaction to unravel all the mysteries, that befall Hugh, Sophia, Joanna and others ..This is where I take my leave with the most urging that if you want to disappear with an exceptional book, and follow the narrative..who am I to stop you...I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO DO SO!
Top international reviews
The book was entertaining in its way, and to begin with seemed somewhat promising to my untrained eye. But some way in I was reminded of the cheap Point Horror novels I used to read when I was 12. All sensation and intrigue, no substance, and with certain elements far too easy to guess (once you'd got to know what the general outlines of the plots *always* was...). For one summer at the age of 12 I was hooked, but by the time I was 13 I'm extremely glad to say I'd grown out of them, having moved on to the classics, never to return.
Needless to say I began to become impatient with this book. The story didn't seem to be moving much. Just really ridiculous lines of what I suppose was meant to be intrigue but was far too easy to see through. I'd feel less let down if the beginning hadn't persuaded me that perhaps there might be some intelligence to this novel. But that is perhaps my fault. I have a friend who is a writer who I'm sure would have seen through things more quickly. As it was, I was I was intrigued at the very beginning, frustrated through the "middle" (in quotations as it seemed to last for most of the book) and then, when the end finally (and rather suddenly) came, very disappointed. I believe I laughed out loud at one part I found it so ridiculous. That was when I knew for certain that this was a glossed up Point Horror. Eugh. It's obviously not written for 12 year olds, but other than that... Well i think I've been scathing enough haven't I? It's not an intelligent book, though what gripes me is that I think it would have you believe it is.
At least I got this on offer for £1 so I'm not so disappointed in that regard. It filled the time. I'd advise against paying more unless you have badly done intrigue as a guilty pleasure you're willing to pay for though. I prefer my guilty pleasures to be free. But that's me. Anyway, you've been warned.
Another question. Why do some reviewers feel they have to tell you the whole story and in one case, give away the twist near the end? I like to know as little as possible and be surprised, otherwise what is the point.
Set in UK & Italy. After father's death his daughter finds papers among his possessions she never knew about. Firstly she finds he had been married before & she had an older half-brother, secondly finds returned letter from Italy dated after the war saying person named is not living at the address. Wanting to find out more about her father's plane crash in WW2 daughter & a mystery mentioned in the papers, she finds the village in Tuscany. But someone doesn't want her to know the truth. A gripping story throughout. I could hardly put it down.
And no spelling mistakes or typographical errors for once so a really good book. Only 2 words were spelled the American way & I got through this book quickly. A most enjoyable read.