Wednesday, June 26, 2019

BLOG TOUR - The Tuscan Secret



Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Tuscan Secret by Angela Petch.


DESCRIPTION:
Il Mulino. An old crumbling mill, by a winding river, nestled in the Tuscan mountains. An empty home that holds memories of homemade pasta and Nonna’s stories by the fire, and later: the Nazi invasion, and a family torn apart by a heartbreaking betrayal.

Anna is distraught when her beloved mother, Ines, passes away. She inherits a box of papers, handwritten in Italian and yellowed with age, and a tantalising promise that the truth about what happened during the war lies within.

The diaries lead Anna to the small village of Rofelle, where she slowly starts to heal as she explores sun-kissed olive groves, and pieces together her mother’s past: happy days spent herding sheep across Tuscan meadows cruelly interrupted when World War Two erupted and the Nazis arrived; fleeing her home to join the Resistenza; and risking everything to protect an injured British soldier who captured her heart. But Anna is no closer to learning the truth: what sent Ines running from her adored homeland?

When she meets an elderly Italian gentleman living in a deserted hamlet, who flinches at her mother’s name and refuses to speak English, Anna is sure he knows more about the devastating secret that tore apart her mother’s family. But in this small Tuscan community, some wartime secrets were never meant to be uncovered…

A stunning tale, inspired by true events, about how the tragic consequences of war can echo through generations, and how love can guide us through the darkest times. Fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and The Letter by Kathryn Hughes will be captivated.

This book was previously published as Tuscan Roots.


MY THOUGHTS:

Title:   The Tuscan Secret
Author:  Angela Petch
Genre:   Historical Fiction; Literary Fiction
Publisher:   Bookoture
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:  416
Date of Publication:  June 26, 2019
My Rating:  5 Stars

Anna decides to travel to Italy to try and learn more about her deceased mother Ines Santini. As it turns out, Ines had written Anna a diary that chronicled her years during the end of World War II. However, the diary is in Italian, a language that Anna's English father forbade her to learn. Her siblings, Harry and Jane, were pretty much grown up before Anna was even born.

Her trip to Italy might be her only way of having that diary translated. Even more, Anna wants to learn the beautiful language. As sad as Anna is to have lost Ines, the box of letters just might teach her more about her mother, and that is a gift in itself. Considering the fact that Anna and Ines always experienced a difficult relationship, deciphering the diary might bring Anna peace. Furthermore, there are things about the war that Anna never understood.

One of the first things that Anna learns is that her mother's having kept a diary could have been really dangerous for anyone concerned had it ended up in the wrong hands. Those are a few of the only words written in English. So Anna is more than intrigued. As Anna begins to learn about the contents of the diary, she starts to understand more about her father, and this is important to her.

When Anna arrives in Tuscany, she is immediately befriended by the owners of a bed and breakfast, two siblings. Imagine Anna's shock when one of the first thing she discovers is that her mother had a brother named Davide. Quite naturally, Anna wonders why her parents never spoke of him.

This news to Anna is only the tip of the iceberg, as layer upon layer of facts and detail are revealed. This includes explaining the fact that her father had PTSD, although the diagnosis was not named at that time. Growing up in England, decades after the war, left Anna seemingly unaffected by those tragic times. Sadly, Anna learns this was not the case with her mother and her family. What sadness!

Something else happens to Anna while she is in Tuscany. She draws rather close to Francesco. This is surprising to her, because she certainly did not go to Italy to begin a romantic relationship. What a nice addition to a otherwise touching story.

No doubt Angela Petch did extensive research while writing this book. This is a book that definitely made me think, and books like this are definitely keepers. This was truly an emotional read that had me captivated. There were some difficult passages for sure, especially concerning Anna's father. Not only is the story itself something to remember, it is the descriptive style in which the author writes about Tuscany that has definitely left an impression. This impressive story has an absolutely wonderful ending.

This book was originally published as Tuscan Roots. I do believe that the sequel, Now and Then in Tuscany, is being worked on. I cannot wait to read that book!

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I’m an award winning writer of fiction – and the occasional poem.

Every summer I move to Tuscany for six months where my husband and I own a renovated watermill which we let out. When not exploring our unspoilt corner of the Apennines, I disappear to my writing desk at the top of our converted stable.
In my Italian handbag or hiking rucksack I always make sure to store notebook and pen to jot down ideas.

The winter months are spent in Sussex where most of our family live. When I’m not helping out with grandchildren, I catch up with writer friends.



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