Corbello, Italy, 1947. A woman and a little boy stagger into the ruins of an old house deep in the forest, wild roses overwhelming the crumbling terracotta walls. Since the war, nowhere has been safe. But they both freeze in shock when a voice calls out from the shadows…
For young mother Fosca Sentino, accepting refuge from reluctant British war hero Richard – in Tuscany to escape his tragic past – is the only way to keep her little family safe. She once risked everything to spy on Nazi commanders and pass secret information to the resistenza. But after a heartbreaking betrayal, Fosca’s best friend Simonetta disappeared without trace. The whole community was torn apart, and now Fosca and her son are outcasts.
Wary of this handsome stranger at first, Fosca slowly starts to feel safe as she watches him play with her son in the overgrown orchard. But her fragile peace is shattered the moment a silver brooch is found in the garden, and she recognises it as Simonetta’s…
Fosca has always suspected that another member of the resistenza betrayed her. With Richard by her side, she must find out if Simonetta is still alive, and clear her own name. But how did the brooch end up at the house? And with a traitor hiding in the village, willing to do anything to keep this secret buried, has Fosca put herself and her young son in terrible danger?
An absolutely gripping and heartbreaking page-turner that explores the incredible courage of ordinary people in extraordinary times. Perfect for fans of Rhys Bowen, The Nightingale, and anyone longing to lose themselves in the mountain landscapes and olive groves of rural Tuscany.
The Tuscan House is the fourth novel I have read by this author, and I thoroughly enjoyed being transported back to Tuscany within this book – although each book is a standalone novel!.
Richard is an English Pacifist who makes the decision to join the Friends Ambulance Unit during WWII with the knowledge that he would much rather be saving lives than being the person to take someone’s life away. However, this path he has chosen to take certainly does not shelter him from the sheer devastation that the front line brings. In desperate need of peace, and a sanctuary of his own to try and allow himself to recover from the terrible ordeal, Richard purchases the old Tobacco house – both himself and the house are in need of some serious care.
When we meet Fosca, she has a strong connection with the neglected Tobacco house. Fosca is a member of the resistance throughout the war, and this house holds the answers she needs regarding the disappearance of her friend Simonetta. When Fosca returns to the house, she meets Richard, and together they embark on a journey in the hope of uncovering the truth of Simonetta’s fate.
This story is told through the various perspectives of Fosca, Richard and Simonetta – and this is achieved perfectly via the dual timeline the story follows throughout. Alternating between 1947 and the final years the war, we get a much better insight as to how these characters lived their lives throughout these troubling times.
The story is well structured and it is clear the author has done their research when it comes to bringing the years in which this story is set to life for the reader. The storyline is poignant and compelling, really grasping your attention and holding it firmly until the very end. The characters are all so realistic and have their own in depth personalities, and it is truly fascinating to see the ways in which their varying traits will affect the situations they encounter.
A truly beautiful story that flowed effortlessly from start to finish. I adored this story and I look forward to future releases by Angela Petch.
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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.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Angela_Petch