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The Tuscan Child Audio CD – Unabridged, February 20, 2018
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From New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Rhys Bowen comes a haunting novel about a woman who braves her father’s hidden past to discover his secrets…
“Pass the bread, the olives, and the wine. Oh, and a copy of The Tuscan Child to savor with them.” —NPR
In 1944, British bomber pilot Hugo Langley parachuted from his stricken plane into the verdant fields of German-occupied Tuscany. Badly wounded, he found refuge in a ruined monastery and in the arms of Sofia Bartoli. But the love that kindled between them was shaken by an irreversible betrayal.
Nearly thirty years later, Hugo’s estranged daughter, Joanna, has returned home to the English countryside to arrange her father’s funeral. Among his personal effects is an unopened letter addressed to Sofia. In it is a startling revelation.
Still dealing with the emotional wounds of her own personal trauma, Joanna embarks on a healing journey to Tuscany to understand her father’s history—and maybe come to understand herself as well. Joanna soon discovers that some would prefer the past be left undisturbed, but she has come too far to let go of her father’s secrets now…
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About the Author
- Publisher : Audible Studios on Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (February 20, 2018)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1978615604
- ISBN-13 : 978-1978615601
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.5 x 1.13 x 5.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #712,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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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!
Positives: the premise is an interesting one, and I liked the use of alternating narratives. It was believable to me that a child of a WWII soldier would be estranged from her father. I also thought that her weaving in Tuscan cuisine was a very nice and helped to set scene.
Challenges: It felt like the story needed another round of editing. She over-uses phrases and terms, pockmarked buildings, and "I realized I wasn't being very tactful" (I thought, oh, maybe she's somewhat autistic, but i don't think that's what the author was going for). I had a hard time believing that both Father and Daughter spoke such accomplished Italian within such a short period of time. She spoke French and took only a few weeks of Italian, but somehow could carry on/ understand complicated conversations. SPOILER - Renzo doesn't seem too distressed when his father dies right in front of him. I understand, he has just tried to kill Joanna (someone who he JUST met a few days earlier) and he realized that he wasn't as honorable as he thought he was, but that was still a person who had cared for him. I thought that Renzo's feelings/reaction would be more complex than it was. I know that thousands of people really loved this book, but I found it pedestrian and unremarkable. Thumbs down - Rhys, you need a new editor.
Top reviews from other countries
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.