The Tuscan Child

The Tuscan Child

From New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen comes a haunting novel about a woman who braves her father’s hidden past to discover his secrets…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 lov...

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Title:The Tuscan Child
Author:Rhys Bowen
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The Tuscan Child Reviews

  • ❀⊱Rory⊰❀

    5 Stars. Wonderful.

    When Joanna Langley's father Hugh passes away in 1973 she returns home to arrange his funeral and sort out his possessions. Among his things she finds a small box and within it a letter addressed to an Italian woman named Sofia. Joanna wasn't close to her father, a rather cold and withdrawn man who became even more distant after the death of Joanna's mother. The mysterious letter gives Joanna a glimpse into her father's heart, revealing to her a man very different from the on

    5 Stars. Wonderful.

    When Joanna Langley's father Hugh passes away in 1973 she returns home to arrange his funeral and sort out his possessions. Among his things she finds a small box and within it a letter addressed to an Italian woman named Sofia. Joanna wasn't close to her father, a rather cold and withdrawn man who became even more distant after the death of Joanna's mother. The mysterious letter gives Joanna a glimpse into her father's heart, revealing to her a man very different from the one she knew. In an effort to understand her father's past she decides to go to Italy and discover what happened to him there in 1944 and, if possible, to find Sofia.

    What Joanna doesn't realize is that not everyone in San Salvatore wants to her digging up the past. There are secrets some will do anything to protect and when Joanna becomes a suspect in a murder investigation, who can she trust?

    This is such a wonderful story, with beautifully drawn characters and an amazing Italian setting. There's heartache, great food, romance and a satisfying mystery. I'll be reading this one a second time.

  • Linda

    "Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you." (Gayle Forman)

    Hugo Langley, an RAF pilot, finds himself behind the controls on a bombing mission near the northern hills above Lucca, Italy. December of 1944 brings no choices, only commands from the powers that be. The Germans have taken over the area and Langley and his crew are in a destiny to stop them.

    Once airborne, Hugo and his co-pilot have been hit by enemy fire. Too late for the co-pilot, but Langley parachutes and mi

    "Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you." (Gayle Forman)

    Hugo Langley, an RAF pilot, finds himself behind the controls on a bombing mission near the northern hills above Lucca, Italy. December of 1944 brings no choices, only commands from the powers that be. The Germans have taken over the area and Langley and his crew are in a destiny to stop them.

    Once airborne, Hugo and his co-pilot have been hit by enemy fire. Too late for the co-pilot, but Langley parachutes and miraculously hits the ground still alive. Desperately, he wraps up the parachute even though he is in extreme agony from a bullet wound to his leg. He crawls behind a tree and passes out.

    Hugo's eyes open to what he perceives to be the face of an angel. It is Sofia Bartoli from the tiny village of San Salvatore who was picking random mushrooms in the area. In his broken Italian, Hugo describes his situation and Sofia describes hers. The Germans are a threatening force and both Englishman and Italian woman are in danger of being discovered.

    Rhys Bowen fast forwards this story to 1973 and swoops it down amidst the surroundings of Langley Hall Estate. Sir Hugo Langley has passed away and his only child, Joanna, has come to claim his things. She has been studying law and preparing to take the bar exam. Langley Hall had been sold and turned into a private school because of vast debts.

    As Joanna packs away and sorts through years of items, she comes across a letter to a mysterious Sofia from San Salvatore. Joanna had no knowledge of her father's plight in Italy during the war. Determined to find out more, she travels to this isolated village to find out what she can and to come to know this man who was her father.

    The reader leans in as Bowen tells a story like no other with much detail and laces it with quick dialogue and a shifting storyline from one generation to another. She brings the warmth of Italy with its rich countryside and its hearty people into play. There are curious characters both on the English front and in the Italian setting. But make no mistake, a dead body will find its way to floating in a village well. Those above-mentioned choices will certainly take seed from the past and sprout into the present with consequences both good and bad. A delightful read by the very talented Rhys Bowen.

    I received a copy of The Tuscan Child through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Lake Union and to Rhys Bowen for the opportunity.

  • Cynthia

    Genre wise this Tuscan Child is a blend of mystery, romance, and general fiction. The setting is stunning set in a fictional town called San Salvatore in northern Italy the action pivotal between 1944 and 1973 and between a gunned down RAF pilot and his daughter. At first I was more intrigued by the WWII story but as things progressed and the mystery heated up I enjoyed the daughter’s tale also.

    I can’t say the conclusion was as enticing as the rest of the book but the story zips along so pleasan

    Genre wise this Tuscan Child is a blend of mystery, romance, and general fiction. The setting is stunning set in a fictional town called San Salvatore in northern Italy the action pivotal between 1944 and 1973 and between a gunned down RAF pilot and his daughter. At first I was more intrigued by the WWII story but as things progressed and the mystery heated up I enjoyed the daughter’s tale also.

    I can’t say the conclusion was as enticing as the rest of the book but the story zips along so pleasantly that hardly matters. Bowen touches on not only WWII but also art and artists, Nazis, Italy, and cooking that you can almost taste through the pages. Her strongest skill was the setting of post war England and its crumbling class system and Italian culture and the beauty of the area. The two create a nice dichotomy both in time and traditions.

    Thank you to the publisher for providing an ecopy.

    3.5/5 stars

  • Siobhan

    Having read and enjoyed Rhys Bowen’s In Farleigh Field, I was more than happy to pick up The Tuscan Child. The synopsis intrigued me, and I was excited to see how the story came together.

    From the very start, The Tuscan Child sucks you into the story. It pulls you into the past, leaving you turning page after page as two interconnected storylines play out. You know they are linked, you have ideas of how, but it is not until you’ve worked your way deep into the story that everything becomes appare

    Having read and enjoyed Rhys Bowen’s In Farleigh Field, I was more than happy to pick up The Tuscan Child. The synopsis intrigued me, and I was excited to see how the story came together.

    From the very start, The Tuscan Child sucks you into the story. It pulls you into the past, leaving you turning page after page as two interconnected storylines play out. You know they are linked, you have ideas of how, but it is not until you’ve worked your way deep into the story that everything becomes apparent. If you’re a fan of historical mysteries, this is certainly a book to pick up. It may not be the dark and twisted thriller you find in other books set in this time, but this one will keep you gripped throughout.

    While there was a lot about this book I enjoyed, I think my favourite aspect was how atmospheric the book was. Rhys Bowen really brings the locations to life, providing so many details that the world comes alive around you. Each and every element is vivid, the detail enough to transfer you to someplace new. Honestly, I was surprised. I tend to find the level of imagery I had with this book usually comes from the author being too detailed – yet, somehow, Rhys Bowen managed it without burying me under endless pages of description.

    Another thing I really enjoyed, something I also enjoyed about In Farleigh Field, was the attention given to the dynamics of the characters. There was a lot of fun to be had with the mystery, the world came alive around us, but what I constantly found myself wanting more of was the details pertaining to the individual characters. There were many layers to uncover, and I found myself desperate to know all there was to know about the characters, to see more of the way they played off each other.

    The one thing I wasn’t crazy about, though, was the ending. I felt as though it didn’t have the high impact I had been anticipating. I enjoyed it, yes; I was glad to see how everything came together, sure; but I had expected something a bit more. The ending didn’t quite feel up to the same standard as the rest of the book.

    Overall, though, I had a lot of fun with this one. I’m certainly interested in reading more Rhys Bowen in the future.

  • Bam

    *3.5 stars rounded up.

    In December, 1944, Hugo Langley is a young British pilot who is forced to parachute from his burning plane over Italy. Hugo has received a leg wound and is sure he will soon die until a young Tuscan woman comes to his aid.

    Nearly thirty years later, his daughter Joanna is sorting through his papers after his death when she discovers an old sealed letter addressed to an Italian woman named Sofia. A letter that is marked "Not known at this address. Return to Sender." It is a

    *3.5 stars rounded up.

    In December, 1944, Hugo Langley is a young British pilot who is forced to parachute from his burning plane over Italy. Hugo has received a leg wound and is sure he will soon die until a young Tuscan woman comes to his aid.

    Nearly thirty years later, his daughter Joanna is sorting through his papers after his death when she discovers an old sealed letter addressed to an Italian woman named Sofia. A letter that is marked "Not known at this address. Return to Sender." It is a love letter in which Hugo says "I want you to know that our beautiful boy is safe. He is hidden where only you can find him." Joanna is stunned--did her father have a child with an Italian woman during the war? If so, was that child ever returned safely to his mother?

    Since her own life is currently in shambles, Joanna decides to travel to San Salvatore in Tuscany, Italy to see if she can piece together the past. No one there remembers a wounded British pilot during the war but soon a man is found murdered and Joanna becomes the chief suspect.

    A nice blend of the past and present (1973) reveals an interesting story. Perhaps the ending is a bit too pat, hence the drop in stars, but it is a heart-warming story filled with descriptions of delicious-sounding Italian meals and pleasant, welcoming villagers.

    Many thanks to NetGalley, Rhys Bowen and Lake Union Publishing for the opportunity to read an arc of this new book in exhange for an honest review.

  • Tiffany PSquared

    Historical novels usually have to be very good in order to capture and hold my attention, and this one fit the bill. In this story, we travel with Joanna Langley from Surrey, England in the early 1970s into the lush, rolling hills of Tuscany and the little village of San Salvatore as she searches for clues about her recently deceased father’s past. Along the way, we are also treated to her father’s story of survival and romance at the end of German occupation of Italy during WWII.

    The story was w

    Historical novels usually have to be very good in order to capture and hold my attention, and this one fit the bill. In this story, we travel with Joanna Langley from Surrey, England in the early 1970s into the lush, rolling hills of Tuscany and the little village of San Salvatore as she searches for clues about her recently deceased father’s past. Along the way, we are also treated to her father’s story of survival and romance at the end of German occupation of Italy during WWII.

    The story was well-written and compelling. The dual timelines were not distracting, but instead lent even more drama and build-up to the story as a whole. Both perspectives were given equal attention and were very well represented by the author. Bowen’s writing was crisp and colorful without being muddled in unnecessary details. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the Tuscan landscape and the delicious food – it made me long to visit Italy.

    Fans of historical fiction will appreciate this novel for its skilled placement in two distinctly different eras of history. Lovers of romantic fiction will also appreciate the tender love stories that develop as well.

    **Many thanks to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing, and the author for the opportunity for me to read and review this book.

  • Liz

    Barely 3 stars.

    I had enjoyed In Farleigh Field, so I was pleased to get an advance copy of this novel. Bowen is again covering the time period of WWII. The book is told in two parts, Hugo Langley’s escape after his plane goes down over Tuscany in 1944 and his daughter Joanna’s return to their home after his death in 1973 and subsequent trip to Italy.

    This book starts off slowly. I wasn’t immediately invested in Joanna’s story. For starters, I had trouble identifying the era. The only time the 7

    Barely 3 stars.

    I had enjoyed In Farleigh Field, so I was pleased to get an advance copy of this novel. Bowen is again covering the time period of WWII. The book is told in two parts, Hugo Langley’s escape after his plane goes down over Tuscany in 1944 and his daughter Joanna’s return to their home after his death in 1973 and subsequent trip to Italy.

    This book starts off slowly. I wasn’t immediately invested in Joanna’s story. For starters, I had trouble identifying the era. The only time the 70s came through was when Joanna was explaining why she was a solicitor rather than a barrister. It took me right back to my own story, back when I was starting off in banking and told I couldn’t enter commercial lending. In both cases what we lacked was down below not up above.

    Luckily, Bowen does a much better job placing you in Tuscany than in time. Her descriptions took me right back there. And don’t read this while hungry, she does a great job describing the food.

    But overall, the book had trouble holding my interest. Even with a murder, it lacks suspense. I could see where things were going from miles away. Also, there are several implausible scenes in the book, especially at the end. The only good news is that there is a big twist I didn’t see coming in Hugo’s story.

    My thanks to netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for an advance copy of this book.

  • Phrynne

    I chose to read this because I enjoy

    's Her Royal Spyness series so much. This was a very different kettle of fish being set half in World War 2 and half in 1970's England and Tuscany.

    A big problem for any book when the author has chosen to write alternately in different time periods is if the two are not perfectly balanced in interest for the reader. In

    I was much more interested in Joanna than I was in Hugo which meant I put the book down and went off to do somethin

    I chose to read this because I enjoy

    's Her Royal Spyness series so much. This was a very different kettle of fish being set half in World War 2 and half in 1970's England and Tuscany.

    A big problem for any book when the author has chosen to write alternately in different time periods is if the two are not perfectly balanced in interest for the reader. In

    I was much more interested in Joanna than I was in Hugo which meant I put the book down and went off to do something else much more than I normally would!

    Nevertheless this was still an enjoyable if predictable story. Tuscany sounded absolutely delightful and there was a lot of interesting information about food! Worth a read.

  • BAM The Bibliomaniac

    Netgalley # 25

    Many thanks go to Rhys Bowen, Lake Union, and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

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