The Tuscan Child

The Tuscan Child

A 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 love that kindled between them was shaken by an irreversible betraya...

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Title:The Tuscan Child
Author:Rhys Bowen
Rating:
Edition Language:English

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 Joanna wasn't close to her father, a rather cold and withdrawn man who became even more distant after the death of Joanna's mother.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 Joanna wasn't close to her father, a rather cold and withdrawn man who became even more distant after the death of Joanna's mother.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 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.

  • Kathryn

    In the Tuscan Child Rhys Bowen has written a novel with a dual time line. One part is set in Tuscany during World War 11 time, where Hugo - an English pilot is forced to eject from his damaged plane. Badly injured he is helped by Sofia - a local young woman. She hides him in bombed monastery and carries food to him when she can.

    As well we meet Joanna - Hugo's daughter, in 1973 returning home to Langley Hall on the sudden death of her father. She finds some items amongst his things that lead her

    In the Tuscan Child Rhys Bowen has written a novel with a dual time line. One part is set in Tuscany during World War 11 time, where Hugo - an English pilot is forced to eject from his damaged plane. Badly injured he is helped by Sofia - a local young woman. She hides him in bombed monastery and carries food to him when she can.

    As well we meet Joanna - Hugo's daughter, in 1973 returning home to Langley Hall on the sudden death of her father. She finds some items amongst his things that lead her on a journey to Tuscany to find answers to her questions. From her we receive a picture of Hugo as an old defeated man, out of touch with his daughter. Yet in the mid 1940's we see a completely different Hugo.

    Mystery surrounds what went on in that small village during the war, how did Hugo and Sofia not end up together? The town has one story but is that correct? Joanna finds welcome from some in the village but not from others. Her hostess is lovely and soon has her sampling all kinds of wonderful Tuscany cooking. Yet there seems to be something not quite right going on, a bad force at work.

    While Joanna finds the son of Sofia still alive - Renzo, it takes awhile for him to warm to her, however soon they are working together to find the answers Joanna is seeking about her father and his cryptic note he tried to send Sofia.

    I enjoyed the Tuscany setting and the description of the food and people. Sofia was a warm, courageous young woman, Hugo a man changed by her, Joanna a daughter kept somewhat at arm's length but still with a connection to her father, that makes her determined to find out what went on here in San Salvatore during the war. And the day of reckoning for some is about to take place.

  • 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.

  • Stephanie Anze

    When Joanna Langley is cleaning out the house of her father after his unexpected death in the English countryside, she comes acrosss a sealed letter. Having beeen stranged for a few years, Joanna realizes how little she knew about him and his past as an English airman in the RAF. The letter is adressedd to Sofia Bertoli and in it there is information that unsettles her. Not being able to contain her desire to know, Joanna takes off to the village of San Salvatore, the address on the envelope. In

    When Joanna Langley is cleaning out the house of her father after his unexpected death in the English countryside, she comes acrosss a sealed letter. Having beeen stranged for a few years, Joanna realizes how little she knew about him and his past as an English airman in the RAF. The letter is adressedd to Sofia Bertoli and in it there is information that unsettles her. Not being able to contain her desire to know, Joanna takes off to the village of San Salvatore, the address on the envelope. In her attempt to find the truth about her father, she will embark on a personal journey of her own.

    I love the premise of this novel. The cover is beautiful. A mix of a historical book with romance and some mystery, this seemed like a book that I would love. But alas, I do not. With a dual narration, that of Joanna and her father Hugo, this novel takes place in 1973 and 1944 respectively. Hugo Langley was a pilot for the RAF and while flying over Tuscany, his plane was hit. Hugo managed to save himself by jumping off with his parachute. But he sustained a serious injury upon landing in a German-controlled area. Luckily for Hugo, he was found by Sofia Bertoli, a local woman who then comes to his aid and helps conceal him. Growing up Joanna knew his father was in the war and was able to return back home but she never knew the details. Thus as Joanna heads for San Salvatore, she hopes to learn of this facet of her father. Once in the village, she meets an array of characters, from the kind woman who rents her a room to the man that seems to control the whole village with his money. While everyone denies having known about her father, Joanna feels something is off. This notion is futher reinforced when a man is found dead.

    In the end, this book was nice but not outstanding. There was just something missing. Even with a murder, there was a lack of suspense. I had a hard time believing that events unfolded in the time frame and order in which they did. And the ending? It was just too neat and perfect. Again, hard to believe. The characters were one note and predictable. I did find all those Italian and English countryside vignettes lovely and the food descriptions were a nice touch. I found myself really craving risotto and stuffed zucchini flower. As a historical novel though, it did not deliver. It was not memorable for me, this book. I read quite a bit regarding WWII and this novel was underwhelming.

  • 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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