Posts Tagged ‘Tuscany’

This book tells the story of two women, separated by centuries.  In Tuscany in 1347, 13 year old Mia hasn’t spoken a word since her mother died, and now lives with her loving aunt in a villa where they take in pilgrims and travellers.  One night a young couple come to them seeking refuge, and soon become friends.  The woman, Signora Toscana believes that she can help Mia find her voice again, but is hiding a secret of her own.  Rumours surround her, and Mia and her aunt have to try and help their new friend to a safe future.

In San Francisco in 2007, Madeleine Moretti is grieving after the death of her fiancé.  She throws herself into her work at a human rights lawyers firm, defending people who have developed illness through their unsafe workplace.  However, her own grief threatens to overwhelm her, and her grandmother sends her to stay with a friend in Tuscany.  There, Maddie grows to love the life and the people, and becomes entranced by the mystery of an old ruined villa which was destroyed centuries earlier.

Centuries apart, Mia and Madeleine will both have to find their way through their pain, to find a future for themselves…

There were so many good things to like about this book.  The writing itself flowed well, and was at many times really gorgeous (even if it occasionally trod the fine line between eloquent and too-flowery, with lines like “her eyes shone him an answer” or “she looked into her eyes and into her soul.”).

I also really liked both of the main characters – Madeleine (Maddie) sometimes seemed almost too good a person to be true; seemingly a character without the flaws that can make characters so interesting – but she was the kind of person that I knew I would like in real life.  Her grief for her fiancé was portrayed beautifully and believably and almost moved me to tears at times.

Mia’s story contained so much detail about life in Tuscany in the time period described, and I really enjoyed those parts of the story.  I also very much liked her Aunt Jacquetta – a modern woman in a world where women were supposed to be subservient and only have the opinions of the men of the time.

The separate but parallel storyline technique worked well; overall I probably enjoyed the historical narrative slightly more.

My only wish for this book would have been for the story to move along quicker.  At times it seemed so slow that it almost seemed to stop, and sometimes events happened which seemed to serve little or no purpose in the book.  I felt that it would have been a better ‘read’ if it had been tightened up – the same story told in fewer pages.

The writing was lovely however, and although this is the first book I have read by Titania Hardie, I would certainly look out for more work by this author.

(I would like to thank the publishers for sending me this book to review. For more information about Titania Hardie’s first book, The Rose Labyrinth, please click here.)

Read Full Post »