The Tuscan Child

I mostly read advance reader copies of recent novels, but sometimes I like to pick up something a little older. The Tuscan Child was a Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Historical Fiction in 2018, so I thought it was worth a try.

Rhys Bowen’s novel weaves together the lives of two characters: Hugo Langley, a British bomber pilot in 1944, and his daughter, Joanna Langley, in 1973.

During World War II, Hugo’s plane is shot down over German-occupied Tuscany. Badly injured, Hugo is found and hidden in a ruined monastery by a local woman named Sofia Bartoli. As they work together to ensure Hugo’s safety, a deep connection forms between them despite the dangers surrounding them.

Thirty years later, Hugo’s estranged daughter, Joanna, returns home to the English countryside to arrange her father’s funeral. Among his personal effects, she finds a returned, unopened letter addressed to Sofia. In it is a startling revelation.

Intrigued, Joanna travels to a charming village in Tuscany to discover who her father had once been. While learning to appreciate the beauty of the Italian countryside—especially the fresh, simple food—Joanna tries to unravel the mystery of her father’s time in Italy.

I’ve read several of Rhys Bowen’s books and have liked them all. I remember enjoying The Victory Garden (5 stars) much more than The Tuscan Child, but I didn’t write book reviews back then. This book slogged along at times, but the pastoral Italian countryside and frequent references to local cuisine were transporting.

It seems like I keep reading books about Tuscany… maybe that’s a sign I need to go on vacation!

In the end, this book was good, but not great. 3 stars.

Posted in Blog, Book Reviews, Literature, Reading and tagged , , , , , , , , .