The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen

Go to Tuscany, Italy by ship or boat or just by Armchair Travel and meet the wonderful characters written about in Rhys Bowen's novel. The novel takes place during the Second World War and also in the nineteen seventies. When a father dies and is found by his daughter, Joanna asks many questions. She wonders about a brother  whom she has never met. When Joanna leaves England and lands in Italy, much about her father and the people in his life will come to light. Of course, there are the atrocities of war to live through. There are the characters the village who lead secret lives. There is also the unexpected Romance.

Rhys Bowen shares the beauty of Tuscany. Among the olive groves are the names of famous artists and their paintings which were stolen during the war, and always there is hospitality. Italian dishes are named. It is difficult not to close the book and go out to eat. Throughout the pages of the book is the bravery of the Italians and one English soldier named Hugo. War is always ugly, but love always find its way through the rubble.

I can still feel the spirit of the characters drifting around in my head. There is Cosimo, the owner of the only olive press. There is Renzo, a young man, who in only a few pages becomes a handsome lover. Then, there is Hugo, Sofia and of course Joanna. Oh, Gainsborough, the artist, leaves a deep mark in my thoughts. So, no matter how many times you have read about Tuscany, WWII or Italy it is worthwhile to travel back enjoy a meal and learn that life always carries a sunbeam of hope.


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