The Tuscan Child

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

The Tuscan Child is a well crafted book.  Believable characters and a great style of writing.
Was this review helpful?
I truly loved this book. Joanna's father has just passed and even though they were estranged she goes to England to arrange his funeral. She finds an unopened letter addressed to Sophie. By exploring her father's past, Joanna finally finds answers for her unanswered questions she has had about her father. I loved the dual story lines of the book as it allows you to understand so much. This was a beautiful story that I didn't want to end. I received an advanced reader's copy from NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Joanna returns home from London after her father’s death, in the 1970’s.  They were not close, but she uncovers a letter which leads her to a small Tuscan town in Italy to find out more about him.  In alternating chapters, Hugo’s story is told after he was shot down over Italy during World War II.  This is a wonderful piece of historical fiction, with a strong sense of place, and with appealing characters.  I highly recommend this novel by Rhys Bowen.
Was this review helpful?
The Tuscan Child is the story of two families who never would have met if not for WWII. Lord Hugo Langley's plane  was shot down over a tiny town in Tuscany. He was eventually discovered by a young woman from the town, Sophia Bartoli. 

The story unfolds in a dual-timeline told from the perspectives of Lord Hugo and his daughter Joanna. I thought that worked well in the development of the plot. I liked the story well enough but I didn’t feel connected to the characters until the last few chapters. That could all be on me though so don’t let that dissuade you from reading the book. The descriptions of Tuscany and the food especially are lovely. The mystery involving Lord Hugo and Sophia was interesting and all  seemed to be solved at the end.

I think readers who like the era of WWII in Italy and a story of survival against all odds will find The Tuscan Child an interesting novel.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC for my Kindle.
Alternating between WWII and the present, a daughter goes searching for answers as to what went on with her dad during WWII.
Joanna's dad passes away, and she goes to her childhood home of Langley Hall to make arrangements for his funeral and settle his estate.  When going through his personal effects, she finds hints he left about his time during WWII.  Since she and her dad had little contact over the last few years of his life, she decides to go to the small town of San Salvadore, Italy, and find answers about what really happened to her dad during the war.
A good historical fiction novel with a few surprises and a little romance. But what I enjoyed most about the book beside the historical fiction aspect, was the customs and food of Italy.
Was this review helpful?
Rhys Bowen departs from her usual light mysteries for a darker, more psychological novel with mystery elements.  Joanna is estranged from her father when he dies suddenly and she must return home to take care of his belongings.  Among them she finds a letter revealing a side of him she was completely unaware of, a love letter to a woman in Italy he had fallen in love with after he was shot down in WWII.  Joanna is stunned and decides to search for this woman and find out what happened to her father and why the letter was returned to him.  She remembers her father as always being deeply unhappy and suspects the reason is hidden in these events.  
The book follows her in her search to Italy and tiny community she grows to love.  At the same time we follow her father's story as he is shot down and wounded, hiding in a ruined monastery where a local woman finds him and helps him survive.  
There is romance and intrigue in both stories, as well as sadness and heartbreak.  Hugh's story epitomizes the randomness of war - it plays no favorites and everything can change in an instant.  Joanna's story is one of a young woman at a crossroads, and is as much a search for herself as for her father.  There is a murder in the story to add suspense and distrust, and leads to the only problem I have with the novel.  The ending is a bit too convenient for me, added to make a more thrilling (but unnecessary) climax and tidying up the loose ends far too neatly.  But satisfying nevertheless.  
I thoroughly enjoyed the characters.  They are complex and have plenty of hard edges to make them believable, yet still very likable.  I especially loved how Joanna is immersed in the everyday life of the village and its people; this was especially vivid, and frankly, I'm ready to go visit them myself.  I highly recommend this as a very interesting read.
Was this review helpful?
I read some mystery written by Rhys Bowen and thought this one could contain some mystery elements as well. It is a well written, sometimes slow historical romance. Characters are quite realistic and the part regarding Tuscany is well described. The historical facts are well documented.
Interesting but not my cup of tea.
Many thanks to Lake Union Publishing and Netgalley
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book. During WWIIan English pilot is shot down in Italy. Hidden by a local woman, a bond develops between the two. Cut to the 70’s, the pilot has died and his daughter finds a letter going through his belongings. Visiting the Tuscan town, she hopes to piece together her fathers past. 

I enjoyed this story. I feel like you don’t read too much about Italy during World War II. I was fascinated by both story lines. Thanks to Netgalley & the author for the advanced copy.
Was this review helpful?
This was not my favorite book from Rhys Bowen. I felt like the plot dragged on at a few points and was left with some questions. With that said; I thought the characters were developed well did enjoy the book a lot in the end.
Thank you to Netgalley for the Arc digital copy of The Tuscan Child in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Another engrossing historical mystery from Bowen. Recommended to anyone who enjoys not-too-heavy WWII fiction and engrossing mysteries.

*Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Another sweet and simple read from Rhys Bowen. The Tuscan Child weaves a tale a love and mystery that spans two generations. The central plot was well developed, however the minor plot lines left the reader wanting more. Think "beach read," not literary fiction.
Was this review helpful?
The book has some interesting parts and some parts where story or dialogue doesn’t move the story forward. It’s stagnant and not interesting. I had to start skipping the stagnant parts in order to continue with the story. But after a few chapters of such reading, I didn’t see a point of continuing to read it.
Was this review helpful?
If you want to spend some time in a quaint Italian village this is a read for you. The book transforms you to two time periods 1944 and 1973. In 1944 , Joanna’s father crashed his plane outside a tiny village in Italy .The village had been besieged by Germans so Joanna’s father who was rescued by Sofia took refuge in an old monastery. A love story develops . With the death of her father Joanna travels to this village to learn what happened. What unfolds is a death , tales of deceit and corruption, love, a mystery surrounding a beautiful baby and descriptions of beautiful scenery and the preparations of some delicious meals. A predictable but enjoyable read. Thanks netgalley.
Was this review helpful?
I’ve read all books written by Rhys Bowen, but this one was difficult for me to finish.  The story moved slowly, and the premise was more of a romance than a mystery.  It’s clear that the author spent significant time researching the book to ensure historical facts were accurate.  I hope the next stand alone book is as interesting as her other novels.
Was this review helpful?
Having been a long time Rhys Bowen's fan, I actually expected more before reading "The Tuscan Child." Not too much a crime mystery, but about the quest of uncovering the past romantic secret of the protagonist's deceased parent, an English, during WWII in a Tuscan village where German soldiers looted and threatened the lives of the Italian towards the end of the war.  

A pleasant read overall but I enjoy Ms. Bowen's other novels better. "The Tuscan Child" is nothing spectacular in terms of the plot development. Very predictable. I guess the only surprise I have is the identity of the protagonist's mom. The characters are very likable, by the way. 

"The Tuscan Child" has an interesting historical background yet it feels more like a romantic literature rather than a historical one. I guess the lacking of either the mystery or historical element is the biggest disappointment to me. Even so, I do not mean "The Tuscan Child" is of mediocre quality. Rhys Bowen always delivers the best for her readers Her writing is always lyrical with the charm that fits well with the backgrounds and the characters. Beautifully rendered, carefully plotted. The author's attention to details pulls all the loose threads together to make "The Tuscan Child" a wonderful read. 

By the way, whenever I pick up novels with Italy as backdrop, I have noticed many authors love to write about cuisine and wine; this novel is of no exception.

Thanks Lake Union via Netgallery for providing me the opportunity to review an early copy of "The Tuscan Child." 

I have updated my review on Goodread. And will post on BN and Amazon once the leaving feedback option is available.
Was this review helpful?
Without a doubt I enjoyed this story, the setting and period the story is written in. There were several parts to the story I liked and what I thought could have been fleshed out a bit more. Though I could easily see a sequel to this book. Hugo and Joanna are the two main characters in the story. Hugo is Joanna’s father and was a RAF pilot in World War II whose plane crashed in Italy near a small town where the majority of the story takes place. He meets an Italian woman name Sofia who helps him hide and brings him food. As they form a bond, events happen and both of their lives would never be the same and secrets would be long hidden. Hugo is also the Heir to an estate in England and when he returns to his country he finds his whole life has changed in ways he did not expect. 
His daughter Joanna has been estranged from her father for quite some time and when her father dies, she returns to bury her father. Soon she discovers secrets about her father and then begins her journey to find out more about him and his past. Her discovery takes her to Italy near where her father’s plane crashed and she meets extraordinary people and learns things are not what she expected. 
This story has a dual time-line and I enjoyed the back in forth somewhat. I have to admit, at first, I wasn’t impressed with Hugo but he finally grew on me. I really enjoyed reading about Joanna and her time with Paola-a woman whose house she stayed at in Italy. Like most Italian women-I’m sure-Paola loves to cook amazing dishes and my mouth was literally watering while reading about the food! 
I highly recommend when finishing this story that you read the authors note in the back. I found that to be interesting and educational. I rated this story four stars! 
I received an ARC from the publishers through NetGalley for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The Tucsan Child is beautifully written historical fiction at its best, with both mystery and romance thrown in. The characters are well developed and so very likeable.  I especially loved the way two intertwined stories were told; one taking place in the mid 1940s and one in 1973. I was sad when the story ended. I want to know how the story of Joanna and Renzo plays out.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to both NetGalley and Lake Union publishing for this ARC, which I award 4.5 stars and thoroughly enjoyed. A different genre than I usually choose, from mystery author Rhys Bowen, but delightful to read.

It was a very fine stand-alone read about WWII, told with two time lines. In 1944 a British warplane was shot down over Tuscany and Hugo Langley ( Sir Hugo actually), the pilot, although wounded parachutes to safety. The story is told alternately between winter 1944 and Hugo's tale a and Joanna his daughter in the 1970s ( born in 1945). In Italy, in the same time shifts are Sofia a lovely Italian young woman with a young son. 

Joanna in 1973 goes to San Salvatore to try to put closure after her father's death and meets Sofia's son.There is an interesting dual love story going on, as well as a very good mystery. 

I know little about how the war progressed in Italy or about the privations that people endured so that part held my attention also.

Perhaps the characters might reappear under different circumstances? I loved it and Rhys Bowen has a way of drawing one into the environment she describes. An exciting and fun Christmas read which I am recommending to mystery fans.
Was this review helpful?
"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 Publishing and to Rhys Bowen for the opportunity.
Was this review helpful?
It's 1944, and a British fighter plane has just been shot down over Italy, forcing the pilot to parachute to safety.  His leg is severely damaged, and he looks for somewhere to hide.  A local woman, out gathering mushrooms, comes to his aid and he is able to survive.  The Germans are everywhere, and life is incredibly perilous.	

In June, 1973, his daughter Joanna travels to Italy to search for "the beautiful boy, hidden where only Sofia and Hugo could find him" mentioned in an old AirMail letter.  Presumably a brother?  But when she arrives, the village closes ranks and, to a person, they deny that a British airman was shot down in their area.  Really?  Seriously?   Yes, they say that Sofia left the village with a German soldier.  Not a Brit.  

So, what's the secret they are all keeping, and why?	

This is a pleasurable read with a very, very interesting ending.

I read this EARC courtesy of Edelweiss and Lake Union Publishing.   pub date 02/20/18
Was this review helpful?