The Tuscan Child

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

The Tuscan Child is a book I have enjoyed very much and while I know all books have to end I did not want to finish-it was that good. This book tells of  British bomber pilot Hugo Langley, who had to parachute from his burning bomber in WWII, into German occupied Tuscany. Hugo gets badly injured and can't walk so when a young woman, Sofia Bartoli finds him laying in the vineyards she helps him to seek shelter in a ruined bombed out monastery. 

Sofia comes to Hugo as often as she comes and nurses him back to health, taking a risk, knowing if the Germans see her they will kill everyone in the village. After a death scare, they start feeling love for each other.

This story goes back and forth in time from WW!! when Hugo is hurt, to the present time. Hugo's daughter, Joanna has never really known much about her father and she has come home to arrange for his funeral. Her mother died when she was 12, and so it was she and her father for a long time but he was never the same after her mom died. 

While going through her father's things she finds a box and inside is an unopened letter to Sofia-a letter he wrote to her after getting rescued by the British and being brought to the hospital, then going home. He wanted Sofia to come with him to England. 

Joanna reads the letter and decides to go and see where her father was in the war and to see if she can find Sophia and ask her about Hugo and how they met and fell in love. When she gets there she finds that everyone remembers Sophia-going off with a German! The enemy. 

No one seems to know about her father being there at all, except for one person and it his actions that change the course of the life of everyone!

I loved this book and I loved all of the characters, the plot was good and in many scenes I held my breath waiting for Hugo to get caught of Sophia as well. The ending was a surprise for me, and I liked the way that the book went back and forth in time so we could see both sides of the story.
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I finished reading the ARC of The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen on Thursday night, but I am still in heavy book hangover. This book is one of those rare books that not only sticks with you but that you feel like you lived through.  It was undoubtedly brilliant and engaging, and just how Rhys writes it I could see this as a major motion picture with  academy award accolaids. I am not usually a fan of historically based cozies, mysteries or stories, at least that was until I discovered everything Rhys Bowen has written.  Each book is so rich in history but presented in away that just envelopes the reader. I enjoyed this book in so many ways. The characters are complex and well layered. The setting is unmistakably beautiful even though it doesn't exist you feel like it does. The storyline, mystery and jaw dropping reveal are some of the reasons I could not put this down. This is one of the best reads I have had the good fortune of having on my table and it shall stay forever in my heart. I loved it. The Tuscan Child will be released February 20th. Clear your schedule and turn off your phone. This is a binge read.
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This is a lovely dual time line novel set in WWII and 1973.  Joanna's hunt for the mysterious Sofia, who her estranged father Hugo so clearly loved, is the top level but her effort to learn more about him is the real story.  It's got a great setting, a deep secret, and a murder.  The characters are terrific and you'll find yourself rooting for Joanna, who could really use some positivity in her life.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  For fans of historical fiction.
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Rhys Bowen's other standalone, In Farleigh Field, set the bar very high and unfortunately this pales by comparison. The Tuscan Child feels like a short story that was stretched out to novel length. It didn't have the usual wit and humor of Rhys Bowen's other books, though she does include a lot of details about cooking and Italian food that will make you hungry as you read and frequently look up recipes. Neither main character here -- Hugo in the 1940's and his daughter Joanna in the 1970's -- has much depth and Joanna's story in particular suffers from a too slow reveal of her recent backstory. The dialog is written to reflect conversations between non-fluent speakers which makes it very choppy to read. Things finally pick up at about the 60% mark, though they fizzle out at the end with some anticlimaxes. Overall I didn't hate the story but it felt like a chore to get through. I'd recommend it for the atmosphere of the Italian countryside and the decadent food descriptions, but not for anyone seeking a thrilling mystery. 

Thank you to Lake Union Press and Netgalley for providing an ARC for review!
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Great story, well written absorbing! Never read this author before but I will look for others. Just very well written
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I tend to gravitate towards WW2 novels, so when I saw The Tuscan Child’s cover and blurb, I knew I had to read it.   It’s not often that I come across a novel from this time period that is set in Italy, specifically the Tuscany area.  I was not disappointed at all.  This story is told from two different time periods: WW2, obviously and 1973, another feature that I enjoy in a good book.  Joanna is dealing with the death of her father, Hugo Langley, a former English fighter pilot who was shot down in Italy during the war.  She was never really close to her father, and he never spoke of his time as an officer. While going through his belongings she finds items that intrigue her enough to take a trip to the little Tuscan village to investigate. This trip leads Joanna to finding out what really happened to her father, and how this will shape her future.
This was a most enjoyable read. I loved how the author describes the war torn yet beautiful Tuscan region, and made the town’s people come to life in my mind.  I’ll be looking into more from this author.
Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for an advanced copy in return for an honest review.
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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 and heal her own wounded heart, she decides to go to Italy and discover what happened to him  there in 1944 and if possible, to find Sofia.

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.
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The Tuscan Child was written by Rhys Bowen. This is her second standalone novel, but she is a prolific author of several series of historical mystery novels. I am a big fan of her Royal Spyness and Molly Murphy books, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book. 

This novel functions with a dual timeline- half of the story takes place during WWII: Hugo Langley, an English pilot, crashes in the hills of Tuscany. Thirty years later, his daughter Joanna finds a letter among Hugo’s personal papers following his sudden death. She reads something so compelling that she returns to Tuscany to discover the truth about what happened all those years ago. 

There are two mysteries here: the reader can deduce that Hugo returns to England following the war, so the question in this part of the timeline is how he goes about keeping himself hidden and escaping the Nazi-occupied region. Joanna’s timeline focuses on the meaning of what her father alluded to in his letter. Are there clues to be found in Hugo’s timeline? How will the villagers react when a foreigner arrives in their enclave with questions about thing that happened so many years ago?   

Bowen weaves a cohesive story with her dual timelines, and I was never disappointed when there was a shift in perspective because I saw the potential for more clues. The mystery kept me guessing up until the big reveal, and the outcome was both surprising and satisfying.

I would recommend The Tuscan Child to fans of historical fiction. This is a novel of discovery and it perpetuates the notion that our actions often have a profound affect on the future. Bowen does a fine job with Hugo’s perspective, but she is especially adept with Joanna’s story; I definitely saw shades of Georgie (the heroine of Bowen’s Royal Spyness series) in Joanna. Bowen continues to be one of my favorite authors, and I am looking forward to her next book!           

I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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The Tuscan Child offers an intriguing story of a woman’s quest to find out what really happened to her father after his plane was shot down over the Tuscan countryside towards the end of the second world war. Through two interwoven storylines, one in the 1940s and one in the 1970s, the story explores human emotions and the decisions we make in high pressure situations. Tuscany, it’s beautiful landscape, delicious food ways, and countryside villages, are as much a character of this story as our protagonists.

It’s an entertaining read, with far too many subplots. In the end these subplots turned this from a story you could by immersed in, to a comedy of errors.
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The Tuscan Child is a well crafted book.  Believable characters and a great style of writing.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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