Cover Image: It Happened in Tuscany

It Happened in Tuscany

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On February 18, 1945, Will Mills and his fellow soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division scaled Italy’s treacherous mountains at night to break through the nearly impenetrable German line. Severely wounded, Will was rescued by Italian partisans, and one, a beautiful girl, tended his injuries until he could rejoin the U.S. troops. Will’s wartime decisions and actions have haunted him for seventy-five years and molded him into a bitter, angry man. Will finagles his thirty-two-year-old neighbor, Sophie Sparke, into traveling with him to find the partisan who saved his life and to confront the demons that torment him. Their quest through Tuscan hill towns exposes their darkest secrets and alters the course of their lives.

So you break up with your horrid boyfriend that cheats on you… you have an old neighbor that is just plain mean… he talks you into finding his lost love… you willingly go. Why not?
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It happened in Tuscany was a lovely read. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters.  Sophie and Will butted heads but  ended up close friends. Touring through Italy and the beautiful countryside was easily seen through the words written on the page. The wine and the food described Became mouthwatering. Such a nice romantic story with a great Italian history lesson.
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This story set in picturesque Italy follows Thirty-two year old Sophie Sparke and WWII veteran Will Mills as they try to track down Francesca, the girl who saved his life in 1945. Their journey and time together changes their lives forever. This book is a fantastic read for those who love historical fiction and travel fiction.
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Finding Francesca

This story was one of the most heartwarming stories I have ever read. The character of Will and his determination to find Francesca, the girl he left behind in Italy, on his last legs of strength at 91 years old tugged at my heart. I sit here now, writing this review with tears in my eyes.

The story of Sophie and her dog Bangor was pretty special as well. She grew to care about life again while helping Will to go to Italy and look for Francesca. She even found love again with a handsome Italian because of Wills search for his lost love.

Bridging the gap between old and young this story does that and more. It is the story of an old man, a young lady and a quest shared. Both are mending broken hearts and they do it together in their own way. How they grow to respect each other and their uniqueness and how they conquer the age difference to complete the quest is a wonderful story.

It was a delightful read, I think anyone would be inspired by this story. A great piece of work and very well written. I would definitely recommend it.

Thanks to Gail Mencini, Caprioli Group, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review an advance copy of the book.


READING PROGRESS
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This story was dramatic, lovely, at times harshand detailed - yet by far, it was incredibly written. It is extremely evident that Gail Mencini has a love for Italy and knows the landscape well. The way this story is written to encompass a terrible war, a wounded soldier, life back in America and a beautiful Italian partisan - it just had me so engulfed into every written detail, wanting to read more even when I couldn't keep my eyes open.

A beautiful and heartfelt story that has historical romance and fiction lovers beyond satisfied. In 2019 was when I truly started loving historical fiction and this kept me turning the pages right from the start.

Thank you kindly for the early ebook ARC from NetGalley and the publisher. I may be behind in leaving reviews, but I always promise to give an honest one as soon as I can. I'm glad I was given the opportunity to read this and am grateful to all of you that approved my request.
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------‐-------Book Review-------------- 
It Happened in Tuscany by Gail Mencini
Sass-o-meter 4/5💜s - Great SASS
Released Date: 2/18
#ItHappenedinTuscany #NetGalley
------‐-------Quote---------------------- 
“These men left someone behind. Their loved ones were far across an ocean. Mother, father, friend, sweetheart, wife, or child. Someone grieved for those buried here..”
------‐------Description-------------------
Tag Line:  If you could only choose one, which would it be — honor or duty?

On February 18, 1945, Will Mills and his fellow soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division scaled Italy’s treacherous mountains at night to break through the nearly impenetrable German line. Severely wounded, Will was rescued by Italian partisans, and one, a beautiful girl, tended his injuries until he could rejoin the U.S. troops. Will’s wartime decisions and actions have haunted him for seventy-five years and molded him into a bitter, angry man. Will finagles his thirty-two-year-old neighbor, Sophie Sparke, into traveling with him to find the partisan who saved his life and to confront the demons that torment him. Their quest through Tuscan hill towns exposes their darkest secrets and alters the course of their lives.
-----------------Sassy Review---------------
Thank you @netgalley and #capriolegroup for the advanced copy to provide my own sassy opinions.

So you break up with your horrid boyfriend that cheats on you… you have an old neighbor that is just plain mean… he talks you into finding his lost love… you willingly go. Why not?

This totally sounds like something my 3 Enneagram 2 wing ass would sign up for.

I loved tagging along in the experience of Will and Sophie tramping through parts of Italy in search of love. I felt as if I was right there with them! The author did an amazing job of explaining where the characters were without over-explaining the scenery… if you know what I mean… that can be totally overdone. Gail had the perfect amount of scene-explaining.

I could have done without the heart jerking ending - but it added so much to the story and worked very well. 
--------Sassiest character - Will---------
Qotd: Do you know your Enneagram type?
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This novel is light and breezy, a great easy read.  I have read it while on vacation.   I tend to like stories with more depth.  While there are many descriptive passages of touring northern Italy and the food available, the story lacks character development.  The plot is predictable.
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I really loved this book!  My dream is to someday go to Tuscany and this book took me there.  I felt  like I was with Will and Sophie.  I have read many WW2 books and this one was a wonderful blend of memories  and well developed characters.  Thank you to Net Galley for giving me this arc. I highly recommend this book.  It was quite a journey!
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I was very pleasantly surprised with this book. Reading the synopsis, I assumed it would be more of a story set in the World War II time period, but it became more about Will’s journey back to Italy with his neighbor, Sophie, in tow. The unlikely friendship that builds between Will and Sophie was a genuine and heartfelt one and the other characters you meet along the way are charming and entertaining. I enjoyed the vivid detail of the picturesque beauty that is the Italian countryside of Tuscany. This warm and sincere story of love, friendship, family and determination is one I found reaching for more and more in hopes of uncovering the secrets of their mission to find Will’s love of his life, Francesca. As the conclusion wasn’t what I originally presumed it would be, it felt fitting and left me with a smile. I will be planning to attempt the Spaghetti Carbonara recipe mentioned at the end of the book to feel even more transported to Italy like this book made me feel. Thank you NetGalley, the publisher, and author Gail Mencini for the advanced readers copy. Looking forward to more!
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It Happened in Tuscany by Gail Menchini offers a magnificent and enjoyable story to any reader. The author's ability to explain the characters and their roles in this interesting life publication makes it worth a read. The essence of two characters named Will Mills who fought in the war during 1945 and his young neighbour Sophie Sparke offers an insight into two people from different worlds who support each other. They support each other in a unique and meaningful way. Will aims to return to Italy after many years and emotionally recover from the most drastic experiences he had during World War II. His time in Italy not only remembered him of the war times but also a girl he ones knew. 

Will and Sophie decide to return to Italy. While Will is looking forward to searching and possibly find the love of his love, Sophie needs to recover her emotional status as well. After she experienced a range of her own dramatic personal events, this journey may assist her to reclaim the balance in her life again.

I recommend this book to any person who enjoys history but with added humanlike experiences and struggles people live with on a daily basis.
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In It Happened In Tuscany, author Gail Mencini weaves an intriguing historical fiction tale that follows the emotional journey of an unlikely pair in the scenic hill towns of Tuscany.

On February 18, 1945, seventeen year old Army Specialist Will Mills is part of the elite 86th Regiment - 10th Mountain Division from Colorado, who are faced with the challenge of attacking the Germans on Riva Ridge, on Italy's Apennine Mountains. Will is injured from sniper fire during the attack, and a group of Italian partisans (resistance fighters) rescued him. Will falls in love with Francesca Polvani, the young Italian girl who tended to his injuries. At the end of the war, Will ships home to Denver, where he meets and marries his wife Marie, but a letter and photo from Francesca arrives a year later, leaving Will with unfinished business. Seventy-five years later, Will's wife Marie passes away from Alzheimer's disease, and at the age of ninety-one, Will is determined to return to Italy in search of Francesca.

Thirty-two year old Sophie Sparke's ex-boyfriend Russ Grant has dumped her for another woman, and to make matters worse, his father who is also Sophie's boss, wants her to make travel arrangements for Russ' honeymoon. Sophie refuses to make the travel arrangements and quits her job. Left with no job and no future plans, Sophie's elderly neighbor, crotchety Will Mills, gets her to agree to accompany him on his journey to Italy.

Written in the third person narrative, this is a wonderful story that transports the reader to the panoramic beauty of the Italian countryside of Tuscany, where Will and Sophie embark on an impossible journey to find Francesca. The reader is easily drawn into this captivating story of love, family, friendship, secrets, fears, and determination. The author masterfully interweaves Will's life story that alternates between the past and the present, providing the reader with snapshots from his time in Italy during World War II, while also giving the reader a glimpse into Sophie's story as well.

This is a compelling and realistic story that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, and provides much food for thought. The story ultimately shows the power and bond of love, family, and friendship comes full circle when Will and Sophie embark on an emotional journey through Tuscany in search of Will's past love seventy-five years later. You can't help but root for this unlikely pair as they search through Tuscany's countryside for Francesca, it is not an easy journey, but it is a story that will have the reader feeling the gamut of emotions.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the stunning description of the Italian setting of Tuscany. The author provides the reader with a richly vivid setting that reads like a tourist guide. From large cities to panoramic countrysides to old world hill towns; to guided tours of cultural historical sites and quaint shops; the author does a phenomenal job of describing the sights, sounds and smells of Italy. You can't help but feel like you are with Will and Sophie as their journey provides them a chance to rediscover themselves and heal from the traumas of their pasts.

At the end of the book, the author has provided the reader with a collection of simple Italian (Tuscany) recipes that are absolutely mouthwatering!

It Happened In Tuscany is a touching story that captures the power of love, the bond of family, the essence of friendship, and the ability to heal from life's experiences. It is a heartwarming story that will resonate long after the last page has been read.

It Happened In Tuscany is the second book in the Tuscany series.

https://jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot.com/2020/02/it-happened-in-tuscany-by-gail-mencini.html
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I enjoyed this book immensely, as it was well written and captured the emotions of Will and Sophie as they searched for the woman who saved Will's life during World War II.  This is 75 years ago and Sophie is Will's neighbor, not a relative or close friend, so their relationship was developing as they kept getting greeted by dead ends.  The only thing that Will has from the woman is a picture she sent him of her holding a baby that she claimed was his.  This doesn't really offer a lot of assistance, so the two don't have much to go on.
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Thank you to Net Galley for the copy of this book. This novel included everything that catches my eye at first glance- Italy, relationships and historical fiction.  Will searching Tuscany for his long lost love after caring for his American wife through the sadness of her final years. Will he find her after all these years?  Or will he go home with a broken heart- leaving mine broken too? Sophie and Will’s developing relationship throughout the book was kind and sweet. The characters jumped off the pages and it was as if I could hear their voices through the book.  In the end, my heart was filled with emotions as the story came to a close. Not the ended I was hoping for, but certainly the ending that made sense for these characters.
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I haven't read much fiction about the war in Italy, so Gail Mencini's novel appealed to me instantly. However, it took me several chapters to settle in from a reader's perspective. The opening chapters bring the reader directly into the action, where the main protagonist, seventeen-year-old army specialist Will Mills is facing one of his biggest challenges, scaling Riva Ridge. Will is part of the Army 10th Mountain Division, in the 86th Regiment. It's February 1945, and the Germans have been pushed back to northern Italy by the Allies. 
Will and his platoon are tasked with taking Riva Ridge, which is heavily defended by German troops. The battle scene that follows is written well, visually realised as one reads. You can hear the volley of gunfire, see the men, puffing, sweating as they follow the trail upward, a trail that grows steeper with every step. When Will is later injured, he encounters an Italian partisan who rescues him and takes him to safety for treatment. That is the moment he meets the most beautiful girl he's ever seen. 
The next chapter is a most unexpected jump into the future. It's relatively clear as you read the narrative, and then we see an elderly Will. The novel takes a rather unexpected leap, which becomes clear. Will, now an elderly WW2 veteran, along with his neighbour, Sophie, a younger woman, go in search of the beautiful girl who saved Will's life back in 1945. 
As a sub-plot, a romance develops between Sophie and Niccolo. The ending is rather bitter-sweet, plausible, sad and I'm still not sure fully how I feel about it.
Overall, a nice book to learn a little about one of the Italian campaigns, and to read about Italy. Good characterisation, good prose, imagery and visual scenes within the narrative. 
Thanks to NetGalley and the author Gail Mencini for this advance review copy.
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I really enjoyed this book, Ms Mencini seamlessly moves from past to present, bringing Italy alive with ease.
Moving from 2nd World War to present with ease, I felt as if I too was one of the characters discovering not only Italy but learning about each other.

I recommend this to everyone who likes a lovely story set in a foreign country with a bit of adventure and life lessons thrown in.
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Per this book, Tuscany (and surrounding areas) is beautiful!  The descriptions of the landscape and architecture sent me to Tuscany in my mind.  I felt like I was walking the cobbled streets or riding in Joe's tiny car with Sophia and Will, all the way through their search for Francesca,

The beginning chapters, the history of Will's time there during the war was slow; I struggled to continue.  Then, it took a very sharp left turn and was in present day without something telling me (the reader) what was happening.   (I flipped pages back to be sure I didn't miss something on accident) I think this information needed to be shared, but it would have been better spread throughout the story as Will remembered. 

I love Sophia, and see a lot of myself in her.  She is kind, sometime lost and lonely, and cares for others - especially people that may not deserve her caring in the beginning. Her finding love was the icing on he cake!    

And, Will, I just want to hug his neck.  The war, especially WWII, left so many of our veterans struggling to see the good in the world.  I'm so glad the end was the way it was, he deserved so much to know that he was not a coward.  That he was strong, loved and forgiven.
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***It Happened In Tuscany takes readers on a trip to Italy as Will, a WWII vet and his neighbor Sophie search for the girl who had saved Will’s life some seventy-five years ago.  The one letter he’d received from Francesco after the war showed her holding a baby she’d said was his.  The search introduces readers to the history, the smells, the food, the wine, and the sights of Italy as the American pair encounter one dead end after another.  There are surprises along the way, however, that might bring changes to more than one character.  Overall this was a nice story, but this reader often felt bogged down by all the details that had little to do with Will’s search.  Readers who enjoy travelogues should relish the book,  however, it wasn’t the WWII story I hoped it would be.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance copy of this book from NetGalley.
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