- Title: The Tuscan Child
- Author: Rhys Bowen
- Pages: 329
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Published: February 2018 – Lake Union Publishing
- Source: Publisher; NetGalley; Little Bird Publicity
Description: From New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen comes a haunting novel about a woman who braves her father’s hidden past to discover his secrets…
In 1944, British bomber pilot Hugo Langley parachuted from his stricken plane into the verdant fields of German-occupied Tuscany. Badly wounded, he found refuge in a ruined monastery and in the arms of Sofia Bartoli. But the love that kindled between them was shaken by an irreversible betrayal.
Nearly thirty years later, Hugo’s estranged daughter, Joanna, has returned home to the English countryside to arrange her father’s funeral. Among his personal effects is an unopened letter addressed to Sofia. In it is a startling revelation.
Still dealing with the emotional wounds of her own personal trauma, Joanna embarks on a healing journey to Tuscany to understand her father’s history—and maybe come to understand herself as well. Joanna soon discovers that some would prefer the past be left undisturbed, but she has come too far to let go of her father’s secrets now… (publisher)
My take: 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.
About the author:
Rhys Bowen is the New York Times bestselling author of over thirty mystery novels. Her work includes In Farleigh Field, a standalone novel of World War II; the Molly Murphy mysteries, set in 1900s New York City; the Royal Spyness novels, featuring a minor royal in 1930s England; and the Constable Evans mysteries about a police constable in contemporary Wales. Rhys’s works have won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and MacAvity awards. Her books have been translated into many languages, and she has fans from around the world, including the 12,000 who visit her Facebook page daily. She is a transplanted Brit who now divides her time between California and Arizona. Connect with her at rhysbowen.com.
Photo credit: John Quin-Harkin
Praise for Rhys Bowen
In Farleigh Field
“This well-crafted, thoroughly entertaining thriller from Agatha Award-winner Bowen follows the lives of three childhood friends…. Soon it’s a game of spy versus spy, and with every twist and turn, the reader is unsure whom to trust.”
“Instantly absorbing, suspenseful, romantic and stylish.”
—Lee Child, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
“Rhys Bowen is one of the very best fiction writers of the day. With a deep understanding of the wounded human heart and an uncanny ability to capture the quiet emotions and the grand scale of war, she rises above her contemporaries. This is magnificently written and a must read.”
—Louise Penny, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
The Royal Spyness Mysteries
“Wonderful characters…A delight.” —Charlaine Harris, New York Times bestselling author
“This is a pitch-perfect book, which will charm you in one sentence, chill you in the next.” —Laura Lippman, winner of the Edgar, Shamus, Anthony and Agatha Awards
“Georgie’s high spirits and the author’s frothy prose are utterly captivating.” —The Denver Post
“The perfect fix between seasons for Downton Abbey addicts.”
—Deborah Crombie, New York Times bestselling author of The Sound of Broken Glass
“A smashing romp.” —Booklist
The Molly Murphy Mysteries
“Perceptive and poignant writing… make us look forward to Molly’s return.” —Chicago Tribune
“A charming combination of history, mystery and romance.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Well written and fast paced, with a twist that will leave readers truly surprised. This novel is not to be missed.”
―RT Book Reviews
Other Titles by Rhys Bowen
In Farleigh Field
Molly Murphy Mysteries
- Murphy’s Law
- Death of Riley
For the Love of Mike
In Like Flynn
Oh Danny Boy
In Dublin’s Fair City
- Tell Me, Pretty Maiden
- In a Gilded Cage
The Last Illusion
- Bless the Bride
Hush Now, Don’t You Cry
- The Family Way
City of Darkness and Light
- The Edge of Dreams
- Away in a Manger
- Time of Fog and Fire
Royal Spyness Mysteries
- Her Royal Spyness
- A Royal Pain
- Royal Flush
- Royal Blood
- Naughty in Nice
- The Twelve Clues of Christmas
- Heirs and Graces
- Queen of Hearts
- Malice at the Palace
- Crowned and Dangerous
Constable Evans Mysteries
- Evans Above
- Evan Help Us
- Evanly Choirs
- Evan and Elle
- Evan Can Wait
- Evans to Betsy
- Evan Only Knows
- Evan’s Gate
- Evan Blessed
- Evanly Bodies
9 thoughts on “The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen”
If you had trouble connecting with the characters, I probably would too. This might be good for a cold winter day.
I’m a big fan of historical fiction, especially during WWII. And I’ve never read Bowen. This would probably be something that I would enjoy.
Nice to hear your take on this one. Bowen’s previous book, In Farleigh Field, and this one are different for her, plus being standalones. She’s branching out for sure.
I do love the sound of finding a letter and learning some secrets. I’ve been wanting to read this author, so thanks for sharing.
I liked this one although I didn’t love it. I did connect with Sophie and while her father was a sad figure I felt we understood it somewhat better by the end.
I hate when I can’t connect with the characters!
I connected with Sofia and Hugo okay but it took me quite awhile to like Joanna. I did love all the Italian food. It made me want breads and pastas!
I like history. I also like stories told in two time frames. This could be for me. Thanks for the review.
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