The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen

  • 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.”
—Publishers Weekly

“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

 

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Review/US Giveaway: In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen

  • in-farleigh-fieldTitle:  In Farleigh Field
  • Author:  Rhys Bowen
  • Genre:  Historical Mystery
  • Pages:  396
  • Published:  March 1, 2017 – Lake Union Publishing
  • Source:  Publisher; Little Bird Publicity

Description:  World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.

As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?

Inspired by the events and people of World War II, writer Rhys Bowen crafts a sweeping and riveting saga of class, family, love, and betrayal.  (publisher)

My take:  I’m a fan of historical fiction so I was pleased to receive a review copy of In Farleigh Field from the publisher. It involves the aristocracy, WWII, and spies!

During this time most of Britain wanted to help the cause in any way they could. Pamela, one of Lord Westerham’s daughters, and a very bright young woman, works her way into Bletchley Park‘s code-breakers. After a while she’s asked to do even more sophisticated work for her country. For security reasons no one can talk to anyone else about what they’re doing so she’s surprised when one of her oldest and dearest friends becomes involved in her latest assignment. This assignment will have them questioning their relationship as well as some of their closest friends and family. Can one truly trust anyone else at times like these? They will find out.

I thought Bowen’s mystery was entertaining and it kept me turning the pages wondering who was intending to kill the most important British leaders of the day. There were so many possibilities and I was glad I didn’t know until the reveal. I liked the balance between light moments and more intense ones as the story played out. I wouldn’t label it a cozy but it wasn’t an all-out thriller either. I’ll have to say somewhere in the middle. At any rate, I’m glad I had the chance to read it.


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rhysbowen_authorphotoRhys Bowen is the New York Times bestselling author of over thirty mystery novels. Her work includes the Molly Murphy mysteries, set in 1900s New York City, and the Royal Spyness novels, featuring a minor royal in 1930s England, as well as the Constable Evenas mysteries about a police constable in contemporary Wales. Rhys’s works have won fourteen awards to date, including 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.

IN FARLEIGH FIELD
by Rhys Bowen
Lake Union Publishing | March 1, 2017

Hardcover: $24.95 | ISBN:

1477818294

eBook: $4.99 | ASIN: B01HBKAYMA


Advance Praise for 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.” —Publishers Weekly

“Instantly absorbing, suspenseful, romantic and stylish—like binge-watching a great British drama on Masterpiece Theater.” — 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

“If you loved Downton Abbey, you’ll adore this compelling saga of an aristocratic English family finding courage on the home front in WWII. Unputdownable!” —Deborah Crombie, New York Times bestselling author

“For those of us who didn’t get enough Downton Abbey…. It’s firing on all cylinders.” —Hallie Ephron, bestselling and Mary Higgins Clark-nominated author

“Irresistible, charming and heartbreakingly authentic. Rhys Bowen’s knowing voice transport Downton fans into an unputdownable family saga—a compelling journey through history, loss, honor and love. When war gets personal, every heart is in peril.”
Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha Award-winning author


 

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

Title:  Her Royal Spyness (Audiobook)

Her Royal Spyness Mysteries #1

Author:  Rhys Bowen

Narrator:  Katherine Kellgren

Genre:  Mystery

Published:  June 2007, Berkley

About:  The setting is England, 1932. Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie (Georgie to her friends) is 34th in line to the throne and her family money is gone. She needs a job – something unheard of in her circle. She heads to London to look for a job. During this time she stays at her family’s house. One day a man arrives with a note that says her family’s ancestral home in Scotland is his – the result of a gambling loss by Georgie’s father. A few days later that man turns up dead – in the overflowing bathtub of Georgie’s London house. The prime suspect: Georgie’s brother, the duke. Knowing it can’t be Binky (her brother), Georgie makes it her responsibility to find the real murderer.

My take:  I was asked to read and review the latest in the Her Royal Spyness series so, not being familiar with it, I decided to read the first book. Even better, I decided to use my September Audible.com credit to listen to the first book. I’m so glad I did because Katherine Kellgren’s performance is delightful.

Rhys Bowen’s mystery of who killed the man in Georgie’s brother’s house is filled with amusing characters such as Georgie’s mother and her old school pal Belinda. There’s a flirtation between Georgie and Darcy O’Mara (an Irishman with a knack for showing up when she needs him) that I just know will be present throughout the series.

I enjoyed Her Royal Spyness and look forward to reading more of this series. Recommended to fans of cozy mysteries. If you like audiobooks I suggest you try listening to this book.

Source:  I bought it.

Royal Blood by Rhys Bowen

Title:  Royal Blood (Royal Spyness, #4)

Author:  Rhys Bowen

Genre:  Mystery

Published:  September 2011 – Penguin Group

About:  (Goodreads synopsis) With her hateful brother Binky in town, Lady Georgiana has been desperately seeking an escape. So when an invitation from the Queen arrives to represent the royals at a wedding in Transylvani-legendary home of vampires-Georgiana is delighted to accept. But when the bride starts acting a little batty and a prominent wedding guest is poisoned, something must be done lest the couple’s vows become “till undeath do they part…”

My take:  This was such a fun mystery. The author takes us from foggy London to snowy Transylvania via car, ship and train. Lady Georgiana (34th in line to the throne) is a charming character who finds herself representing the royal family at the wedding of distant relatives where she winds up being a suspect in a murder at the castle.

Royal Blood had the feel of an Agatha Christie mystery. There were several possible suspects and just when I thought I had it figured out another possibility would pop up – along with another dead body!

Rhys Bowen has a new fan in me. I love the settings, her entertaining characters, and the situations they find themselves in. This is the second book I’ve read by Bowen and I’m very pleased to know she has an immense backlist. Recommended to fans of Rhys Bowen and cozy British mysteries.

Source:  Jane Rotrosen Agency