The Tuscan House – Angela Petch

Corbello, Italy, 1947. A woman and a little boy stagger into the ruins of an old house deep in the forest, wild roses overwhelming the crumbling terracotta walls. Since the war, nowhere has been safe. But they both freeze in shock when a voice calls out from the shadows…

For young mother Fosca Sentino, accepting refuge from ex-British soldier Richard – in Tuscany to escape his tragic past – is the only way to keep her little family safe. She once risked everything to spy on Nazi commanders and pass secret information to the resistenza. But after a heartbreaking betrayal, Fosca’s best friend Simonetta disappeared without trace. The whole community was torn apart, and now Fosca and her son are outcasts.

Wary of this handsome stranger at first, Fosca slowly starts to feel safe as she watches him play with her son in the overgrown orchard. But her fragile peace is shattered the moment a silver brooch is found in the garden, and she recognises it as Simonetta’s…

Fosca has always suspected that another member of the resistenza betrayed her. With Richard by her side, she must find out if Simonetta is still alive, and clear her own name. But how did the brooch end up at the house? And with a traitor hiding in the village, willing to do anything to keep this secret buried, has Fosca put herself and her young son in terrible danger?

The Tuscan House

Maybe it was because I am stuck at home rather than being able to travel to Tuscany and drive down an avenue of cypress or breathe in the warm summer air, that I became so caught up in this story and the wonderfully realised Tuscan atmosphere of Angela Petch’s fourth Tuscan novel. I can’t stop reaching for books set during this period, and this is one of the best books I’ve read in this genre this year. I am fascinated by stories set in this period, after the war. This book really brings the diverse nature of this time alive and I was delighted to be invited on the tour by Sarah Hardy and loved hearing about Simonetta’s disappearance and Fosca and Richard’s journey to find some answers

village under clear sky

This book definitely did not disappoint, it grabbed me and pulled me right into this unforgettable and beautifully written story – Traumatised by everything that he saw and witnessed whilst serving alongside the Friends Ambulance Unit, Richard comes back to Corbello to start on a clean page and see if he can create something beautiful out of all the trauma and pain that he experienced during the war. The old tobacco factory becomes a place of hope and optimism for him and I found this so fasinating and this really added to the story for me. It’s a book that you’ll find hard to believe it’s fiction as you’ll become so caught up in the story he uncovers and you’ll be transfixed by the disappearance that he and Fonsa get caught up in and as desperate as I was to know what happened…

brown building between trees

I absolutely loved travelling back to 1949 alongside them and definitely found it quite addictive. I was captivated by the bravery and resilience shown by Fosca and Simonetta, seeing the privations that they had to endure and struggle through. There was much to navigate, knowing that your fortunes depend on your ability to turn your difficulties into opportunities and to use your wit and wisdom as you just don’t know who you can trust and depend on as everything around you is so uncertain. The Resistenza are not one of the particularly well-known aspects of history and I feel that this novel gives us a real insight into what they managed to bring abot at this turbulent time.

brown concrete houses on mountain at daytime

This novel presents this period of history in such a realistic way which brings you right into the story and makes you experiencethis story alongside the characters in both of the historical settings – Simonetta feels very much like a real person, despite the distance of time between us and you feel really caught up in the twists and turns of her story. I loved travelling back into the past and experencing the bravery and resilience of these characters that sray with you long after finishing the book.

Angela Petch writes beautifully and her books are truly evocative, you can see, smell and taste the scenes in her novel and she lives and breathes the scenery and history of Tuscany through her writing – I also enjoyed researching this period online after I’d finished reading the book. I was fascinated by this turbulent time in Italy’s history. I am sure that you will be as caught up as I was by the complex historical ramifications of war and the fragmented communities that remained wth guilt, fragile allegiances and betrayal lurking just beneath the surface at all times.

road between green grass field near mountains under blue and brown sky at golden hour

I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to everyone that cannot travel this year to be able to live and breathe in a vividly painted Italy. I loved the way that her writing brings the country to life just as vividly as her characters and enjoyed being able to trace this story back through time and join in with them on their discovery to find out the truth about Simonetta and her disappearance and its ramifications for Fosca and her son…

Treat yourself to a copy and discover this turbulent and fascinating story for yourself

Writer On The Shelf

Angela Petch
Anglela Petch

Angela writes: “I’m an award winning writer of fiction – and the occasional poem. Every summer I move to Tuscany for six months where my husband and I own a renovated watermill which we let out. When not exploring our unspoilt corner of the Apennines, I disappear to my writing desk at the top of our converted stable. In my Italian handbag or hiking rucksack I always make sure to store notebook and pen to jot down ideas. The winter months are spent in Sussex where most of our family live. When I’m not helping out with grandchildren, I catch up with writer friends.

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2 thoughts on “The Tuscan House – Angela Petch

  1. Wowee – thank you for this beautiful review. I love all the photos that you have sourced of beautiful Tuscany as well. You have gone to so much trouble to write these words and I am truly grateful for the wonderful feedback. Thank you from the heart. xx


  2. Reblogged this on Angela Petch's Blog and commented:
    I am so grateful to all bloggers who take the time and trouble to post their reviews. And, this lady has gone to so much trouble, with her photos and words about The Tuscan House. Mille grazie


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