The Tuscan Secret

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 26 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

I'd like to start by saying that historical fiction is most likely my favourite genre, and this book did not disappoint! Anna embarks on a journey to Italy after the passing of her mother to find out more about where she came from. Following her mothers' diary entries and notes, she truly finds herself.

I really enjoyed the writing style and the concept of the dual timelines. Although a work of fiction, the novel allows you to try and understand what life was like in Italy during the war. Everything about this was beautifully crafted. I look forward to what comes in the future from Angela Petch!
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Great read, perfect for summer! Super interesting but also has a hint of mystery. Who doesn't love a love story? I know I do! Secrets that don't seem to add up for Anna, mysterious diary entries and letters left by her mother cause Anna to go searching. It angered me that her brother and sister could give two figs about their mothers past. I am so much like Anna, I love history and I wanna know! Especially family history! Without a doubt a great summer read. Will most likely buy the book too!
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The pearls of memories that show you the other side: The Tuscan Secret

The tragic consequences of war echo through the generations in this stunning tale, inspired by true events, about how family secrets can haunt us; and how love can guide us through the darkest times. Fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and The Letter by Kathryn Hughes will be captivated.
‘Anna, I kept a diary during the war. I have so much to tell you… And now you have this box containing my scribblings. My memory pearls. This diary is my inheritance to you. Your loving Mamma.’
As World War Two shatters Europe,Ines is a young girl caught up in the Italian Resistance. With her brother and best friend sacrificing everything to fight the Nazis, Ines hides deep in the Tuscan mountains, tending the wounds of the fallen fighters – including an escaped British prisoner-of-war who captures her heart. 
Forty-five years later, an elderly lady in an English nursing home passes away, dreaming of Italy in her dying hours. To her youngest daughter Anna, she leaves a battered box of letters, their pages yellowed with age, and a promise that the truth about what really happened to her in the war lies within. 
Anna’s English father forbade her from learning her mother’s beautiful language. So to translate the handwritten diaries, she resolves to visit Tuscany for herself. As she explores the sun-kissed olive groves and stunning mountain landscapes of the homeland she’s never known, Anna uncovers a shocking secret about her mother’s past that will uproot everything she’s ever believed. 
In this small Tuscan community, some wartime secrets were never meant to be uncovered…
Petch’s proven storytelling skills are ideally suited to depicting such cataclysmic events, but her tendency to sentimentalize undermines the gravitas of this tale.
Still, a respectful and absorbing page-turner.
One of the aspects that would come to attention while reading this book is its language. it’s a double sided sword that can cut sharp into the readers. I found two aspects with the language. At one side each line is coiled and lengthy carrying heavy details and meaning. On the other hand, it is a beauty in words. some of the lines have actually swooned worthy with its poetic quality. The language is art for this book. It is a bit difficult but beautiful at the same time. For me personally, I absolutely loved the language. It made all the difference for me in the book
The other important aspect was the treatment of the plot. It definitely wasn’t a child’s play and I absolutely adore the boldness and the creative risk, the author had taken especially considering how sensitive and vulnerable religious aesthetics in India. I am pretty sure that there would be at least a small group of readers who would have their eyes bulging at the way the narration movies. That is why I felt the book was amazing because the narration and the way the author decided to narrate the popular mythology is super impressive nevertheless a really bold step.
Every woman (and I mean ‘every’ not ‘almost every’) I have met in my life experiences some form of abuse, just that the abuser adorns a different role in each case; husband or parent or sibling or colleague or friend and so on. We live in a world that normalizes such abuses, be it physical or mental. There are many more women in our society, some trapped forever (may they find courage), some trying to find a way out (may they break the chains holding them back) and some gasping at new found freedom (may they rebuild their lives without the past holding them back). This book is a tribute to all of them. It is also a tribute to the women who make up a society and fail to see what another woman is going through by normalizing the age-old abuses perpetrated by patriarchy and dismissed as ‘It is for your own good’ (It never is). I salute Ines in The Tuscan Secret who tells her story for the world to hear. I am her; but also that society is me, and this is a big problem.
Authors take their pain and use it to paint gripping accounts of racism, culture shock, violence, separation from Nations and humanity, separation from family, and the splitting of one’s self that so often occur when dwelling within, outside, and along borders. It is but a glimpse into all the hardships—emotional, physical, mental and otherwise—that displaced people face. 
An intricate, hard-won tapestry of poetic experience in the beautifully and patiently woven prose, with density best suited to thoughtful browsing or individual readalouds rather than reading straight through but with many resonant paragraphs that will strike a chord either of recognition or realization with young readers.
It shows to you how difficult it is for women to survive in ahostile environment full of blood and wars, it shows how women are the ones who live with the scars of wars even if they are over before centuries, it shows how materials carry memories and emotions with them. The bond between Anna and Ines shows you how complex, strong and yet fragile the bond of mother and daughter is, how they shape each other and help each other to grow. Anna in the start particular tells everyone to go to Paris to see if her mother’s any other materials are left, but when no one agrees or shows interest she herself jumps up to the endeavour, discovering pearls of joy.
Angela Petch’s new novel gives us a cast of unforgettable characters, caught up in the tide of history, each in search of a place of safety. It is at once a love story and a provocation, an emotional embrace and a decisive demonstration. It is told in a whisper, with a shout, with tears, and with a laugh. Its heroes, both present and departed, human as well as animal, have been broken by the world we live in and then mended by love. And for this reason, they will never surrender.
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When Anna’s mother passes away in a nursing home in England, she leaves Anna an old box of letters, yellowed with age.  They are all written in Italian, her mother’s home language, but as Anna’s father had forbidden her from learning Italian, she needs to find someone to translate them for her.  Knowing her mother was from Tuscany, Anna heads there and uncovers a shocking secret about her mother’s past.

I love historical books, particularly set during the war, so this looked just the kind of book I would enjoy.  Anna’s character is lovely and I particularly felt for her, having to deal with her mother’s death and then discovering the secrets that her parents never spoke about.  Told from two points in history, the author takes us on a captivating story set during World War II and present day in 1999.

The story from war ravaged Italy at the latter end of World War II was both heart-breaking and compelling.  Well researched it gives a gruesome recollection of what it was like to like in occupied Italy.  It also tells us the story of Anna’s parents, a story that Anna had never heard before.  Interspersed with this is Anna’s present day story, in the same Tuscan community that her parents were part of all those years before.  Here, Anna meets people who are connected to her and can help her fill in the blanks of her parents history.

A story of family secrets, love and loss, this book not only gives us a love story spread out over the decades but a history lesson from a time which many of us couldn’t even imagine.  A beautiful story, told with such emotion and feeling that it makes you forget where you are and what you are doing!  Would definitely recommend.
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An absolutey gripping story of world War II told through the eyes of Anna who finds her mothers diary and goes on the stay in Tuscany and uncover her mothers life during the war.  You must read this book. You can hardly put it down.  Well written
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As a fan of historical fiction I definitely enjoyed this novel.  Going back to find her roots, a young woman finds her mother's diary and other letters, allowing her to uncover secrets from the past and find her history, learn about her family and begin a new life.  A lovely read.
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A trove of papers seemed a paltry inheritance to Anna when compared to the house her mother left to her brother and the jewelry she bequeathed to her sister.  However, those papers lead Anna to Tuscany, where she unravels the story of her mother Ines' life, one her father Jim didn't want Anna to know. The diary is only the start for Anna, as she learns about her mother's valor during WWII, that she had more family, and gets a better understanding of why her father acted the way he did.  She most importantly behind to understand herself.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  Nicely plotted and written, this is a good read.
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Anna decides to travel to Italy to try and learn more about her deceased mother Ines Santini. As it turns out, Ines had written Anna a diary that chronicled her years during the end of World War II. However, the diary is in Italian, a language that Anna's English father forbade her to learn. Her siblings, Harry and Jane, were pretty much grown up before Anna was even born.

Her trip to Italy might be her only way of having that diary translated. Even more, Anna wants to learn the beautiful language. As sad as Anna is to have lost Ines, the box of letters just might teach her more about her mother, and that is a gift in itself. Considering the fact that Anna and Ines always experienced a difficult relationship, deciphering the diary might bring Anna peace. Furthermore, there are things about the war that Anna never understood.

One of the first things that Anna learns is that her mother's having kept a diary could have been really dangerous for anyone concerned had it ended up in the wrong hands. Those are a few of the only words written in English. So Anna is more than intrigued. As Anna begins to learn about the contents of the diary, she starts to understand more about her father, and this is important to her.

When Anna arrives in Tuscany, she is immediately befriended by the owners of a bed and breakfast, two siblings. Imagine Anna's shock when one of the first thing she discovers is that her mother had a brother named Davide. Quite naturally, Anna wonders why her parents never spoke of him.

This news to Anna is only the tip of the iceberg, as layer upon layer of facts and detail are revealed. This includes explaining the fact that her father had PTSD, although the diagnosis was not named at that time. Growing up in England, decades after the war, left Anna seemingly unaffected by those tragic times. Sadly, Anna learns this was not the case with her mother and her family. What sadness!

Something else happens to Anna while she is in Tuscany. She draws rather close to Francesco. This is surprising to her, because she certainly did not go to Italy to begin a romantic relationship. What a nice addition to a otherwise touching story.

No doubt Angela Petch did extensive research while writing this book. This is a book that definitely made me think, and books like this are definitely keepers. This was truly an emotional read that had me captivated. There were some difficult passages for sure, especially concerning Anna's father. Not only is the story itself something to remember, it is the descriptive style in which the author writes about Tuscany that has definitely left an impression. This impressive story has an absolutely wonderful ending.

This book was originally published as Tuscan Roots. I do believe that the sequel, Now and Then in Tuscany, is being worked on. I cannot wait to read that book! 

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Based on real life experience this story of betrayal and revenge in the aftermath of World War 2 is wonderfully told. Descriptions of the Tuscan countryside provide a bright counterpoint to the darkness that had prevailed. A hopeful tale.
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This is a beautiful book about loss, and family secrets and discovery. It was beautify written and wonderfully told. I loved the descriptions of Tuscany. I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction.
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Thank you net galley for the advance reader copy of this novel.   This was a historical fiction with a dual timeline set in Italy.   The main character, ones, goes back to Italy after her mother's death to discover more about her past.   Ines's mother feel in love with and married a British POW.  Secrets come to life and ones falls in love and gets married herself in Italy.   The writing was very detailed and descriptive.   The plot had a few turns that kept me interested and pushing forward.   I am so deeply grateful for all those who have ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
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Anna's mom passed away. She inherits a box of papers, handwritten in Italian, telling her all she had suffered during the war in her Italian hometown.

Anna distraught decides to embark on an adventure, trying to unfold her mom's past and goes to Italy seeking the truth.

The diary leads her to a small village in Tuscany where she meets Francesco and her sister Teresa, who will become her friends and help her in her quest. While spending some time there, she realizes that some wartime secrets are never meant to be uncovered but with love and empathy, things could be worked out.

This adorable tale, based on true events talks about the tragic consequences of war and how they can impact through generations. The author has exquisite writing, giving the reader the enchanted possibility to be immersed in the Italian sceneries, smelling, feeling and even tasting its flavors. After reading this book you want to go to Italy.

If you are a fan of Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale, you cannot miss this one.

I highly recommend it.

THE TUSCAN SECRET BY ANGELA PETCH will be available on June 26th, 2019
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Have you ever wondered what was going on in Italy during WWII? For someone who wasn't there it is all so confusing; the Black Shirts, the Communists, the resistance, the allies, Mussolini – was he in or was he out?

In her new novel, The Tuscan Secret, Angela Petch uses historical fiction to help us make sense of what was really happening in the hidden valleys and mountains of  Italy. The protagonist, Anna, inherits a box of old letters and diaries from her mother, who was originally from Italy. As she works her way through the intriguing primary source material, most of it written in Italian, Anna feels herself drawn to visit her mother's village. Once there she continues to unravel the mystery of her mother's war years with the additional help of the local people. Her adventure includes falling in love, unravelling her own family linage, and finally understanding the parents who raised her and the heroic deeds that shaped their lives.

Viva Italia!
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This was a beautifully told tale mostly set in Tuscany, Italy and I found it absolutely entertaining.  It is told both in present time and in the past of wartime Italy.  If you love historical fiction and have an interest in Italy, this is a perfect read.

The story follows Anna who lives in England and is in a crossroads in her life, she’s lost her job, and her Italian born mother living in England, whom she wasn’t close to, has just passed away.  Anna’s childhood was filled with stormy arguments and her parents constantly bickering.

Anna is left an inheritance from her mother Ines, which includes fifty thousand pounds and a collection of her mother’s secret diaries and letters.  With her inherited money, Anna travels to Tuscany to visit the village where her mother grew up.   She wants to learn more about these Italian written scribblings and diaries and have them translated to English.  Here she learns of her family’s intriguing history during wartime, Ines’s new life in England as a war bride and her troubled life and secrets.  Anna feels a strong connection to her mother after reading the diaries.

This story is so wonderfully descriptive I could imagine myself there amongst the breathtaking scenery and tasting the delicious Italian food.  I adored the way it all came together at the end, exceptional.

Thanks to Netgalley/Bookouture for the ARC in exchange for an honest review
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I received a free ARC from #NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

The Tuscan Secret reveals the troubled past of a young Italian woman during WWII through the eyes of her daughter. Her English daughter, Anna, is bequeathed set of diaries and letters from her mother, Ines, about Ines's life in Italy. Anna has recently lost her job and broken up with her older boyfriend; consequently she is rather at odds in her own life. These diaries, mostly written in Italian, compel Anna to return to her mother's birthplace to connect with her and to learn more about her Italian heritage. This novel alternates between Ines's diary entries and Anna's contemporary wanderings.

War has brought hunger, violence, and treachery to the small mountainous communities where Ines and her family live. They care for an escaped English POW named Jim whose presence puts them all in danger. The sections of Ines and her family under German occupation are exceptionally strong. If this were a movie, The Nazis would be off-screen with their evil and inhumanity permeating the day to day existence of the villagers. Inevitably, Jim and Ines fall in love and settle on returning to England at the conclusion of the war. Death and loss are cornerstones of any WWII novel and here they erode the strength of the characters. Ines and Jim do marry but, unfortunately, their marriage is marred by PTSD and violence. 

Anna is determined to learn more about her parents so her trip to Italy really is about self-discovery. Her connection with the family with whom she stays is absolutely lovely as food and wine and history are interwoven. Love doesn't come easily since there are fifty+ years of secrets to unravel. The gradual translation of Ines's writing allows Anna and readers to truly feel Ines's experiences and emotions.

The early section detailing Ann's life in England is reminiscent of way too many other other novels. Stick with it; this novel is worth the effort.
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An engrossing and entertaining book. I liked the style of writing, the well written cast of characters and found the description of Tuscany quite realistic.
Recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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Anna is at loose ends, having just been made redundant, mourning her mother, and wondering about her future with her older lover. Along with some cash, she has inherited her mother’s memoirs, and on a whim, she decides to go to Italy to gain more insight into her mother’s past. She makes a fortuitous choice in lodging, and quickly becomes involved in the lives of Francesco, Alba, and Teresa, while learning life-altering facts about her mother’s history. To her surprise, she also finds romance. 

It’s very easy to get swept into this story. There are a few unnecessarily dramatic, formulaic moments, based primarily on misunderstandings between characters, but these are easy to overlook. As enjoyable as the story is, it really should be a screenplay, so that readers can experience the full beauty of the Tuscan setting.  A quick, but memorable, read.
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Thanks to NetGalley, Bookouture, Angela Petch for my digital copy of her new book The Tuscan Secret and I gave it three stars.
After her mum Ines passes away in 1999, Anna decides to visit Rofelle in Italy and look into her mother's past. Anna is very interested in discovering how her Italian mother ended up living in England as a war bride and married to her father Jim? When Anna asked her mother about her past or the war she was never keen to talk about it and she always wondered why her dad was cold and distant with her?
Anna has two older siblings her brother Harry he inherited the crumbling family home and her sister Jane inherited her mother's jewelry.
Anna's inheritance is a lump sum of money, some old family photos and her mother's old diaries.
Anna's parents marriage wasn't a happy one, her parents fought a lot and Anna was a lonely child as her older siblings had grown up and left home when she was still a little girl.
After she loses her job, Anna decides to travel to Italy, she books into a Italian bed and breakfast run by siblings Teresa and Francesco. 
Francesco helps Anna by translating her mother's diaries, Anna is pleased to here about her mum's happy childhood in Italy, she discovers her mum had a brother called Davide and how life in Italy changed during the second world war under the dark cloud of German occupation.
The story has many twists and turns, you discover why Anna's dad Jim ended up a bitter old man, it's due to what happened to him during the war and you also learn about how bad life was for the Italian people during this time. 
Ines really struggled as a new bride in England, her new husband is distant and cold. She didn't speak hardly any English when she arrived in England, how much she missed her parents, how cold England was compared with Italy and how much she hated the new food.
In Italy, Anna meets a rather grumpy old man who grew up in the same village as her mother, why is he so reluctant to talk about Ines and what happened to him during the war? Anna with Francesco's help slowly uncovers the truth about her mothers past and how the war had such a terrible in pact on her mothers family.
Anna also starts a romantic relationship with Francesco, I did find this part of the book a bit predictable but that's just my opinion and some readers might like a little romance included in the story!
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Anna is a young English woman who takes a trip to Italy to research her mother’s past.  Ines Santini, Anna’s Italian mother, didn’t talk about her time during the war.  Ines married a British soldier when the war ended and they moved to England.

When Ines died she left her diaries to her daughter Anna.  There was a large family estate left to the older brother Harry and jewelry left to her sister Jane.  Mom knew Anna would appreciate the diaries.  When you get midway through you’ll understand the importance of the diaries and secrets they hold.

The old diary entries and time in present day Italy was interesting. The parts about Ines after she moved to England was sad but set the plot for important revelations.

Once Anna arrives  in Italy you can see what is going happen by chapter four when Anna is annoyed by the good looking Francesco who becomes a guide.  Anyone?  Hands raised that we go from annoyance to an attraction she wants to deny to full blown love.

I love the cover, such a beautiful setting.  Also the Italian dialogue throughout was a great authentic touch.

This book seemed familiar yet I know I couldn’t have read it. It won’t be published until June 26, 2019. As I read more and enjoyed the descriptive passages about the food and setting in Perugia Italy,  it clicked why this was so familiar.  The premise is so very similar to The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen which I read in February of 2018.

In fairness The Tuscan Child plot involved only one adult daughter and it was the deceased father who left an inheritance of old love letters from Italy.  Also during WW II and also involving an old house.  This is indeed a different story just very similar.  If you are a fan of books set in Italy and the split time line spilling the secrets of the past, you will enjoy this book.

Foodie items include fresh chicken and polenta, Cibatta, black olives, pecorino cheese, ravili with chicken beast, leon zest and nutmeg, aubergines, wine – lots of wine.  The English foods include Toad in the hole, battered sausages, Yorkshire pudding, Victoria sponge cake, apple pie, fruitcake.

Sharing with Heather for her June Foodie Reads and Joy for British Isles Friday as the author is British and part of the setting is in England.

Much thanks to Netgalley for the complimentary copy of this book.  Publication date is June 26, 2019.  I will look for more by this author.  All opinions are mine and I was not compensated for this review.
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A great book full of intrigue and mystery. A gripping story which had me wanting to turn the pages and see what was going to happen
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