Sunday, 11 April 2021

#BlogTour The Tuscan House by Angela Petch

It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Tuscan House by Angela Petch.

About the Author
'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.'

About the book
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 reluctant British war hero 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?

This is told from multiple perspectives and with an interesting dual timeline - interesting because we don't wander that far into the past. Fosca returns to a place that haunts her, only to find both living ghosts and dead ones awaiting her arrival.

Part of the charm of a book by this particular author is the way she is able to convey the awe-inspiring beauty of the surroundings, which is often tinged with nostalgia. Personally I liked the contrast drawn between the landscape, the architecture, the people and the turbulent traumatic and destructive power of war. Two worlds collide. That contrast is mirrored again with resistance fighters, the collaborators, the silent observers and the enemy of course.

In the same way Richard's renovation or restoration project becomes part of his recovery process. A way of weighing actions, guilt and conscience with his choices and actions. Fixing himself, by restoring the factory - putting the pieces back together bit by bit. Or Fosca trying to work through her own trauma by solving the mystery of what happened to her friend. These are elements that give the read a certain type of depth. 

The reflection and restoration are at the core of this historical fiction set during the Second World war and in the years after. The devastation and destruction of war, and the aftermath of all the traumatic events. Life must go on and more importantly you either choose to confront the past or tuck it away like a dirty secret.

It's a bit of a slow burner, but worth it. The author gives voice to the different experiences of war by giving each character a common denominator and yet ultimately always a completely individual story. 

Buy The Tuscan House at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Bookouture pub date 7 April 2021. Buy at Amazon com. At Hive.

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