Since I liked the first Rhys Bowen book that I read – The Venice Sketchbook, I picked up the next one that Kindle Unlimited threw up, The Tuscan Child. Rhys Bowen seems to be a master at the two timeline stories.
The Tuscan Child is also a two timeline story – 1944 and 1973.
The Tuscan Child – Summary
Hugo Langley, a British bomber pilot dies and his estranged daughter Joanna comes back to the countryside to arrange her father’s funeral. As she sifts through his stuff, she finds a love letter addressed to a Sofia that has been returned as “Not known at this address. Return to Sender.”
The letter leads her to San Salvatore, Tuscany in Italy to understand what had happened to her father when he parachuted from his stricken plane during WWII. All she knew was that he survived the jump and married her mother. Once she reaches San Salvatore she discovers that her father had found refuge in a ruined monastery and had fallen in love with a Sofia Bartoli whose husband was missing.
Sofia Bartoli’s son is being brought up by the wealthiest man in that village. Even as Sofia is trying to ask questions, one of the men she speaks to is murdered. Slowly the village folk help her piece together what had happened to her father and Sofia. In the last few pages of the book, Sofia’s son and Joanna manage to retrieve the priceless painting that her father refers to in his letter !
Ofcourse Joanna and Renzo (Sofia’s son) get interested in each other and it’s left to the reader’s imagination as to where that relationship goes.
All through, we are treated to some amazing Italian food… not much for vegetarians except stuffed Zucchini flowers probably. Its also fascinating to see the number of festivals they have in Italy, almost felt like I was in India :).
Recommendation – Its a good book for a one time read. You get to see a village in Italy with all the details of daily life there. The story line isn’t as taut as The Venice Sketchbook and I hope some of the other books by Rhys Bowen explore something other than two timelines. Rating – 3/5