The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen
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The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen is a romance novel written in the backdrop of the Second World War. The author has written the story based in two different time periods- 1944 and 1973 with the periods depicting the World War II and a mystery based in the later time period. The two stories run together in parallel and converge at the end of the novel.
The plot opens in the year 1944 when a British pilot Hugo Langley has to parachute himself out of his crashing plane. He lands in the German-occupied Tuscany, Italy and finds refuge in a ruined monastery. He is discovered by one of the villagers named Sophie Bartoli. She helps Langley to get well and plan an escape. With the passage of time, she realizes that she is in love with him and both of them plan their escape together.
In the year 1973, Langley’s estranged daughter Joanna goes through her father’s belongings in his trunk which has his possessions. She finds an unopened letter addressed to Sophia. Joanna is unaware of her father’s life during the World War II and she is shocked after opening the letter. She decides to visit the small Tuscan town of San Salvatore to find out about his father and the time he spent there. She is even more mystified and lost after going there as none of the locals acknowledge that Hugo spent any time in the village.
The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen is a wonderfully written novel. The author has nicely described the location where the story is set in. The readers can visualize the Italian countryside with the author’s vivid description of the same. The relationship between Hugo and Sophia and their struggles together has been beautifully described.
The bond between Hugo and her daughter Joanna also contribute significantly to the novel’s plot. The author has fleshed out the characters and detailed them in a manner that the readers will be able to relate with them. The narrative is simple and balanced and does not seem forced which is a strength of the novel. Overall, this is a nicely written romantic novel capturing stories from different time periods. This is a recommended read.