Book Review- The Tuscan Child
There are books that shake you up. There are some which make you anxious or steer up some strong emotions. And then there are books which calm your nerves, make you smile and give you a good night’s sleep. I am not sure if the author intended that effect with this book, but The Tuscan Child fell into the last category for me. I read it slowly, sometimes only one page at a time. Initially, it was due to a paucity of time but then I realized that this is how I am going to enjoy it. There are many reasons for that.
The book oscillates between two timelines; 1944 and 1973. During the second world war, a British air force pilot crashes his plane and lands in Tuscany, a faraway village somewhere in Italy. He is badly injured and runs the risk of being discovered by the Germans. Although he hopes that he would be treated fairly as a prisoner of war, he acknowledges that he might be tortured and eventually killed if captured. A woman named Sofia finds this injured Pilot and nurses him back to health. She hides him in a dilapidated monastery and risks her life every day to bring him food and supplies. A bond develops between the two strangers, which is meant to be broken by destiny.
In 1973, a soon-to-be lawyer, Joanna finds herself in a confused state of mind when she finds an undelivered letter in her dead father’s belongings. The love letter is written to an unfamiliar woman and points towards a mystery. Joanna sets to unravel the mystery about the letter and about a father who was always aloof from his only daughter.
The book starts at a high note and maintains almost the same pace throughout. If you read thrillers and mysteries often, then some of the twists in the plot might seem predictable but the narration will make up for it.
Other than the main plot, what kept me hooked to the book was the detailed description of the rural Italian landscape and the Italian food. Who doesn’t love cheese, pasta, and good wine! The Tuscan Child is a good leisurely read over a lazy afternoon. Or even during a cold night with a hot cup of coffee. Will I recommend it? Oh yes, definitely.