Book Review: The Tuscan Contessa by Dinah Jefferies

In 1943, Contessa Sofia de’ Corsi’s peaceful Tuscan villa among the olive groves is upturned by the sudden arrival of German soldiers. Desperate to fight back, she agrees to shelter a wounded British radio engineer in her home, keeping him hidden from her husband Lorenzo – knowing that she is putting all of their lives at risk.

When Maxine, an Italian-American working for the resistance, arrives on Sofia’s doorstep, the pair forge an uneasy alliance. Feisty, independent Maxine promised herself never to fall in love. But when she meets a handsome partisan named Marco, she realizes it’s a promise she can’t keep…

Before long, the two women find themselves entangled in a dangerous game with the Nazis. Will they be discovered? And will they both be able to save the ones they love?

 

Oh, this novel. Wow.

Set in Tuscany in WWII, I knew that this wasn’t going to be an easy read as nothing set during that time is. There were certain aspects of this book that were hard to read as a result.

Told from the point of view of both Sophia and Maxine, there is a lot going on but it’s all woven together so well. Even though both women are in the same place, they both experience things slightly differently and this added additional layers to the story.

Maxine’s story especially intrigued me and I would have liked to have known more about what happened with her family but that is another story for another book. Not that I am hinting, Dinah. Haha.

This story appealed to my interest in history. I have to admit, I didn’t know a lot about what happened in Tuscany during that time. I felt that Dinah Jefferies did an incredible job at describing the events and the emotions of these characters as they try to come to terms with what is going on around them. Some moral questions are raised but sympathy for these women was also present for me.

Dinah’s stories are always so rich in terms of setting and this one was no exception. I got drawn into the lives of these characters quickly. I wanted them all to be OK but knew that not all of them were going to be as is the nature of a novel set during wartime.

I am not sure what else I can say without giving away big aspects of the plot which I really don’t want to do. This book has really got under my skin. I am still thinking about it days after finishing.

There were moments of complete heartbreak but also ones of hope, love and joy – the whole spectrum of emotions and in my opinion, it’s definitely worth a read but I warn you, you will need a cup of tea and a pack of tissues.

I thank Dinah Jefferies and Penguin for inviting me onto the blog tour for this novel.

 

About Dinah Jefferies…

Dinah was born in Malaya in 1948 and moved to England at the age of nine. In 1985, the sudden death of her fourteen year old son changed the course of her life, and deeply influenced her writing.

Dinah drew on that experience, and on her own childhood spent in Malaya during the 1950s to write her debut novel, The Separation.

Now living in Gloucestershire with her husband and their Norfolk terrier, she spends her days writing, with time off with her grandchildren.

Say hello to Dinah on Twitter

The Tuscan Contessa was released by Penguin on 23rd July 2020. Click to view on Amazon UK

 

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Laura
I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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