*Disclaimer: I was kindly gifted a copy of this book by Penguin Random House SA in exchange for an honest review.
✥ PUBLISHED: September 2020 ✥ PAGES: 354 ✥ GENRE: Historical Fiction, Romance Novel, Historical Romance, War Story ✥
I love Historical Fiction and when I saw The Tuscan Contessa I knew I had to read it. This is the first book I’ve read by Dinah Jefferies and I really enjoyed it. Dinah Jefferies is a Number One Sunday Times bestselling author who has written several novels, including her newest release Daughters of War (available September 2021).
The Tuscan Contessa takes place in 1943 during the second World War in Tuscany, Italy. Contessa Sofia de’ Corsi and her husband Lorenzo lives in a large manor, Castello de’ Corsi, an estate contained within a walled village. Sofia manages the estate when her husband is away on ‘business travels’, all she is told is that he passes on information to the allies. The Germans have invaded Tuscany and no one can be trusted. Keeping this in mind, a wounded stranger, later to be known as a British radio operator, is brought to Sofia’s doorstep. Hiding this man from her husband, Sofia nurses him back to health and moves him to the nuns at Sant’Anna where he is safe.
Maxine Caprioni arrives from Rome in Tuscany. Working with the resistance, her mission is to deliver leaflets that need to be distributed to the partisans. Arriving at Castello de’ Corsi, she and Sofia embark on a difficult journey. Faced with danger, these two strong women aid in the fight against the Nazis. Lorenzo is unaware of Sofia’s involvement and the German officers’ interest are piqued when visiting Sofia at the Castello. Meanwhile, Maxine’s background and mission are gradually revealed and the level of danger increases each time when she must transmit information to the allies.
Maxine discovers love in the most unexpected places and Sofia must cope with the sudden loss of someone dear to her. Will love last in a place where one’s safety is unknown? Can grief be overcome when bombs are constantly deployed and people are dying rapidly?
This was such a heartbreaking yet beautiful story. I loved Sofia and Maxine, each was strong in their own way. Both of them experienced loss and the uncertainty of a loved one’s safety, but they were loyal to the cause and were determined to fight for their survival. They put their lives at risk to help save others. But there were other characters who also made an impact and made sacrifices, these women held each other strong in times of sadness, and this shows how important friends are. This novel gives us a glimpse into the lives of ordinary people during World War II when the Germans invaded towns and filled people with fear. Tuscany was beautifully described and I feel the story is well researched, it has an emotional depth to it that makes the reader connect with the characters. I recommend this book to avid readers of Historical Fiction.
In times of uncertainty, when the Nazis reigned and a knock on the door was feared, two strong women stepped to the plate and fought a battle not with guns and bombs, but with determination, courage and passion.
If you loved The Secret Messenger by Mandy Robotham, you will enjoy this book.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dinah Jefferies was born in Malaysia and moved to England at the age of nine. Her idyllic childhood always held a special place in her imagination, and when she began writing novels in her sixties, she was able to return there – first in her fiction and then on annual research trips for each new novel. Dinah Jefferies is the author of novels The Separation, The Tea Planter’s Wife – a Number One Sunday Times bestseller, The Silk Merchant’s Daughter, Before the Rains, The Sapphire Widow and The Missing Sister. She lives in Gloucestershire.