A gripping story of passion and family secrets in a glorious Tuscan villa
When Carrie Stowe unexpectedly inherits her eccentric grandmother’s Italian villa, she sets her heart on going to Tuscany. It could be her only escape from the mundane and suffocating routine of life with Arthur, her repressive husband.
Arriving late at night and in the midst of a violent storm, she discovers that she is not alone. A young man is there before her, an enigmatic figure from the past: her cousin Leo, who had been missing for years, believed dead.
As Carrie reads the secrets of her grandmother’s diaries and the enchantment of the house exerts itself, Carrie finds herself irresistibly drawn to him. But what of her husband? And is Leo really who he appears to be?
For readers of Santa Montefiore and Victoria Hislop comes this story of love and secrets from Teresa Crane.
‘A wonderfully rich web of intrigue and romance, love and betrayal … I couldn’t put the book down’ Barbara Erskine
‘Beautifully written’ Woman and Home
‘A smashing storyteller’ Irish Times
In early December 1922, oppressed, unhappy young British wife Carrie Stowe inherits the beloved Tuscan home of her grandmother. This windfall gains her, through the intricacies of Italian testamentary law, a short respite from her punctilious and vaguely sinister husband, Arthur, for she must claim her bequest in person. When she arrives in Italy, she finds Leo, her first cousin and childhood companion (who's been disinherited for the sins of his father), in the house. Delighted, she asks him to stay and help her. He does, and among the gewgaws and priceless objets d'art, they succumb to a forbidden passion. Carrie's grandmother's faithful nurse, the ancient Maria, inveighs against this doubly sinful love affair, warning that it's likely to call up demons of the past. For grandmama had a guilty secret-one that has already cost one life. In comparison with Crane's vividly characterized Freedom's Banner, this work suffers from Carrie's sentimentality and incredible naivete. Leo, hardened by his experience in WW I, intrigues, but his dark side remains too mysterious, as does the fascinating and poorly developed grandmother, who could have carried the book. For all its faults of character and tone, the plot-involving revelations of murder, bigamy and greed-is solid, and the descriptions of the Italian landscapes and seasons are positively lyrical.
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A journey not to be missed
The best thing I’ve read in quite some time. Twisting and turning you won’t want to stop reading and discovering. Enjoy the journey