‘Now and Then in Tuscany’ by Angela Petch

Now and Then in Tuscany: Italian Journeys

A sequel to the author’s first novel, ‘Tuscan Roots’, this volume follows the journey of Giuseppe Starnucci, in the early part of the last century, as he exchanges an unhappy life at a seminary for one travelling with shepherds, herding sheep to new grazing lands near the Tuscan coast. The ‘Now’ parts of the book trace the lives of English Anna, her Italian husband Francesco, and their children, charting the differences and similarities of their lives in contrast to the older generation.

Angela Petch has an eye for the minutiae of life and her writing is crammed with stunning descriptions, bringing the story and her characters vividly into focus. There are photographs too, and while in the Kindle edition these are quite hard to see, Angela’s words make up for any lack of detail. Though I enjoyed the book, I did find it a little hard to get into at first. This may have been due to the mix of fact and fiction, which at times jarred a little. However, on the whole, this is a beautifully written and well-observed tale that will take you straight into the Tuscan countryside.

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