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The Tuscan Secret

Narrated by: Ellie Heydon
Length: 10 hrs and 21 mins

Non-member price: $34.76

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Publisher's Summary

An absolutely gripping, emotional, World War II historical novel

Il Mulino. An old crumbling mill, by a winding river, nestled in the Tuscan mountains. An empty home that holds memories of homemade pasta and Nonna’s stories by the fire, and later: the Nazi invasion, and a family torn apart by a heartbreaking betrayal.

Anna is distraught when her beloved mother, Ines, passes away. She inherits a box of papers, handwritten in Italian and yellowed with age, and a tantalizing promise that the truth about what happened during the war lies within. 

The diaries lead Anna to the small village of Rofelle, where she slowly starts to heal as she explores sun-kissed olive groves, and pieces together her mother’s past: happy days spent herding sheep across Tuscan meadows cruelly interrupted when World War Two erupted and the Nazis arrived; fleeing her home to join the Resistenza; and risking everything to protect an injured British soldier who captured her heart. But Anna is no closer to learning the truth: what sent Ines running from her adored homeland? 

When she meets an elderly Italian gentleman living in a deserted hamlet, who flinches at her mother’s name and refuses to speak English, Anna is sure he knows more about the devastating secret that tore apart her mother’s family. But in this small Tuscan community, some wartime secrets were never meant to be uncovered....

A stunning tale, inspired by true events, about how the tragic consequences of war can echo through generations, and how love can guide us through the darkest times. Fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and The Letter by Kathryn Hughes will be captivated.

This book was previously published as Tuscan Roots.

©2019 Angela Petch (P)2019 Bookouture

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  • paula wright
  • 11-08-2019

Learned so much Italian history during ww2

What a great story. There are very few Italian stories during ww2. I know beCause this subject is my main genre. Good character development and descriptions of land both great. Would read more from this author. Highly recommend

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  • anne
  • 11-08-2019

An enjoyable listen.

I enjoyed this Angela Petch book, my first. Although romance is not my usual genre , I was captivated by the Tuscan people’s struggle against their leaders in the Second World War. . Refreshing to hear new resistance stories. Ms Petch is a master descriptive writer! I loved how she created the sights, sounds, food and ways of the
Italian people and countryside. Some of the most evocative I’ve listened to. I also have to admit that even the romance parts were acceptable! And that’s high praise from me. My only real quarrel with this whole audiobook, which I received as a free copy, was the grating “little girl” voice the narrator used for Anna, the central character and occasionally she slipped into it for other people. Aside from that her narration was really good. So with reluctance I can only award three stars for the narration, it should have been 4.

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  • Jan M
  • 03-08-2019

WWII new perspective

The Tuscan Secret by Angela Petch is a gem! The book gave me a new perspective of WWII in Italy. Parts of the story are tragic. Some of the characters were incredible showing determination to survive and flourish, while others were despicable. I found myself fascinated by the story, The imagery was vivid in portraying the scenes and atrocities. The storyline kept me engaged. I really enjoyed the Tuscan Secret, and it will stick with me. Ellie Heydon was great bringing the characters to life. She added the right emotions to her voice, and had had distinguishable voices and accents that were fitting. I requested this review copy audiobook and have voluntarily written this review. I would definitely listen to more books by this author and narrator.

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  • TG
  • 02-08-2019

What a great listen!

Thoroughly enjoyed this from start to finish. Likeable characters, wonderful descriptions of Italy and a love story to boot. Not cheesy or sickly, a really good listen. Narrator was excellent and really invoked feelings or being swept along. (Whilst all Italian sounds fluent, I wouldnt know how accurate but was great. There were two words in English that were mispronounced and you do notice them but the do not detract at all from the story, characters and enjoyment of the book). Loved it and highly recommended

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  • mrs a j harding
  • 01-07-2019

Exciting untold story of WW2

Beautiful story about the people of Italy rebelling against the war their countries leader is partaking in.
Covering ww2 to present day, had me gripped.
Loved it very much

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • TerryHeth
  • 14-08-2019

An enjoyable listen

Anna has her mothers diary from her youth & what she went through in Italy during the war. Now I’m not a big fan of books about the war, bad at history! But this story was really lovely.
The diary leads her further into her mother’s past and some sad, sweet & turning moments. Anna learns a lot about her Mother, Ines, while she travels to Italy from England to trace her roots. Making life long friends along the way.
Narration was very good, easy to listen to and enjoyable.

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  • Teresa Harwood
  • 14-08-2019

Beautiful

A delightful, poignant story of love and loss. Anna is in Italy discovering her Mother’s story through her old diaries. Her Italian mother Innes fell in love with her English father Jim during the war and moved to England to set up life with him. The diaries are Innes gift to Anna and reveal a side to her mother that she has never seen. I loved this story so much I did not want it to end.

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  • Sarah Rayner
  • 11-08-2019

A romantic and moving story, perfect for my Tuscan holiday

A thoroughly enjoyable listen, which both moved and engaged me from the off. Authentically captures the times and places in which it’s set and serves as an important reminder the French were not the only ones with a resistance fighting Fascism in WW2. Strongly recommended.

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  • SandraL
  • 07-08-2019

Wonderful moving story

This book was a real delight to listen to. It is a change from my usual genre but I was totally captivated by it.

It is really two stories in one. We hear about the courtship of Ines, a young Italian girl and Jim, a British soldier in 1944 Tuscany and their lives after the war ends. We also follow Ines daughter, Anna, who in 1999 travels from England to Tuscany to try to make sense of her mothers diaries which were left to her after her mother passed away.

This is a beautifully written book and Angela Petch obviously did her research well. It is impossible not to be moved by the plight of the Tuscan people and the hardships they suffered under Nazi occupation. We hear so much about the French resistance, but I can't say I've ever heard of the Italian resistance, the partisans. Some of the book is quite harrowing to read, and I admit that some tears were shed. Although this is fiction it felt like I was listening to someone's real life story.

Tuscany is definitely the star of the book and I fell under it's spell. The landscapes, the delicious local food and the people are all described in exquisite detail. I have visited several places in Italy but not Tuscany and after reading this it is on my must visit list! I also I loved the smattering of Italian that ran through the book.

I did guess the twist about halfway through the book but it didn't detract from my enjoyment. I just wanted to finish the book to see if I was right!

The narration by Ellie Heydon was perfect too.