That Summer in Sicily by Marlena de Blasi
A Love Story (Marlena de Blasi)

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This book reads like a suspense novel complete with a surprise ending, and though Tosca's story is compelling, it's in De Blasi's telling of it that the true magic lies.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“At villa Donnafugata, long ago is never very far away,” writes bestselling author Marlena de Blasi of the magnificent if somewhat ruined castle in the mountains of Sicily that she finds, accidentally, one summer while traveling with her husband, Fernando. There de Blasi is befriended by Tosca, the patroness of the villa, an elegant and beautiful woman-of-a-certain-age who recounts her lifelong love story with the last prince of Sicily descended from the French nobles of Anjou.

Sicily is a land of contrasts: grandeur and poverty, beauty and sufferance, illusion and candor. In a luminous and tantalizing voice, That Summer in Sicily re-creates Tosca’s life, from her impoverished childhood to her fairy-tale adoption and initiation into the glittering life of the prince’s palace, to the dawning and recognition of mutual love. But when Prince Leo attempts to better the lives of his peasants, his defiance of the local Mafia’s grim will to maintain the historical imbalance between the haves and the have-nots costs him dearly.

The present-day narrative finds Tosca sharing her considerable inherited wealth with a harmonious society composed of many of the women–now widowed–who once worked the prince’s land alongside their husbands. How the Sicilian widows go about their tasks, care for one another, and celebrate the rituals of a humble, well-lived life is the heart of this book.

Showcasing the same writerly gifts that made bestsellers of A Thousand Days in Venice and A Thousand Days in Tuscany, That Summer in Sicily, and de Blasi’ s marvelous storytelling, remind us that in order to live a rich life, one must embrace both life’s sorrow and its beauty. Here is an epic drama that takes readers from Sicily’s remote mountains to chaotic post-war Palermo, from the intricacies of forbidden love to the havoc wreaked by Sicily’s eternally bewildering culture.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Marlena de Blasi

See more books from this Author
An American chef and food and wine journalist, Marlena de Blasi has written five memoirs, a novel, and two books about the regional foods of Italy. She lives with her husband in the Umbrian hilltown of Orvieto. Her work has been translated into twenty-six languages.
 
Published August 5, 2008 by Ballantine Books. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Travel, Political & Social Sciences, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jul 06 2014
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for That Summer in Sicily
All: 5 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 20 2010

Even in 1995, when de Blasi first visited Donnafugata, the old ways abided, like the shawl Tosca wore at night, still permeated with the scent of her beloved. Swift, sinuous, deep and brimming with cultural artifacts.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Mar 24 2008

This book reads like a suspense novel complete with a surprise ending, and though Tosca's story is compelling, it's in De Blasi's telling of it that the true magic lies.

Read Full Review of That Summer in Sicily: A Love... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Christian Science Monitor

Above average
Reviewed by Marjorie Kehe on May 23 2008

Don’t go seeking any gritty social realism in its pages but if you crave a taste of old-world Europe to get you through the summer, this may just do the trick.

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Story Circle Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Becky Lane on Jun 09 2008

It is a story that explores the ravages of war, poverty, the origins of the Cosa Nostra, the responsibilities of wealth and privilege, the cost of defying rigid traditions, the meaning of love, and finding one's true place in the world. It is also a story of miracles.

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Curled Up

Good
Reviewed by Elizabeth Schulenberg on Dec 12 2014

Marlena de Blasi is a beautiful writer, able to immerse the reader in the sights and sounds of the world she experiences. Her descriptions of the villa, the food and drink, the flowers and people surrounding her, make the reader feel as though they are traveling through Sicily with her.

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Reader Rating for That Summer in Sicily
85%

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