That Summer in Sicily
Marlena de Blasi
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Villa Donnafugata is a magnificent ruined castle in the mountains of Sicily. The elderly, imperious yet still beautiful patron of the Villa, Tosca Brozzi, tells Marlena de Blasi the story of her life-long love story with the last prince of Sicily, descended from the French nobles of Anjou. When she was nine, Tosca was traded by her father, in exchange for a horse, to the prince, who took her to live with his wife and their two daughters. On her 18th birthday, she became the prince's mistress and they lived together in an accepted “arrangement”. In a luminous and tender voice, de Blasi unfurls Tosca's story, from her impoverished childhood to her initiation into the glittering world of Sicilian aristocracy, to the deepening love between Tosca and her prince. But Sicily is a land of contrasts. Grandeur and poverty, beauty and suffering, exist side by side. Ultimately, when the prince attempts to better the lives of his peasants, his defiance of the local Mafia costs him dearly. De Blasi's magical storytelling gives us an epic drama of love, grief, beauty, joy and pain.
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