I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on tour today for The Tuscan Contessa by Dinah Jefferies.
The Tuscan Contessa by Dinah Jefferies is published by Penguin and is available to purchase in digital, paperback (23rd July) and audiobook formats.
In 1943, Contessa Sofia de’ Corsi’s peaceful Tuscan villa among the olive groves is upturned by the sudden arrival of German soldiers. Desperate to fight back, she agrees to shelter a wounded British radio engineer in her home, keeping him hidden from her husband Lorenzo – knowing that she is putting all of their lives at risk.
When Maxine, an Italian-American working for the resistance, arrives on Sofia’s doorstep, the pair forge an uneasy alliance. Feisty, independent Maxine promised herself never to fall in love. But when she meets a handsome partisan named Marco, she realizes it’s a promise she can’t keep…
Before long, the two women find themselves entangled in a dangerous game with the Nazis. Will they be discovered? And will they both be able to save the ones they love?
Dinah Jefferies is one of my ‘go to’ authors. I always know I’m going to be transported to another time and experience life alongside her characters.
In this story, I felt there was even more depth to her characters and they all evoked strong emotions in me for different reasons. Dinah Jefferies doesn’t hold back or shield us from the brutality during this time in history and the events made me feel raw and exposed (which is a good thing). I felt as if I was living on a knife edge throughout.
Not knowing who you can trust makes friendships really difficult. Out of necessity, there are times when Sofia and Maxine need to rely on each other, and it’s this gradual dependence and reliability that forges a bond. They are both women who have an underlying strength which we see in action as much when they are apart as when they are together.
The themes of loss, acceptance and healing that this author writes about so well are very much evident in The Tuscan Contessa. Amidst the harshness and depravity there are glimmers of hope. I cried for the loss and I cried for the hope.
In my opinion, this is Dinah Jefferies best story yet.
Dinah Jefferies was born in Malaysia and moved to England at the age of nine. Her idyllic childhood always held a special place in her imagination, and when she began writing novels in her 60s, she was able to return there – first in her fiction and then on annual research trips for each new novel. Dinah Jefferies is the author of four novels, The Separation, The Tea Planter’s Wife – a Number One Sunday Times bestseller, The Silk Merchant’s Daughter and Before the Rains. She lives in Gloucestershire. Twitter @DinahJefferies Facebook