That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story

Marlena de Blasi, Author . Ballantine $24 (283p) ISBN 978-0-345-49765-9

In her fourth Italian memoir (after The Lady in the Palazzo ), American writer de Blasi utilizes her personal narrative as merely bookends for a larger story. In 1995, De Blasi and her Italian husband sought a place to stay in the Sicilian mountains and were directed to the Villa Donnafugata, a grand hunting lodge populated by widows, farmers and an imperious mistress: Tosca Brozzi. When she was nine, Tosca was traded, in exchange for a horse, to a feudal prince, who took her to live with his wife and their two daughters. On her 18th birthday, she became the puttanina (mistress) of the prince, Leo (then exactly twice her age), and they lived together in an accepted “arrangement.” After WWII, Leo set about modernizing his estates, asking Tosca, a bookworm, to educate their children. The modernization brought down the wrath of the Sicilian mafia, and one day Leo simply disappeared, leaving Tosca an heiress. Eventually she modified Leo's reformist plans, developing the extraordinary community that the author and her husband stumble upon. 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. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/24/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 301 pages - 978-0-345-49766-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4332-1448-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-4332-1450-9
Compact Disc - 7 pages - 978-1-4332-1449-3
Hardcover - 441 pages - 978-1-4104-0990-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4332-1446-2
Open Ebook - 159 pages - 978-0-345-51333-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-4332-1447-9
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