That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story

That Summer in Sicily A Love Story From de Blasi The Lady in the Palazzo etc a fragrant tale of life and love in the mountains of Sicily Shortly after the Venetian interlude she luxuriously captured in A Thousand Days in Venic

  • Title: That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story
  • Author: Marlena de Blasi
  • ISBN: 9780345497659
  • Page: 373
  • Format: Hardcover
  • From de Blasi The Lady in the Palazzo, 2007, etc , a fragrant tale of life and love in the mountains of Sicily.Shortly after the Venetian interlude she luxuriously captured in A Thousand Days in Venice 2002 , the author accepted an assignment to write a magazine article on the interior regions of Sicily Like many other journalists, she was met by silence from the wary From de Blasi The Lady in the Palazzo, 2007, etc , a fragrant tale of life and love in the mountains of Sicily.Shortly after the Venetian interlude she luxuriously captured in A Thousand Days in Venice 2002 , the author accepted an assignment to write a magazine article on the interior regions of Sicily Like many other journalists, she was met by silence from the wary Sicilians She was about to retire to the mainland when she stumbled upon Villa Donnafugata, whose romantic turrets, towers, balconies and chromatically tiled roof were surrounded by gardens, fields, piazzas and hills The black draped, oldish women in residence tended to their various labors, chanted, laughed and prayed The sun was hot, the smell of herbs suffused the air Was this a fever dream de Blasi wondered No, but it was surely a place from another time, and how it emerged out of feudalism through an act of moral modernity was a story unfurled to the author by the villa s mistress, Tosca The tale, which comprises most of the book, is a marvel As a child of nine or ten, Tosca was sent by her horse breeder father to live with a Sicilian prince, Leo, who had a stallion that Tosca s father wanted than his daughter Early rebellion gave way to affection, then love Together, in the years following World War II, the prince and his ward brought education, health care and a shared sense of purpose to the village around their manor Rapture and grief came in measured doses, but ultimately Leo was run out of town for his affront to the centuries old system of hierarchy that kept the wealthy in comfort and the poor in misery 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 Kirkus Reviews Strangers seldom wander into the mountainous wild at Sicily s heart The locals, having resisted repeated waves of invaders, maintain their own traditions in defiance of the outside world So when de Blasi and her Venetian husband trek into Sicily s core in search of background for a travel guide, they discover a world much removed from modern life Persevering in what seems a fruitless search, they finally stumble upon the Villa Donnafugata, an old wreck of a castle presided over by an imperious woman called Tosca The villa has become a refuge for widows from the region It also houses a birthing clinic, vital to the mountains isolated women The residents eat well and heartily, the leftovers distributed to the local town s poor De Blasi uncovers Tosca s past, an extraordinary tale of passion and love stretching over decades of the twentieth century Admirers of this author will relish her latest volume BOOKLIST 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.

    One thought on “That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story”

    1. Is it a true story, as author Marlena de Blasi, says? It reads more like a fairy tale to me, and a gorgeously lyrical one at that. The pages drip with luscious descriptions. I read it while I was in Sicily, but I would have enjoyed it just as much, if I’d read it at home.

    2. NO SPOILERS - JUST MY IMPRESSIONS§Finished: What a story! For me there should be no debate about whether a book gets 4 or 5 stars; if you cannot decide then it is only 4 stars. You have to be sure about a 5 star book. I am sure that this one gets my 5 stars. Why? Tosca, her life and what she made of it is totally fascinating. Not only her life but also Leo's and Cosimo's and Mafalda's. Extraordinary strong, wonderful people - all of them. You are missing something if you don't take the time to [...]

    3. 1/5/2011 This morning, after 80 years of living and reading many books I just finished the most captivating and personally emotionally penetrating book I have read in all those 80 years. I am so moved by it that I must try to express my feelings in my so inadequate words Hopefully someone will take me seriously and also read and experience what I am experiencing. I could even go so far to say that it has the power to change my view of life and my actions to events within my own life. The book is [...]

    4. The subtitle of this book is A Love Story. It is not really a story of love. It is a story of lust, of want, of need. And while love is present in this tale, these other emotions supersede the notion of love. The idea that a man would trade an animal for a child, adopt and raise her with his own children, and while still married, claim to have fallen in love with her when she becomes of age is not my idea of a true love story. That premise aside, I found the author’s excessive use of Italian a [...]

    5. Memoirs can be tricky things. How good is a person’s memory, especially if the events that are in the distant past? It can extremely be tricky if a writer is recording someone else’s memories. Memoirist and food writer Marlena De Blasi has all of these issues to deal with in her fourth adventure, That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story. De Blasi’s tale takes place in Sicily’s interior. In 1995, she and her husband Frenando stumble upon an unusual villa occupied primarily by older women in Si [...]

    6. I tried, I really did. This is my second Marlena de Blasi book and I just don't enjoy her books. I can't even tell you what it is. I should enjoy themItaly, food, scenic descriptions, quaint villas, etc. But I don't. I couldn't finish this book. Just moving on

    7. Anos.Foram anos que tive este livro parado na estante.E para quê?Para agora pegar nele. A pensar que era um romance fofinho e afinal ver que se trata de um livro de não ficção.Mas não foi isso que não gostei nele.Simplesmente havia algo na escrita desta autora com o qual não simpatizei.Ela escreveu e eu li. Mas o que eu li não conseguiu cativar-me. Sentia-me uma estranha a olhar para o lar de alguém. Senti-me desapegada desta leitura.E infelizmente, fiz algo impensável. Pulei para as [...]

    8. 3.5 *** This nonfiction work is subtitled: A Love Story. It’s part travel, part biography, and definitely a love story. It’s jump-off point is a villa in the hills of Sicily that the author and her husband came across on their travels. They wound up staying there for months, and the author, in particular, was completely taken by the owner’s story. Most of the book focuses on Tosca relating the story of how she came to be the ward of Prince Leo and how she inherited the property that she tu [...]

    9. Marlena de Blasi and her husband Fernando chose to take a path in the hills and mountains of Sicily, less traveled by most writers, which ends up being more like "The Road to Damascus". Marlena attempts to cleverly add a touch of humor when addressing her own life events, revealing a few slightly embarrassing moments, as well as lovingly displaying her passion for food. From start to finish, That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story by Marlena de Blasi was more about a tragic and misguided type of lov [...]

    10. This book was amazing! I'm kind of starting to get irritated by Marlena's writing style, but I'm glad she was able to tell this story about Tosca, Leo and the rest of the gang. I really fell in love with these people. I especially loved the ending. First I couldn't believe my eyes that the ending was such, but I'm glad it was. I wish I could meet these people and just hug them for dear life. I loved Leo's socialist concept and thought him to be a revolutionary. I love this book so much, I want t [...]

    11. I have this thing for Sicily. I am fascinated by the place, the culture, the history, and the people. Marlena de Blasi’s book, That Summer in Sicily, looked like just the thing to satisfy my obsession – even if only in part. And she calls to life a wonderful, magical portrait of rural Sicily invoking all the senses. I, too, felt “grateful to be inside this dream of Sicily”. You can almost smell the freshly baked bread, the pastries and tarts, the fragrant garden in the early morning mist [...]

    12. This is a work of nonfiction: a memoir within a memoir and set entirely in secretive Sicily. It's enchanting, captivating, and I'm suffering from a terrible book hangover. The bulk of the book is Tosca's story--a woman born into a peasant family between world wars, her fairy-tale adoption by a prince, and the subsequent life she leads. It's a wonderful story, a great summer/vacation/beach read, and I really adored this read!

    13. This was one of the most amazing love stories I have ever read. Thank you Marlena for giving us the haunting portrait of Tosca, a timeless glimpse into Sicilian life as told by a Sicilian. I was mesmorized and enchanted by this worman of great character. Now knowing the conclusion, I must re-read the book with very different eyes. Early details and characters have much more meaning now that Tosca's story has unfolded through Marlena's exquisite wordsmithing.

    14. I think I have had enough of Marlene De Blasi. Her total self involvement is getting rather annoying. What was sweet when she wrote her first book about love in Italy has gotten very old she must have gotten too. The red lipstick and letting down of hair and wearing grand dresses just doesn't cut it anymore. OK, I'm done!

    15. Loved, loved this book! It was hard to set down. A wonderful, atmospheric tale told beautifully. I read at the end of my Kindle version of the book that the author is a food and wine writer. No surprise's a delicious story, redolent with local flavours and dishes as well as a touch of romance. I'm gettin' my ticket for Sicily! "Buona se." Highly recommend!

    16. Because of my love for wild and smart creatures who go on living as they please, this book was easy and enjoyable to read.The language of Marlena de Blasi is excellent. I learned new words and expressions.It was inspiring and romantic. Now I want to visit Sicily and have experiences there.

    17. This is a beautifully written book about loving and living. It captured me immediately and held my attention througout -- what a story she has to tell! I would love to have the opportunity to discuss this book with others as I found it meaningful on a range of levels.

    18. Let me start by saying that I listened to the audiobook and sadly, the author/narrator's voice was extremely difficult to hear and understand as it was very high pitched and too soft, almost falsetto like. I almost gave up before finishing disc one, but the storyline was interesting so I stuck with it. I love Italy so I was curious where the story would go.The writer's style is very descriptive and keeps your interest. I wasn't sure if this was fiction or non-fiction, and I wasn't sure what cent [...]

    19. Tosca relates the story of her life to a journalist she has allowed to stay at her estate. The story begins with Tosca as a child who is traded to a Prince, by her father, for a horse. Tosca is raised and educated with the daughters of the family. As a teenager she realizes she is in love with the prince. The story continues through her life up to the time the journalist comes to stay with her. Years after she told her story she writes a letter to the journalist to tell her parts of the story th [...]

    20. The story and its telling was lush but strangely compelling. It is less about love and more about the dark underbelly of Sicilian society in which underage peasant girls are traded like chattels and the mafia maintains its control on the rich and the poor. The Anonymous Book Club (ABC) bumped into Marlena and The Venetian in our trip to Orvieto in the summer and we are hoping that she will take us up on our invite to join us in London or perhaps even join us on a visit to Sicily.

    21. A different sort of story but I enjoyed it a lot. The descriptions were gorgeous, and the characters kept me interested. It unfolded in unexpected ways, almost like a mystery, and I learned some things about Sicily, especially as it was in the past. There were times I wanted it to move a bit faster, but mostly I enjoyed the pacing as fitting of the story being told. Oh, and it will make you hungry!

    22. The story stretches the limits of credibility, but I enjoyed it much more than the other two books. I actually wanted to find out what happened in this one.Sorry to sound so dismissive, but I had to force myself to finish de Blasi's first two books. This one actually had a story to tell. But after reading it, I am less interested than ever in visiting Sicily.

    23. I have enjoyed all of the Marlena de Blasi books I have read. Since we were vacationing in Sicily while I read this, it certainly added to my enjoyment of the book as I could relate to what she was describing.

    24. Es increíble que me haya topado con tan hermosa historia así sin pensarlo, es lo bonito de los libros los abres con expectativa y no sabes como que vas a sentir cuando los hayas terminado! En esta ocasión estoy encantada y agradecida con la vida por haberlo puesto en mi camino.

    25. Que livro incrível!Romance italiano com um pouco de comédia e drama. Nos faz viajar no tempo e se sentir em casa na Villa Donnafugata, na Sicília.Uma dos melhores livros que já li.Com certeza vc sai da realidade, esquece os problemas e entra em um universo paralelo.

    26. What a beautiful true story told in wonderful descriptive detail. The story carries you along a fairy tale world in Sicily where wealth and poverty live side by side and the consequences of stepping into the "other" world. How fortunate that this author stumbled upon this magical place.

    27. Came across these while searching for Italy travel tomes. This author is new to me but I quickly fell in love with her style and can' wait to get on with the next memoir.

    28. The Last PrinceWhat a wonderful read! A love story of the heart and the senses! It took me awhile to get into the story, but once I did I was completely enchanted. Sad the story came to an end, but a perfect end it was. A story and fairytale all in one dreamy getaway place called Sicily. I loved it!!

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