With Tabby back out in Italy and nearly 6 months since my visit (my first ever!), it’s giving me the ‘missing Italy’ feels! So what does a book lover do to experience things when they’re not there? – read all about it instead!
Here’s my to-read list for books based in and around the Umbria/Tuscan area, all written by fabulous female authors;
One Summer in Italy – Sue Moorcroft
When Sofia Bianchi’s father Aldo dies, it makes her stop and look at things afresh. Having been his carer for so many years, she knows it’s time for her to live her own life – and to fulfil some promises she made to Aldo in his final days.
So there’s nothing for it but to escape to Italy’s Umbrian mountains where, tucked away in a sleepy Italian village, lie plenty of family secrets waiting to be discovered. There, Sofia also finds Amy who is desperately trying to find her way in life after discovering her dad isn’t her biological father.
Sofia sets about helping Amy through this difficult time, but it’s the handsome Levi who proves to be the biggest distraction for Sofia, as her new life starts to take off…
Love & Gelato – Jenna Evans Welch
The dying wish of 16-year-old Lina’s mother was for her daughter to live in Tuscany and get to know her father, whom Lina has never met. “Howard is the best man I’ve ever known,” her mother says, “he’ll keep you safe.” Why did her mother wait so long to tell her about him?
Lina has a happy life in Seattle and doesn’t want to leave. Shortly after she arrives at Howard’s home, Lina meets Sonya, who gives Lina a diary that belonged to Lina’s mother, the one she had kept while she was a photography student in Florence. While Lina is living her life and exploring Tuscany with her handsome neighbour, Ren, she follows in the footsteps of her mother and gets to know her as never before. She also finds out the truth about her father. Mostly she finds out about herself.
The Tuscan Secret – Angela Petch
An old crumbling mill, by a winding river, nestled in the Tuscan mountains. An empty home that holds memories of homemade pasta and Nonna’s stories by the fire, and later: the Nazi invasion, and a family torn apart by a heartbreaking betrayal.
Anna is distraught when her beloved mother, Ines, passes away. She inherits a box of papers, handwritten in Italian and yellowed with age, and a tantalising promise that the truth about what happened during the war lies within.
The diaries lead Anna to the small village of Rofelle, where she slowly starts to heal as she explores sun-kissed olive groves, and pieces together her mother’s past: happy days spent herding sheep across Tuscan meadows cruelly interrupted when World War Two erupted and the Nazis arrived; fleeing her home to join the Resistenza; and risking everything to protect an injured British soldier who captured her heart. But Anna is no closer to learning the truth: what sent Ines running from her adored homeland?
When she meets an elderly Italian gentleman living in a deserted hamlet, who flinches at her mother’s name and refuses to speak English, Anna is sure he knows more about the devastating secret that tore apart her mother’s family. But in this small Tuscan community, some wartime secrets were never meant to be uncovered…
Our Italian Summer – Jennifer Probst
Workaholic, career-obsessed Francesca is fiercely independent and successful in all areas of life except one: family. She struggles to make time for her relationship with her teenage daughter, Allegra, and the two have become practically strangers to each other.
When Allegra hangs out with a new crowd and is arrested for drug possession, Francesca gives in to her mother’s wish that they take one epic summer vacation to trace their family roots in Italy. What she never expected was to be faced with the choice of a lifetime. Allegra wants to make her grandmother happy, but she hates the idea of forced time with her mother and vows to fight every step of the ridiculous tour, until a young man on the verge of priesthood begins to show her the power of acceptance, healing, and the heartbreaking complications of love. Sophia knows her girls are in trouble.
A summer filled with the possibility for change is what they all desperately need. Among the ruins of ancient Rome, the small churches of Assisi, and the rolling hills of Tuscany, Sophia hopes to show her girls that the bonds of family are everything, and to remind them that they can always lean on one another, before it’s too late.
Under the Tuscan Sun – Frances Mayes (now a film too!)
When Frances Mayes – poet, gourmet cook and travel writer – buys an abandoned villa in Tuscany, she has no idea of the scale of the project she is embarking on.
In this enchanting memoir she takes the reader on a journey to restore a crumbling villa and build a new life in the Italian countryside, navigating hilarious cultural misunderstandings, legal frustrations and the challenges of renovating a house that seems determined to remain a ruin.
Filled with evocative landscapes, delicious recipes and colourful characters, Under the Tuscan Sun is a book to savour. It’s a love letter to Tuscany, good food, and the joys of starting over.
A Rosie Life in Italy trilogy – Rosie Meleady
Following the loss of their house in Ireland to the bank and a fabulous midlife crisis, ‘A Rosie Life In Italy’ follows the decision of an Irish woman and her family to move to Italy. After buying a 22 roomed derelict villa in Umbria by accident they embark of renovating it and setting up a new life in Italy.
Written by an international award-winning writer with a touch of humour on every page, this series is great for anyone who dreams of packing it all in and moving to Italy to renovate a villa. You might be glad you didn’t.
That month in Italy – Inglath Cooper
That Month in Tuscany . . .Ren Sawyer and Lizzy Harper live completely different lives. He’s a rock star with a secret he can no longer live with. She’s a regular person whose husband stood her up for a long planned anniversary trip.
On a flight across the Atlantic headed for Italy, a drunken pity party and untimely turbulence literally drop Lizzy into Ren’s lap. It is the last thing she can imagine ever happening to someone like her. But despite their surface differences, they discover an undeniable pull between them. A pull that leads them both to remember who they had once been before letting themselves be changed by a life they had each chosen.
Exploring the streets of Florence and the hills of Tuscany together – two people with seemingly nothing in common – changes them both forever. And what they find in each other is something that might just heal them both.
Old World Italian – Mini Thorisson
Old World Italian captures their journey and the culinary treasures discovered. From Tuscany to Umbria to Naples and more, Mimi dives into Italy’s diverse regional cuisines and shares 100 recipes for authentic, classic dishes, enriched by conversations with devoted local food experts who share their timeworn techniques and stories. You’ll indulge in dishes culled from across the country, such as plump agnolotti bathed in sage and butter from the north, the tomato-rich ragùs and pastas of the southwest, and the multifaceted, seafood-laden cuisine of Sicily. The mysteries of Italian food culture will unravel as you learn to execute a perfect Neapolitan-style pizza at home or make the most sublime yet elemental cacio e pepe.
Full of local color, history, and culture, plus evocative, sumptuous photography shot by Mimi’s husband, Oddur Thorisson, Old World Italian transports you to a seat at the family’s table in Italy, where you may never want to leave.
I wonder which one I’ll start with?! Which one would you read?
And who knows….maybe we’ll even publish some Italy novels of our own – watch this space!
Grab one of these for yourself – just click on the images or title name to purchase*
Lots of love,
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All descriptions of books taken from Amazon listings