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The Tuscan Child

Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble, Katy Sobey
Length: 10 hrs and 9 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (62 ratings)

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Summary

From New York Times best-selling author Rhys Bowen comes a haunting novel about a woman who braves her father's hidden past to discover his secrets....

In 1944, British bomber pilot Hugo Langley parachuted from his stricken plane into the verdant fields of German-occupied Tuscany. Badly wounded, he found refuge in a ruined monastery and in the arms of Sofia Bartoli. But the love that kindled between them was shaken by an irreversible betrayal.

Nearly 30 years later, Hugo's estranged daughter, Joanna, has returned home to the English countryside to arrange her father's funeral. Among his personal effects is an unopened letter addressed to Sofia. In it is a startling revelation.

Still dealing with the emotional wounds of her own personal trauma, Joanna embarks on a healing journey to Tuscany to understand her father's history - and maybe come to understand herself as well. Joanna soon discovers that some would prefer the past be left undisturbed, but she has come too far to let go of her father's secrets now....

Cover design by Shasti O'Leary Soudant

©2018 Janet Quin-Harkin (Writing as Rhys Bowen) (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very enjoyable

I enjoyed the mystery, the clues and the eventual revelations. Rhys Bowen has a smooth writing style that is tinged with optimism.
The background, the setting of a WW2 and a modern Italy in rural Tuscany, is interesting, especially if you have a little WW2 Italian campaign knowledge. A very intense and brutal war largely overlooked by Hollywood.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Feel good ending

Enjoyed this story, being able to switch between reading and listening whilst walking was fantastic.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Soap opera verging on high school essay

Literary equivalent of paint by number. Stilted dialogue and predictable plotting. Narrator is okay but a rote performance with rote material

1 person found this helpful

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Really Enjoyed

An audiobook that you want to listen to right to the finish
the only thing that was maybe overdone was the Italian food recipes and constant references to how they were eating
which I think took up chapters in the book
that wasn't required

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • King
  • 14-06-18

A Story Like Weak Wine

This story is like weak wine. It tastes right, just not that memorable or satisfying. The plot and characters are predictable from start to end, and just as frustrating, the narrative never explains what actually happened to one of the main characters. The secondary characters just seem hollow caricatures of prototype description. At its best, the book is a celebration of Italian cooking- but that isn’t what I was hoping for in this mostly disappointing story.

20 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Martha
  • 23-02-18

Loved it!!!

What made the experience of listening to The Tuscan Child the most enjoyable?

I felt like I was there, and since I am going to Rome, now I want to add Tuscany to the trip (but the town is made up, sigh)

Who was your favorite character and why?

I loved Joanna. she seemed sensible for 1973.

What about Jonathan Keeble and Katy Sobey ’s performance did you like?

I like the fact that Audible used a man for a man's voice and a woman for the woman's part and not a back and forth with a woman trying to do a man's voice.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I couldn't listen to it fast enough.

Any additional comments?

Definitely one I will recommend. I have read others by this author. she is one of my "check out to see if she has a new book out" authors.

119 people found this helpful

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  • Anne
  • 22-02-18

Knocked this one out of the park

Rhys Bowen long ago proved her ability to develop interesting, complex characters and intriguing mysteries.

This novel, however, is her absolute best. Set in 1944 and 1973, the premise uses the classic devise of exploring the same story from two points of view and, in this case, two time periods. Hugo Langley is living the situation in 1944 which creates the mystery for Hugo's estranged and troubled daughter Joanna to figure out in 1973 as she comes to terms with both his death and her life.

I don't want to offer any detail that would allow any kind of spoiler, but I can safely tell you that Ms. Bowen has created a mystery, a romance, and a kind of coming-of-age story that will keep you curious until the very end. Nothing much is at is appears to be.

In addition, Ms. Bowen has used language beautifully to bring several complex characters to life in settings that allow the reader to see, feel and smell.

Finally, the narrators are both excellent. Katy Sobey does a wonderful job with Joanna's voice and the characters that live the story with her in 1973 as Joanna tries to solve the mystery she finds in her father's will. But Jonathan Keeble is simply outstanding reading Hugo as a British pilot trapped in a tiny town in Italy under German occupation as the Allies get closer.

I highly and enthusiastically recommend The Tuscan Child. Don't hesitate. Get it.

219 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Drsek
  • 02-05-18

Story somewhat predictable, and sooooo sloooow..

With all the good reviews, I expected more from this book. The narrators are fine, but the story is so painfully slow to progress, and the outcome becomes more and more obvious, that I almost gave up on it part way through. I have listened to several of this author's books and won't bother with any more. Note: the descriptions of the food did make me hungry...

55 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Simone
  • 01-03-18

So dissapointed! I really wanted to like it.

I REALLY wanted to like this book, and I expected I would because I am such a fan of Rhys Bowen, but sadly this was a total flop for me!

It was eye-rollingly cliched, too easy, oversimplified, the ending was too quick and all things were resolved in a snap. Everyone gets rich and lives happily ever after.

I especially disliked all the food talk! It did not advance the story at all and the attempts to slip recipes into the story felt contrived. I realize the point was to paint the scene and make us feel what a Quaint Tuscan Village must be like… but it didn’t, it was just awkward.

I never felt any emotion for the characters, and therefore could not suspend my disbelieve and just go with it. The only character I did like a little was Hugo but not enough to save the book. Too bad.

Still, this sad miss in a long line of hits from Ms Bowen is just a blip, I continue to be a fan and I will still tune in to whatever she writes next!

110 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Deanne Harper
  • 01-03-18

Read it for the Tuscan food descriptions

If you could sum up The Tuscan Child in three words, what would they be?

This story began in a compelling manner; the two main characters are fairly well developed, though other characters much less so. The story dilemma is rather compelling, but the plot turns go from unlikely to preposterous. The child's identity is predictable very early; the villain is evident well before the author reveals that identity. Not a bad listen for a road trip, but little more -- I will say, though, the descriptions of Tuscan cooking caused cravings so powerful I made gnocci tonight (with sausage, sage, garlic, peccorino).

44 people found this helpful

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  • cristina
  • 06-03-18

Juvenile

Silly plot (fortuitous earthquakes and coincidences; characters who appear so briefly you'll wonder why they were included at all; abandoned sub plots). Poor character development (passionate man turns into cold hearted father for no reason; class conscious man is conscious of class on and off; intelligent heroine behaves like an idiot). Amazed I finished it.

74 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-07-18

Overall, a no

I couldn't even finish this one. It's just filler that gets increasingly more boring as it goes along. It also gets increasingly absurd to the point that it's laughable. This would've made a great short story,

19 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Dan Riley
  • 26-04-18

Painful Performances

Way too much performance here. Listeners do not need readers to enact all these different voices. It’s a book, not a play. Trying to do more invites this kind of criticism: the female reader turned all the Italian characters into Bela Lugosi and the male reader robbed the character of Sofia any chance to be imagined as alluring by sticking her with his husky approximation of a woman’s voice. Pretty weak story as well filled with annoying digressions to author’s obvious travel notes.

30 people found this helpful

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  • Sara
  • 07-08-18

Just a romance

Disappointing. Sappy story. If I'd wanted a romance, I'm sure there are better ones out there.

6 people found this helpful