" It was a wonderful journey which had me thinking about my own life. [...] Nanette's style of writing had the maturity and strength which made the prose almost like a lyrical poetry. I liked the way she conveyed the painful emotions which tugged the main character in different directions. I could feel her intimate thoughts deep in me. I understood her. " Shalini, Goodreads
Published: November 4th, 2018
An explosive yearning that can’t be denied.
Disturbing visions from an ancient past.
A mysterious stranger that somehow feels familiar.
On the night of her fiftieth birthday, the comfortable ride of Toscana’s life takes an alarming plunge. Haunted by seductive visions, she tries to push aside the desire and focus on the husband who adores her. Then she falls for Flynn, a younger man with an eye for adventure and a heart full of romance, who leaves her doubting everything she’s believed about love and passion.
In Atlanta, Rome, and the lush scenery of Tuscany, Toscana searches for answers to the mysteries of her life while she faces her biggest question. If she listens to her feelings will she lose everything she holds dear, or does her heart hold the key to love and joy?
When I was young I remember hearing the wonderful song Volare. I didn’t understand the strange words, but those words (which I came to know were Italian) filled me with a sense of happiness, feeling carefree. I could fly on the clouds and sing in the glow of a star. So began my love affair with Italy. Pasisonate people. A language as beautiful as Michelangelo’s David. Italian flows like a bubbling brook, the rise and falls of its highs and lows a lullaby to the ear. It is fluid and gentle, loud and hysterical, but overall there is a sense of pride and history and rich heritage.
But it was Frances Mayer and her book Under the Tuscan Sun that brought Italy home to me. Her love of the Tuscan countryside, the lush food, the charm and conviviality of the people all made my heart sigh. I had to go.
The first time I visited Italy my husband told me wherever you begin is the place you will like the best. And I fell madly in love with our first stop in Venice. There were beautiful carved doors in red and green and blue. Sunlight sparkling on the canals. Lovers taking pictures on the arched bridges. Stunning blown glass at Murano. In Rome I felt the antiquity of the ages as I stood on marble floors that had seen the parade of feet for over 2000 years. The Forum gave me temple ruins, cracked pavement, a hint of the majesty of the government of the Empire. And sprinkled throughout the city were majestic palaces and gardens. In Tuscany (Toscana’s homeland) I climbed steep, winding hills, clock towers, and bricked piazzas. We drove through miles and miles of verdant vineyards. And in Verona I browsed modern shops then rested in the square where Romeo romanced Juliet. L'Italia è così bella.
As an adult and a gourmet food lover, I came to appreciate the cornucopia of Italian treasures, the variety of pasta and sauces, incredible desserts, cheeses, olives, olive oil, gelato. Because I love food, food plays a large role in Bella Toscana. I want my characters to eat well, and enjoy. And Toscana (the heroine) owns an Italian shop called Dolcielo (which means Sweet Heaven). Throughout the story you’ll find amaretti; pizzelle; torte di mele; her fabulous, decadent brownies in various flavors; cacio e pepe, fettucine con carciofi, chiacchiere, zuccotto, tagliatelle with scampi, chocolate hazelnut and pistachio gelato, tortellini in brodo, pollo ruspante, and much more.
The literal translation of Bella Toscana is “beautiful Tuscany.” Setting parts of Bella Toscana in Rome and Tuscany made me feel like I was in Italy again, enjoying the sights and sounds and smells of this cosmopolitan wonderland. I hope to go back again soon. There are so many little towns to discover and gelaterias I haven’t tried. I did throw a coin in the Trevi fountain in Rome, which is a guarantee that you’ll return. And from Rome, Tuscany is just a hop, skip, and jump away.
My mouth is already watering in anticipation of the food.
About the author:
Nanette Littlestone never knew she wanted to be a writer until she was over forty. But once she began, the ideas didn’t stop. Her fascination with relationships, history, and the spiritual path has opened her writing to women's fiction, historical fiction, and inspirational nonfiction.
A native Californian, Nanette lives in Atlanta, Georgia, far from the beach (which she loves) but a place that’s warm with spectacular scenery. On the professional side, she helps entrepreneurial women write and get published with Words of Passion. On the fun side, she takes walks with her husband, cooks, plays with graphic design, and makes origami butterflies. She loves to travel, but she’s waiting for the teleportation machine to whisk her off to Greece or Asia. In the meantime, she’s happy with dark chocolate and romantic movies that make her cry.
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