By the bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun, and written with Frances Mayes’s trademark warmth, heart, and delicious descriptions of place, food, and friendship, Women in Sunlight is the story of four American strangers who bond in Italy and change their lives over the course of an exceptional year.
She watches from her terrazza as the three American women carry their luggage into the stone villa down the hill. Who are they, and what brings them to this Tuscan village so far from home? An expat herself and with her own unfinished story, she can’t help but question: will they find what they came for?
Kit Raine, an American writer living in Tuscany, is working on a biography of her close friend, a complex woman who continues to cast a shadow on Kit’s own life. Her work is waylaid by the arrival of three women—Julia, Camille, and Susan—all of whom have launched a recent and spontaneous friendship that will uproot them completely and redirect their lives. Susan, the most adventurous of the three, has enticed them to subvert expectations of staid retirement by taking a lease on a big, beautiful house in Tuscany. Though novices in a foreign culture, their renewed sense of adventure imbues each of them with a bright sense of bravery, a gusto for life, and a fierce determination to thrive. But how? With Kit’s friendship and guidance, the three friends launch themselves into Italian life, pursuing passions long-forgotten—and with drastic and unforeseeable results.
Frances Mayes - Every Day in Tuscany
In this sequel to her New York Times bestsellers Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany, the celebrated "bard of Tuscany" (New York Times) lyrically chronicles her continuing, two decades-long love affair with Tuscany's people, art, cuisine, and lifestyle. Frances Mayes offers her readers a deeply personal memoir of her present-day life in Tuscany, encompassing both the changes she has experienced since Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany appeared, and sensuous, evocative reflections on the timeless beauty and vivid pleasures of Italian life. Among the themes Mayes explores are how her experience of Tuscany dramatically expanded when she renovated and became a part-time resident of a 13th century house with a stone roof in the mountains above Cortona, how life in the mountains introduced her to a "wilder" side of Tuscany--and with it a lively engagement with Tuscany's mountain people. Throughout, she reveals the concrete joys of life in her adopted hill town, with particular attention to life in the piazza, the art of Luca Signorelli (Renaissance painter from Cortona), and the pastoral pleasures of feasting from her garden. Moving always toward a deeper engagement, Mayes writes of Tuscan icons that have become for her storehouses of memory, of crucible moments from which bigger ideas emerged, and of the writing life she has enjoyed in the room where Under the Tuscan Sun began. With more on the pleasures of life at Bramasole, the delights and challenges of living in Italy day-to-day and favorite recipes, Every Day in Tuscany is a passionate and inviting account of the richness and complexity of Italian life.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Breathing Room
Dr. Isabel Favor, author of Four Cornerstones for a Favorable Life, has sacrificed everything to build her self-help empire. Then, in a matter of weeks, it all comes crashing down. She loses her money to an unscrupulous accountant, her fiancé to a frumpy older woman, and her reputation to headlines denouncing her as a fraud. America's diva of self-help soon discovers she can fix everyone's life but her own. Broke, heartsick, and soul-weary, she heads for Italy in search of a little breathing room. Lorenzo Gage makes his living killing people... on the silver screen, that is. He's viciously handsome and sublimely talented. But as he begins his vacation in Italy, he's also vaguely dissatisfied. Being a villain with a face to die for has its rewards, but he hates the feeling that everything he's neglected in life is catching up with him. Then he spots Isabel sipping a glass of wine in a sidewalk café. A good guy wouldn't think of seducing such a tidy-looking woman... but he'd never seen the fun in playing the hero. It doesn't take long for Isabel to realize she's escaped one kind of chaos only to be plunged into another. Even the shelter of a simple stone farmhouse nestled in a Tuscan olive grove can't provide her with the refuge she needs—not when the townspeople are scheming to drive her away, and her plan to restore her reputation has come up empty. And especially not when the man who deceived her refuses to leave her in peace. Breathing Room is a book for any woman who's dreamed of wandering through a vineyard, of lazing under the Tuscan sky, or of reforming a deliciously wicked man. This is a story of hope and renewal, of love and redemption when it's needed the most. Sometimes it takes a special place... a special love... a little breathing room... for life to deliver all its glorious promise.
Mario Puzo - The Family
"We are a family", Alexander told his children. "And the loyalty of the family must come before everything and everyone else. We must learn from each other, protect each other, and be bound first and foremost to each other. For if we honor that commitment, we will never be vanquished - but if we falter in that loyalty, we will all be condemned". In a tale of brutality and betrayal that crowns Mario Puzo's remarkable career, he brings us the story of the greatest crime family in Italian history - the Borgias.
Martin Cruz Smith - The Girl from Venice
A World War II love story set against the romance and danger of occupied Venice. Cenzo is a world-weary fisherman, determined to sit out the rest of the war. He's happy to stay out of the way of the SS, quietly going about his business of fishing in the lagoons of northern Italy. Then one night, instead of pulling in his usual haul, Cenzo fishes a young woman out of the canal. Guilia is an Italian Jew who has managed to escape capture and is determined to find her family. This meeting results in them both taking an entirely unexpected journey, and Cenzo suddenly finds himself thrown headlong into the world of international wartime politics, where everyone has their own agenda and nowhere is safe...
Michele Giuttari - A Death in Tuscany
In the picturesque Tuscan hill town of Scandicci, the body of a girl is discovered. Scantily dressed, she is lying by the edge of the woods. The local police investigate the case - but after a week, they still haven't even identified her, let alone got to the bottom of how she died. Frustrated by the lack of progress, Chief Superintendent Michele Ferrara, head of Florence's elite Squadra Mobile, decides to step in. Because toxins were discovered in the girl's body, many assumed that she died of a self-inflicted drugs overdose. But Ferrara quickly realises that the truth is darker than that: he believes that the girl was murdered. And when he delves deeper, there are many aspects to the case that convince Ferrara that the girl's death is part of a sinister conspiracy - a conspiracy that has its roots in the very foundations of Tuscan society... Originally published in Italian as La Loggia Degli Innocenti.
Donna Leon - The Death of Faith
Maria Testa, better known to Brunetti as the nun who once cared for his mother, turns up at the Commissario's door. Maria has left her nursing convent after the suspicious deaths of five patients. Is she creating fears to justify abandoning her vocation, or is there a more sinister scenario?
Matthew Spender - Within Tuscany
More than 20 years ago, sculptor Matthew Spender and his wife left England for what they intended to be a brief interlude in Tuscany. In his memoir Spender takes us on a meditative tour of the place he now calls home - ranging back in time to the 1260 battle of Montaperti when for the last time the Sienese defeated the Florentines, through the days when Byron and Shelley wandered the streets of Pisa, to the present day farmers who use ancient methods to make olive oil. Spender combines history, anecdote and personal observation into a cultural profile of the region, as well as presenting a portrait of a family building a life together in a strange land.
Ursula K. Le Guin - Lavinia
In the Aeneid, the only notable lines Virgil devotes to Aeneas' second wife, Lavinia, concern an omen: the day before Aeneus lands in Latinum, Lavinia's hair is veiled by a ghost fire, presaging war. Le Guin's masterful novel gives a voice to Lavinia, the daughter of King Latinus and Queen Amata, who rule Latinum in the era before the founding of Rome. Amata lost her sons to a childhood sickness and has since become slightly mad. She is fixated on marrying Lavinia to Amata's nephew, Turnus, the king of neighboring Rutuli. It's a good match, and Turnus is handsome, but Lavinia is reluctant. Following the words of an oracle, King Latinus announces that Lavinia will marry Aeneas, a newly landed stranger from Troy; the news provokes Amata, the farmers of Latinum, and Turnus, who starts a civil war. Le Guin is famous for creating alternative worlds (as in Left Hand of Darkness), and she approaches Lavinia's world, from which Western civilization took its course, as unique and strange as any fantasy. It's a novel that deserves to be ranked with Robert Graves's I, Claudius.
Jennifer Probst - The Marriage Trap
In order for his sister to marry, Italian billionaire Michael Conte has to find himself a bride - and fast! When he learns that photographer Maggie Ryan is going to be in Milan, Michael hatches a plan to introduce her to his family as his "fiancee." Never mind that Maggie is confident, independent, and a complete control freak. Never mind that she's everything he doesn't want in a wife…and everything he wants in his bed! Convinced that Michael is in love with her married gal pal, Maggie agrees to keep up the ruse if he'll keep away from her friend. Besides, she's not attracted to charming, ridiculously good looking billionaires who drive her up the wall. Once they're in Italy, however, everything changes - and the sexual tension between Maggie and Michael goes from simmer to sizzling! But have they found the perfect arrangement…or are they trapped in a make-believe marriage?
Gail Carriger - Blameless
Quitting her husband's house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season. Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London's vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead. While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires -- and they're armed with pesto.
Allan Folsom - Day of Confession
From the author of the internationally acclaimed THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW comes a thriller of equal complexity, daring action and chilling credibility. In Italy the Cardinal Vicar of Rome is assassinated during a celebration for the Pope's birthday. In Los Angeles Harry Addison, a highly successful entertainment lawyer, finds a desperate message on his telephone answering machine from his long-estranged brother, Daniel, a priest in the Vatican. Hours later a tourist bus on which Father Daniel is travelling explodes on the road to Assisi. Arriving in Italy to claim his brother's body, Harry is abruptly plunged into a Kafka-esque nightmare of deception and terror. Learning that his brother is the prime suspect in the assassination of the Cardinal Vicar, he soon suspects that his brother may have survived the bus explosion abd still be alive, but before he can confirm his suspicions he is himself framed for the murder of an Italian policeman. On the run from the authorities and at the same time desperately searching for Father Daniel, Harry discovers someone else is looking for his brother as well - the infamous international terrorist and maniacal killer, Thomas Kind. Pursued and alone, Harry finds himself at the centre of a monstrous conspiracy spun from the very heart of the Vatican, where men of God are using the devil's hand to establish a new Holy Roman Empire in China for the 21st century.
John Grisham - Playing For Pizza
Rick Dockery was the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In the AFC Championship game against Denver, to the surprise and dismay of virtually everyone, Rick actually got into the game. With a 17-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick provided what was arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he became a national laughingstock and, of course, was immediately cut by the Browns and shunned by all other teams. But all Rick knows is football, and he insists that his agent, Arnie, find a team that needs him. Against enormous odds Arnie finally locates just such a team and informs Rick that, miraculously, he can in fact now be a starting quarterback. Great, says Rick—for which team? The mighty Panthers of Parma, Italy. Yes, Italians do play American football, to one degree or another, and the Parma Panthers desperately want a former NFL player—any former NFL player—at their helm. So Rick reluctantly agrees to play for the Panthers—at least until a better offer comes along—and heads off to Italy. He knows nothing about Parma—not even where it is—has never been to Europe, and doesn’t speak or understand a word of Italian. To say that Italy—the land of opera, fine wines, extremely small cars, romance, and Football Americano— holds a few surprises for Rick Dockery would be something of an understatement.
Mario Puzo - The Godfather (Penguin Readers)
When Mario Puzo's blockbuster saga, The Godfather, was first published in 1969, critics hailed it as one of the greatest novels of our time, and "big, turbulent, highly entertaining." Since then, The Godfather has gone on to become a part of America's national culture, as well as a trilogy of landmark motion pictures. Now, in this newly-repackaged 30th Anniversary Edition, readers old and new can experience this timeless tale of crime for themselves. From the lavish opening scene where Don Corleone entertains guests and conducts business at his daughter's wedding...to his son, Michael, who takes his father's place to fight for his family...to the bloody climax where all family business is finished, The Godfather is an epic story of family, loyalty, and how "men of honor" live in their own world, and die by their own laws.
Rachel Kushner - The Flamethrowers
The year is 1977 and Reno - so called because of the place of her birth - has come to New York intent on turning her fascination with motorcycles and speed into art. Her arrival coincides with an explosion of activity in the art world - artists have colonised a deserted and industrial SoHo, are squatting in the East Village, and are blurring the line between life and art. Reno meets a group of dreamers and raconteurs who submit her to a sentimental education of sorts. She begins an affair with an artist named Sandro Valera, the semi-estranged heir of an Italian tyre and motorcycle empire. When they visit Sandro's family home in Italy, Reno falls in with members of the radical movement that overtook Italy in 1977. Betrayal sends her reeling into a clandestine undertow. The Flamethrowers is a fearless novel, an intensely engaging exploration of the mystique of the feminine, the fake the terrorist. In the centre of it all is Kushner's brilliantly realised protagonist, a young woman on the verge.
Susan Sontag - The Volcano Lover
Set in 18th century Naples, based on the lives of Sir William Hamilton, his celebrated wife Emma, and Lord Nelson, and peopled with many of the great figures of the day, this unconventional, bestselling historical romance from the National Book Award-winning author of In America touches on themes of sex and revolution, the fate of nature, art and the collector's obsessions, and, above all, love.
Phil Doran - The Reluctant Tuscan
After years of working on a string of sitcoms, Phil Doran found himself on the outside looking in. Just as he and his peers had replaced the older guys when he was coming up the ranks, it was now happening to him. And it was freaking him out. He came home every night angry, burned- out, and exhausted. After twenty-five years of losing her husband to Hollywood, Doran’s wife decided it was finally time for a change—so on one of her many solo trips to Italy she surprised her husband by purchasing a broken-down 300-year-old farmhouse for them to restore. The Reluctant Tuscan is about the author’s transition from being a successful but overworked writer-producer in Hollywood to rediscovering himself and his wife while in Italy, and finding happiness in the last place he expected. In the witty tone that made him a success as a writer in Hollywood, The Reluctant Tuscan captivates those who simply love a good travel narrative as well as anyone who loves the quirky humor of Bill Bryson, Dave Barry, and Jerry Seinfeld.
Mark Mills - The Savage Garden
A beautiful Tuscan villa, a mysterious garden, two hidden murders - one from the 16th century, one from the twentieth - and a family driven by dark secrets, combine in this evocative, intriguing mystery set in post-War Italy. In 1958, Adam Strickland, a young Cambridge scholar, travels to the Villa Docci in Tuscany to study a sixteenth-century garden. Designed and laid out by a grieving husband to the memory of his dead wife, it is a mysterious world of statues, grottoes, meandering rills and classical inscriptions. But tragedy has hit the Docci family more recently. The German occupation during World War 2 had a devastating impact on them, and the tensions between collaborators and partisans were played out within their own tight circle. Adam is fascinated by the Doccis and increasingly aware that there are dangerous secrets hidden within the family domain. The garden itself starts to exercise a powerful influence over his imagination, its iconography seeming to point to some deeper, darker truth than was first apparent. And what really lay behind a killing at the villa towards the end of the war? Past and present, love and intrigue, intertwine in an evocative mystery which vividly captures the experience of an innocent abroad in the uncertain world of post-War Italy.
Irving Stone - The Agony and the Ecstasy
Irving Stone's powerful and passionate biographical novel of Michelangelo. His time: the turbulent Renaissance, the years of poisoning princes, warring popes, the all-powerful Medici family, the fanatic monk Savonarola. His loves: the frail and lovely daughter of Lorenzo de Medici; the ardent mistress of Marco Aldovrandi; and his last love - his greatest love - the beautiful, unhappy Vittoria Colonna. His genius: a God-driven fury from which he wrested the greatest art the world has ever known. Michelangelo Buonarotti, creator of David, painter of the Sistine ceiling, architect of the dome of St Peter's, lives once more in the tempestuous, powerful pages of Irving Stone's marvellous book.
Frances Mayes - Bella Tuscany
A companion volume to _Under the Tuscan Sun, Bella Tuscany_ is Frances Mayes’s passionate and lyrical account of her continuing love affair with Italy. Now truly at home there, Mayes writes of her deepening connection to the land, her flourishing friendships with local people, the joys of art, food, and wine, and the rewards and occasional heartbreaks of her villa’s ongoing restoration. It is also a memoir of a season of change, and of renewed possibility. As spring becomes summer she revives her lush gardens, meets the challenges of learning a new language, tours regions from Sicily to the Veneto, and faces transitions in her family life. Filled with recipes from her Tuscan kitchen and written in the sensuous and evocative prose that has become her hallmark, _Bella Tuscany_ is a celebration of the sweet life in Italy.
Máté Ferenc - The Hills of Tuscany
As seductive as A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun, but with the wit and charm of a 1930s romantic comedy, the true-life adventure of a couple who chucked New York for a new life in Tuscany. The Máté's arrived in Tuscany in the late 1980s knowing no Italian and with only four weeks to search for the country house of their dreams. On their last night there, after having been chased by wild boars and befriended by a country realtor who also sells pigs and coffins, they finally concluded the deal on the hood of a rusting tractor with the lawyer speaking Italian and them responding in French, English, and Hungarian, in a Tower of Babel version of "Who's on First?" So begins Ferenc Máté's endearing, in-love-with-life memoir of their first five years in Tuscany, by turns buoyant, reflective, and laugh-out-loud hilarious. His engaging, often poetic prose describes the way of life they were looking for and found-where neighbors, community, home, and, most of all, children, form the focal point of daily life. They live in a small thirteenth-century monastery, surrounded by their vineyards and olive groves, in the spectacular hills near Siena, a few miles from where The English Patient was filmed. The Hills of Tuscany--steeped in mesmerizing scenery and wonderful medieval towns, full of unforgettably delightful characters and spectacular food and wine-nourishes body, mind, and soul. If you're not passionately in love with life at the moment, you'll be hopelessly so by the time you turn the last page.