Available from Amazon
“Tuscan Roots” is Angela Petch’s first novel.
First published in 2012, as “Never Forget”, her publishing company went bankrupt and having lost control of her book and all royalties, she was forced to edit and reissue under this new title in 2016.
Inspired by the true story of her Italian mother-in-law, Giuseppina Micheli, who met and later married a dashing army captain in 1944, “Tuscan Roots” combines their story with the events that took place along the so-called Gothic Line. This defensive barrier crosses the area where the author lives. It is still possible to visit gun emplacements and remains of fortifications scattered across the hills. A fluent Italian speaker and graduate of Italian literature and language, the author was able to interview local people for their memories of the war years.
“Tuscan Roots” is a story of two women living in two different times. In 1943, in occupied Italy, Ines Santini’s sheltered existence is turned upside down when she meets Norman, an escaped British POW.
In 1999, Anna Swilland, their daughter, starts to unravel accounts from assorted documents left to her after her mother’s death. She travels to the breathtakingly beautiful Tuscan Apennines, where the story unfolds.
In researching her parents’ past, she will discover secrets about war, her parents and herself, which will change her life forever…”
PRAISE FOR TUSCAN ROOTS
“…moving and interesting” – Julia Gregson, bestselling author of “East of the Sun”.
“The fascination of this extremely readable novel is how the author deftly handles the multifaceted cultural differences: Italy of the 1940s and today but also between Italy and England of yesteryear and the difficulties encountered by the war brides coming to a cold and distant land and finally, the experiences of the heroine, Anna, who even today is plunged into a different world on her ‘time travels’ which will change her own life completely.” John Broughton – Amazon reviewer.
“There are small echoes of Forster’s “Where Angels Fear to Tread” and of Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. The book’s essential of discovery and revelation through “diaries” is reminiscent of Victoria Hislop’s successful and moving “The Island”, but “Tuscan Roots” is better written and a much better book. The characters are very real…” Amazon reviewer.
“Once I started to read I simply couldn’t stop and fell in love with the location and the characters. Tuscan Roots has a little something for everyone. As far as history is concerned it certainly it has a fascinating insight into the war years in Italy and its immediate aftermath in England. There is sadness, there is drama and absolutely there is a love story. All with the most beautiful descriptions of a country that the author both knows and loves. Can’t wait to read her next book. Highly recommended. Vivienne Wendy Jones – Amazon reviewer.
“A feast of a book. Angela writes with assurance and a descriptive power which transports you to Tuscany; the taste; the scenery; the history. It comes from a deep love and knowledge of the area.” Rosemary Noble – GOODREADS
“NOW AND THEN IN TUSCANY”
Available from Amazon
Launched at the end of April 2017, this is a sequel to “Tuscan Roots”, although both books can be read as stand alone.
The story is set in two time scales: contemporary and early twentieth century. It delves into the Starnucci family’s past and in particular a time when the transumanza took part during the harsh winter months. This was an annual event, when shepherds, herdsmen, men and boys travelled down from the frozen Apennines to the milder seaside climate in order to graze their livestock and find work.
In 1917, in a remote Tuscan village in the Apennines, young Giuseppe travels from his mountains to the Maremma coastal area, with shepherds bound for better pastures.
Along this annual trek, he experiences many hardships, including the ever-present threat of malaria, bandits and a long, five-month separation from his family. During this coming-of-age period, he has a passionate affair with a young girl, which changes his plans.
One hundred years later, his great grandson, Davide, researches this journey with his family. And secrets from the past are uncovered.
“Now and Then in Tuscany” takes the reader on a journey of self-awareness and romance. If you like Italy, you will enjoy reading about traditions and folklore, still revered in modern time
PRAISE FOR NOW AND THEN IN TUSCANY
“What-happened-next books are so often disappointing. After the enchanting ‘Tuscan Roots’ (Angela Petch’s first novel set in Tuscany) I was almost afraid to read on. I needn’t have worried. This new book, which continues the story of Anna and Francesco Starnucci, like its predecessor blends a modern-day story with family history in an intricate weaving of now and then. Once again the author’s love of the landscape and people of this beautiful region shine through, but this is far from being a mere travelogue. Angela Petch is an inspired storyteller who knows how to blend in a touch of mystery to keep the reader guessing.” PERDISMA – Amazon reviewer
“This funny, fascinating and moving novel mixes a lively enjoyment of things as they are now with a sensitive appreciation of the sadness of vanished communities and how the Tuscan landscape itself is changing – untended meadows turning back to woodland, vandalised churches and crumbling buildings. I found it “historical” in the best sense, i.e. not using the past simply as an excuse for a contemporary journey of self-discovery but bringing it to life as valid in its own right. It reminds me in many ways (though it’s much less relentlessly tragic!) of “The Tree of Wooden Clogs”, the prize-winning film by Ermanno Olmi – it has the same intensely imagined and exquisitely detailed recreation of a lost way of life. The photographs are part of this too – at first sight they’re just grainy little black and white images, but each one explains and is explained by the text, so that the more you read the more alive they seem, like Facebook pages from more than one hundred years ago.- ROSE, Amazon reviewer.
“If you embark on this journey of discovery then be sure to prepare some delicious crostini, in advance, as you will not be able to put the book down…
This is a story of love wrapped up in an insight into rural history and customs of Tuscany. Meet ancient craftsmen and farmers, of Montebotolino, and marvel at the tenacity of their families; see how they survived difficult times.” Jessie Cahalin – Blogger, Books in My Handbag.
“This is a beautifully written and researched family saga that spans three generations of an Italian family.” Carmen Amato – GOODREADS.