Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany

A delightful romantic story centered on three single women of an Italian family who set off to Italy to break a 200-year-old curse. 

Long-simmering resentments and buried secrets permeate The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany, a romantic, beautifully rendered, sweepingly complex family saga.


Emilia Antonelli, 29, of Bensonhurst in Brooklyn, is a second-generation Italian American. She lives a simple, manageable life, resigned to remaining single forever, working in the family delicatessen and bakery, while also secretly pursuing a "little writing hobby." Emilia lives under the shadow of a family curse that goes back 200 years: all second-born daughters are cursed to live a life without love. After their mother died, Emilia and her older sister, Daria, were raised by their mild-mannered father and the domineering Nonna Rosa, their mother's mother and the surly, infinitely controlling backbone of the family. Nonna Rosa favors Daria, the first-born granddaughter, and belittles Emilia.


Emilia's life takes a drastic turn when she receives a letter from Paolina Fontana, her long-lost great-aunt, who lives in Philadelphia. "Aunt Poppy" is flamboyant, artsy and colorful. She is Nonna Rosa's younger sister, shunned by the family decades earlier. But Poppy writes to Emilia and Luciana, another second-born cousin, offering to treat them both to an all-expenses-paid trip to Italy to celebrate Poppy's 80th birthday. At the cathedral in the town of Ravello, Poppy intends to reunite with her one true love, with the intention of also breaking the family curse.

What ensues is an exciting excursion through Italy--its culture and fineries; romance and history--for the three women. Aunt Poppy proves warm, charming and wise. Lori Nelson Spielman (Sweet Forgiveness) provides first-rate storytelling and nuanced, clearly defined characters that will captivate readers right up to the surprising finale.

The Star-Crossed Sistersof Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman

Berkley-Penguin, $16.00 Paperback, 9781984803160, 400 pages

Publication Date: November 27, 2020

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE


NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (November 27, 2020), link HERE


To read the longer form of this review as published on Shelf Awareness for the Book Trade (October 23, 2020), link HERE