That Summer in Sicily

That Summer in Sicily

"From de Blasi (The Lady in the Palazzo, 2007, etc.), a fragrant tale of life and love in the mountains of Sicily.Shortly after the Venetian interlude she luxuriously captured in A Thousand Days in Venice (2002), the author accepted an assignment to write a magazine article on the interior regions of Sicily.

No, but it was surely a place from another time, and how it emerged out of feudalism through an act of moral modernity was a story unfurled to the author by the villas mistress, Tosca.

Rapture and grief came in measured doses, but ultimately Leo was run out of town for his affront to the centuries-old system of hierarchy that kept the wealthy in comfort and the poor in misery.

Even in 1995, when de Blasi first visited Donnafugata, the old ways abided, like the shawl Tosca wore at night, still permeated with the scent of her beloved.

The locals, having resisted repeated waves of invaders, maintain their own traditions in defiance of the outside world.

So when de Blasi and her Venetian husband trek into Sicilys core in search of background for a travel guide, they discover a world much removed from modern life.

Persevering in what seems a fruit search, they finally stumble upon the Villa Donnafugata, an old wreck of a castle presided over by an imperious woman called Tosca.

De Blasi uncovers Toscas past, an extraordinary tale of passion and love stretching over decades of the twentieth century.

Admirers of this author will relish her latest volume." - BOOKLIST At villa Donnafugata, long ago is never very far away, writes bestselling author Marlena de Blasi of the magnificent if somewhat ruined castle in the mountains of Sicily that she finds, accidentally, one summer while traveling with her husband, Fernando.

There de Blasi is befriended by Tosca, the patroness of the villa, an elegant and beautiful woman-of-a-certain-age who recounts her lifelong love story with the last prince of Sicily descended from the French nobles of Anjou.Sicily is a land of contrasts: grandeur and poverty, beauty and sufferance, illusion and candor.

In a luminous and tantalizing voice, That Summer in Sicily re-creates Toscas life, from her impoverished childhood to her fairy-tale adoption and initiation into the glittering life of the princes palace, to the dawning and recognition of mutual love.

But when Prince Leo attempts to better the lives of his peasants, his defiance of the local Mafias grim will to maintain the historical imbalance between the haves and the have-nots costs him dearly.The present-day narrative finds Tosca sharing her considerable inherited wealth with a harmonious society composed of many of the womennow widowedwho once worked the princes land alongside their husbands.

How the Sicilian widows go about their tasks, care for one another, and celebrate the rituals of a humble, well-lived life is the heart of this book.Showcasing the same writerly gifts that made bestsellers of A Thousand Days in Venice and A Thousand Days in Tuscany, That Summer in Sicily, and de Blasis marvelous storytelling, remind us that in order to live a rich life, one must embrace both lifes sorrow and its beauty.

Here is an epic drama that takes readers from Sicilys remote mountains to chaotic post-war Palermo, from the intricacies of forbidden love to the havoc wreaked by Sicilys eternally bewildering culture.

Reviews of the That Summer in Sicily

I unfortunately was as intrigued as Marlena De Blasi as I found the story read like a fairytale and found myself having to suspend belief to get through much of this memoir.

Not only her life but also Leo's and Cosimo's and Mafalda's. You are missing something if you don't take the time to read of their lives, but you have to like the writing style. You learn about the Sicilian people. And you learn about the Mafia - their values, a bit of how they think and how the Sicilian people live along-side them. However if you read the spoiler by mistake, you will be so confused that you need to read every word of the story so you understand how such could happen. I grew to love Tosca and Leo and Mafalda. It is a story about one Sicilian woman and the people with whom she made her life. Actually it isn't the things that happened to her but rather the coices she made throughout her life that I find so gripping. But then you will also miss the story of what has happened in these people's lives. I thought I would quote a bit so you understand HOW the author writes. "I knew that someday I would be loved by a man like Brasini. Or was it that I knew that I couldn't love a man if he wasn't like Brasini? Just like my father couldn't be kind. And no matter what the woman did or said or looked like or was, she couldn't make him take her face in his hands and kiss her like in the films. But what I am trying to say is that once I'd understood the Brasini theory, I slipped myself off the hook about my father not wanting me....." "I think it is improbable that a child of eight - even a Tosca of eight - could find her way through such an emotional forest." "It is not improbable at all. This is a marvelous love story and a Sicilian tale that is true. Through page 79: It is very hard to tell you bits b/c then you will know the story. By knowing Tosca's true life story you begin to understand who she is, why she has made her beautiful, wonderful little paradise of a crumbling castle into what it is. To protect the identity of the real people the author has changed names and exact places. I am not interested in culinary subjects, but I think the author's other autobiographical books are more focused on that. Think to stumble upon the villa Donnafugata hidden in the mountains of Sicily, to meet Tosca, the patroness of the villa, who pours out the story of her life and romance with the last prince of Sicily and the couple's conflict with the Mafia.

This book has all of this plus the power of description that allows me to be a participant rather than a viewer. Is it fantasy or did the author really live this journey?

Supposedly a true story, the author in a disclaimer says she has invoked poetic license and changed many things.

Memoirist and food writer Marlena De Blasi has all of these issues to deal with in her fourth adventure, That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story. The couple is made to feel welcome at Villa Donnafugata, which is the ruin of a castle and where the meat of the story takes place. That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story is well-paced and flows well. Third, Toscas love story with Prince Leo is not shown; its told by Tosca.

Its part travel, part biography, and definitely a love story. There is definitely love here.

Mas não foi isso que não gostei nele. Simplesmente havia algo na escrita desta autora com o qual não simpatizei. Mas o que eu li não conseguiu cativar-me.

Early details and characters have much more meaning now that Tosca's story has unfolded through Marlena's exquisite wordsmithing.