Published: June 2009
'At villa Donnafugata, long ago is never very far away,' writes bestselling author Marlena de Blasi of a magnificent ruined castle in the mountains of Sicily, which she found, accidentally, one summer when travelling with her husband, Fernando. De Blasi is befriended by the elderly, imperious yet still beautiful patron of the Villa Donnafugata, Tosca Brozzi, who tells Marlena the story of her life-long love story with the last prince of Sicily descended from the French nobles of Anjou.
When she was nine, Tosca was traded by her father, in exchange for a horse, to the prince, who took her to live with his wife and their two daughters. On her 18th birthday, she became the prince's mistress and they lived together in an accepted 'arrangement'. In a luminous and tender voice, de Blasi unfurls Tosca's story, from her impoverished childhood to her initiation into the glittering world of Sicilian aristocracy to the deepening love story between Tosca and her prince. But Sicily is a land of contrasts. Grandeur and poverty, beauty and suffering, exist side by side. Ultimately, when the Prince attempts to better the lives of his peasants, his defiance of the local Mafia costs him dearly.
With the same gifts that made A Thousand Days in Venice, Tuscan Secrets (formerly Dolce e Salata) and An Umbrian Love Story international bestsellers, de Blasi's magical storytelling gives us an epic drama of love, grief, beauty, joy and pain.
'A fragrant tale of life and love in the mountains of Sicily. Swift, sinuous, deep, a marvel' - Kirkus Reviews