Welcome to 3 books and to Angela Petch’s choices.
Angela lives half the year in a remote valley in the Tuscan Apennines and six months by the sea in West Sussex. She has travelled all her life: born in Germany, she spent six years as a child living in Rome, worked in Amsterdam after finishing her degree in Italian, moved to Italy for her job, then to Tanzania for three years. Her head is full of stories and she always carries a pen and note-book wherever she goes to capture more ideas. To date, she has published (via Endeavour Press) two historical novels set in Tuscany and in 2017 her short stories appeared in the People’s Friend and in PRIMA magazine, winning the May 800 word story competition.
1. What’s the first book you remember reading?
“The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgsen Burnett, a children’s classic, written in 1911. I was ill in bed when I was ten for a week or so and was captivated by the descriptions and story.
2. What book will always stay with you and why?
“All the light we cannot see” by Anthony Doerr. What a masterpiece. It took the author ten years to write this piece of art. Each page a jewel. Storyline brilliant; characters that are very real; beautifully written. Something to aim for in writing. He won the Pulitzer prize for this.
3. One book you are looking forward to reading?
Today I have ordered a hardback copy of “The House at the Edge of Night” by Catherine Banner. I have never come across this author, but the blurb was enticing – set on an island off Sicily. I lived and worked in Sicily in my twenties and recently returned after a thirty-five-year gap, so I’m looking forward to this a lot.
Now and then in Tuscany
a sequel to Tuscan Roots, carries on the story of Anna and Francesco Starnucci with their family in the Apennines. Interwoven are the adventures of Giuseppe (Francesco’s grandfather) and his winter journeys from the mountains down to the Tuscan plains, herding sheep and cattle to better grazing.
This transumanza lasted five months and encompassed many hardships, including the ever-present threat of malaria, bandits and a long period of separation from family.
Each generation is on a journey of self-awareness. Giuseppe finds companionship and romance through his trials, while Anna’s family have each to find their own way through the maze of present-day dilemmas. And just as Anna uncovered secrets about her own past in Tuscan Roots, it is Francesco who now makes a surprising discovery about his own identity.