At first glance, Lori Nelson Spielman’s “The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany,” with lush Italian landscape on the book jacket, appears to be a rather light romance. Don’t let yourself be deceived. Does the reader fall in love with the beauty of Italy and does the story include romance? Absolutely! Is that all there is to the book? Absolutely not.
The women of the Fontana family have been told for more than 200 years that the second daughters will never marry. Emilia seems to have accepted the curse and is living a very quiet, boring life in New York City. Her cousin Lucy is determined the curse will not impact her, but her means of fighting it is making her and everyone else miserable. A letter from estranged Aunt Poppie turns their lives upside down. She wants both girls to take a trip to Italy with her.
Resistant at first, they agree, much to the dismay of the rest of their family. The story of their journey is interspersed with Poppie’s telling of her bittersweet life 60 years ago, when she fell in love with a young German man who had escaped Berlin before the wall had been erected.
Both young women learn to embrace the lives they are meant to lead, not without a few bumps, but they find light, happiness and self-acceptance. Family dynamics, lies, estrangement, forgiveness, grudges, secrets and self discovery all play a part.
This is a quick, yet emotional read. Tears and laughter just might spring forth. You will fall in love with the three ladies and Italy.