Italy, 1940. The girl sobs and rages as her father tells her the terrible news. “Italy is entering the war alongside Germany. Jews are to be arrested and sent to camps. We have to be ready.”
As fascists march across the cobbled piazzas and past the towered buildings of her beloved home city, twenty-year-old Devora’s worst fears come true. Along with her Jewish parents and twin little brothers they are torn away from everything they love and sent to an internment camp huddled in the mountains. Her father promises this war will not last long…
When they are offered a miraculous chance of escape by her childhood friend Luigi, who risks everything to smuggle vital information into the camp, the family clambers under barbed wire and races for the border. But Devora is forced to make a devastating choice between saving a stranger’s life and joining her parents. As shots fire in the moonless night, the family is separated.
Haunted by the question of whether they are dead or alive, all Devora can do for their future is throw herself into helping Luigi in the Italian resistenza in the fight for liberty. But posing as a maid for a German commander to gather secret intelligence, Devora is sure she sees her friend one night, in a Nazi uniform…
Is Devora in more danger than ever? And will her family ever be reunited – or will the war tear them apart?
About the author
I live in the beautiful Italian Apennines for several months each year. Such an inspiring location.
My love affair with Italy was born at the age of seven when I moved with my family to Rome where we lived for six years. My father worked for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and he made sure we learned Italian and visited many places during that time.
Later on I studied Italian at the University of Kent at Canterbury and afterwards worked in Sicily, where I met my husband. His Italian mother and British father met in Urbino in 1944 and married after a war-time romance.
I wanted to write “The Tuscan Secret” not only for my amazing mother-in-law, Giuseppina, but also to make people aware of the courage of the resistance fighters and the generous hospitality shown by the poorest of families, including relatives of our Italian neighbours in our corner of war-torn Tuscany.
This is my first novel and is a story about ordinary people who lived through extraordinary times. (Please note it is a revised version of “Never Forget” and “Tuscan Roots”). I was signed by wonderful BOOKOUTURE for a two-book deal and one of these was a slight re-write of “Tuscan Roots”. The new title is “The Tuscan Secret” and has more tension and intrigue to the story. I am so proud to be a part of this publishing “family”, as they describe themselves, who have patiently helped me to polish the original. It is available on Amazon and has reached the bestseller slots.
A sequel to this original book was self-published way back, at the end of April 2017. “Now and then in Tuscany” features the same family that appeared in “The Tuscan Secret”. The background is the transhumance, a practice that started in Etruscan times and continued right up until the 1950’s. STOP PRESS: This has a new title: A TUSCAN MEMORY, re-published by BOOKOUTURE SEPTEMBER 7TH 2020.
Watch out for another Tuscan, war novel. “The Tuscan Girl” was published on February 25th 2020, inspired by the many ruins I see on my walks in the Apennines. Each dilapidated house holds a story for me, whether true or invented. I’m delighted to announce that my publisher, Bookouture, has commissioned another two Italian novels from me for 2021 and 2022. Watch this space, as they say.
My research for all these novels has been greatly helped by my kind Italian, country friends, who have vivid memories of both the Second World War and the harsh times they endured in their childhoods.
Italy is a passion but my stories are not always set there. I have also written a novella about two fun-loving ladies of “a certain age” who live by the seaside in Sussex and get up to all kinds of adventures. “Mavis and Dot” were launched on December 1st 2018 at St Paul’s Centre, Worthing, West Sussex and have received fab reviews. I have a sequel in mind. All profits from sales go to research into cancer and I am pleased with the amounts that I’ve been able to deliver for this worthwhile charity. How many of us have lost friends and family through this vile disease?