The renovations to 34 via del Duomo now complete, Marlena de Blasi, the bestselling international author and woman with the 'fairytale life', longs to find time and space to finish a book. Lured by a friend's offer of a simple stone cottage in a remote province of western Tuscany and distant from the distractions of everyday life in Orvieto, she sets off for a period of solitude. Enter Antonia. Imperious, tempestuous, Antonia is the still-stunning elderly matriarch of a complicated family of four generations of beautiful blue-eyed, high-bottomed, high-strung hellions, each with a story of her own. Mistrustful of tourists and outsiders, Antonia baits and clashes with Marlena, sets out to destroy her fragile peace and send her packing. Yet the two are drawn to one another. Walking together in the pre-dawn Tuscan light over the high meadows to forage for wild herbs, cooking and feasting with the family, an affinity grows between them, a sympathy which belies the differences in their ages, cultures, characters and histories and inspires Antonia to reveal her terrible secrets. Evocative, powerful, haunting, the narrative gives compelling insight into Tuscany's recent past and an uncensored look into one extraordinary woman's story.
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