Friday, March 19, 2021

It Happened in Tuscany ~ Book Blog Tour Audio Book Review & Giveaway!

Narrated by Susan Fouche

Book Details:
Genre Adult Fiction (18+), 408 pages
Categories Mainstream Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publisher Capriole Group
Release date Feb 18 2020
Content Rating: PG-13. The novel includes violence in war scenes and non-explicit sex scenes, but not f-words, religious profanities, or crude terms as described. 

Book Description:

From the multiple-award-winning author of To Tuscany with Love comes a captivating story of the epic tug of war between honor and duty, the irrepressible power of love, and the concept of family.

In 1945, Will Mills and his fellow soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division scaled Italy’s treacherous Riva Ridge in the frigid night to break through the nearly impenetrable German line of defense. Severely wounded, Will was rescued by Italian partisans and one, a beautiful girl, tended his injuries until he had the strength to rejoin the U.S. troops.

Tormented and haunted by his decisions and actions during wartime, Will knows he has unfinished missions in Italy to complete. The passage of time and years of carrying this unfulfilled need have molded Will into a bitter, angry man.

Seventy-five years later, Will’s spunky thirty-two-year-old neighbor, Sophie Sparke, faces disaster in her life. Everything is going wrong—her job, her love life, even her dog. Part of the problem is that confident and fiercely independent Sophie lets her quick mouth get her into trouble.

Grouchy, mean-spirited Will finagles Sophie into traveling with him to Tuscany to find the partisan who saved his life. Will also secretly hopes to confront the demons his wartime actions created. Sophie and Will comb enchanting Tuscan hill towns on an improbable and unfolding mission with few clues to aid them. Will’s passionate tenacity drives their quest and in the process exposes their darkest secrets. The journey alters the course of their lives, and Will and Sophie find more than they had imagined in the hills of Tuscany.

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Audible
B&N ~ IndieBound ~ Apple

Meet the Author:
Gail Mencini is the acclaimed author of It Happened in Tuscany and To Tuscany with Love, both of which are Denver Post #1 bestsellers and award winners. Gail grew up in DeWitt, Nebraska, graduated from Wartburg College with a BA in Accounting and Economics, and earned a master of taxation degree from the University of Denver. A frequent visitor to Tuscany and a homegrown gourmet cook, Gail has toured Italy by car, train, bus, Vespa, and foot. She lives in Colorado with her husband.

Connect with the author:
  Website  Facebook ~ Twitter ~Instagram ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads
Audio Book Review:

HALL WAYS REVIEW: Audio book review: From descriptions of the picturesque landscapes, the nuances of the people, and the rituals of enjoying food and wine, clearly, author Gail Mencini knows and loves Italy. At times, listening to It Happened in Tuscany felt almost like a travelogue, with the richness of the country and the culture of Italy and Italians bubbling out from the story.  

“Sunlight filled the space with light and promise.”

It is Mencini’s glorious descriptions that readers will find their wanderlust activated, and that was enough to keep me listening. Aside from the beginning of the story, when we’re on the battleground with young Will during WWII, there isn’t a lot of action; however, the story moves steadily in a direction where we know there will be a resolution, and we’re pretty sure of what it will be given the number of bread crumbs the author drops along the way to lead us there.  As the finer points are fleshed-out, readers really won’t mind that the resolutions aren’t realistic. We’re just rooting for Sophie and Will to find closure and feel complete.

An interesting and unexpected characteristic of Sophie is that she’s an admitted liar. Well, maybe a better word is embellisher. She recognizes that she does this, and even though it gets her into a pickle (or bruschetta) sometimes, she doesn’t really try to stop the habit. It provides some humor, but it’s also sad as it shows her lack of self-worth and self-confidence after a former boyfriend had demoralized her. Happily, she is working on overcoming the negativity from that relationship, but the lying doesn’t seem to be something she deems needing to fix.

More than anything, what makes It Happened in Tuscany work for readers is the unlikely friendship between Will and Sophie. It’s such a contentious relationship, with a real push-pull of aggravating each other and clinging to each other through empathy and sympathy. Like Sophie, readers can’t bear the thought of Will being disappointed in his pursuit of finding love lost. We’re invested. We want love to find a way. For everyone.  

ABOUT THE NARRATION: Narrator Susan Fouche, did a good job in performing the voices from dramatic-American Sophie, to crotchety old Will, to the numerous male and female characters who speak English as a second language. The only uneven voicing was of Joe, an American with a sometimes-British accent and/or a flair for also having an Italian accent. So perhaps that was more a difficulty in giving the author’s description a voice. My Goldilocks tendencies did come out as I found the narration too slow at regular speed, but too fast at 1.25x. (Why oh why won’t Audible give us smaller increments like Authors Direct?)

I’ll be watching for other titles by Gail Mencini, and I’d have no hesitation to again read with my ears. But, the book ends with some of Sophie’s favorite recipes, which lends itself better to having the book in print because DROOL.

Thank you to iRead Book Tours and the author for providing me a free download code in exchange for my honest opinion -- the only kind I give. 


Enter the Giveaway:

GRAND PRIZE: Reader's choice of signed print, eBook or audio book of IT HAPPENED IN TUSCANY plus $50 Amazon Gift Card & a high-quality canvas bag; FIVE WINNERS: Reader's choice of signed print, eBook or audio book of IT HAPPENED IN TUSCANY.
(USA only; ends April 9, 2021)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Mar 8 – 
Working Mommy Journal – book review / giveaway
Mar 8 - Cover Lover Book Review – book review / author interview / giveaway
Mar 9 – She Just Loves Books – audiobook review / giveaway
Mar 10 – Laura's Interests – audiobook review / giveaway
Mar 11 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Mar 12 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
Mar 15 – I'm All About Books – book spotlight / giveaway
Mar 16 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review / giveaway
Mar 17 – Library of Clean Reads – book review / giveaway
Mar 18 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
Mar 19 - Rockin' Book Reviews – audiobook review / guest post / giveaway
Mar 19 - Hall Ways Blog - audiobook review / giveaway
Mar 22 – Book World Reviews – book review
Mar 23 – Splashes of Joy – audiobook review / author interview / giveaway
Mar 23 - Viviana MacKade – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Mar 24 – High Society Book Club & Review – book review / author interview / giveaway
Mar 24 - Celticlady's Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Mar 25 –Pass Me That Book – book review  
Mar 25 - Lisa Everyday Reads  - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Mar 26 – Deborah-Zenha Adams – book spotlight / guest post
Mar 26 - Books Lattes & Tiaras – book review / giveaway
Mar 29 – Sadie Spotlight – book spotlight / giveaway
Mar 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Mar 31 – Pick a Good Book – book review / guest post / giveaway
Apr 1 – michellemengsbookblog3 – book review / author interview / giveaway
Apr 1 - Books for Books – book spotlight
Apr 2 - Locks, Hooks and Books – audiobook review / giveaway


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