International bestselling author Lori Nelson Spielman returns with her third book, The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany, a contemporary fiction set in the Italian countryside. Through beautiful prose, Lori Nelson Spielman immerses readers in the alluring setting of an even more captivating story.
In the Fontana family, second daughters have never experienced lasting love, ever since a jealous Filomena Fontana cursed her younger sister for supposedly stealing her boyfriend. Over two hundred years later, the legacy of the Fontana Second-Daughter curse has traversed oceans from Trespiano, Italy to loom over twenty-nine year old Emilia Fontana in present-day Brooklyn. Em spends her days baking at the family deli under the watchful eye of her Nonna, and her nights crafting stories in her journal. She spends time with her best friend Matt, has an apartment on the floor above her grandmother, and helps her older sister Daria with her kids. And though she isn’t sure whether the fate of Fontana second daughters is a curse or coincidence, Emilia opts for safety over risk.
That is, until her estranged Great Aunt Poppy determines to take Emilia and her cousin Lucy to join her on an all-expenses paid trip to Italy for her eightieth birthday. Under Aunt Poppy’s promise that by reuniting with the love of her life on her eightieth birthday the Fontana second daughter curse will be broken, Emilia and Lucy are convinced to join her. The trio of vastly different Fontana second-daughters—eccentric Aunt Poppy, outgoing cousin Lucy, and obedient Emilia—embark on a journey that changes their lives.
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany is all that it promises its readers and more. Lori Nelson Spielman’s beautifully descriptive writing draws together themes of sisterhood, self-discovery, and love. But Nelson Spielman’s writing in describing the charming Italian setting is not the only appealing aspect of the story.
The character development is explored not only through the protagonist Emilia’s evolution from a pushover to someone who is comfortable in her own skin, but through the other Fontana women’s growth throughout the story as well. The characters themselves are complex, and more surprises continue to unravel with the progression of the story. Nelson Spielman does not limit the lore of the Fontana curse to its impact on the second daughters, but examines the resulting consequences on strained relationships between the Fontanas as a whole—generationally, as well as between the first and second daughters.
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany is an emotional rollercoaster of a book. Nelson Spielman masterfully tells the story of the Fontana women in a way that makes readers invested in her characters. A story that evokes both tears and laughter, I wouldn’t necessarily consider The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany a lighthearted read. But there is a sincerity at its center that has me adding Lori Nelson Spielman’s other books to my to-read list, and recommending that you add The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany to your list as well.