Category: Contemporary, Romance, History, Book Review
An explosive yearning that can’t be denied
Disturbing visions from an ancient past
A mysterious stranger that somehow feels familiar
On the night of her fiftieth birthday, the comfortable ride of Toscana’s life takes an alarming plunge. Haunted by seductive visions, she tries to push aside the desire and focus on the husband who adores her.
Toscana Blake has an organised, if not perfect, life. She’s content in her marriage to Jackson. Acknowledging the fact it may not be a passionate union, Toscana feels a deep affection for her husband and appreciates the life they have.
The only stumbling block is the future of Dolcielo, her bakery business. Much is riding on her visit to the Chocolate Festival in Rome and whether it can open doors for her and her delicious sounding chocolate brownies. Regardless of that, she’s looking forward to seeing her much loved aunt and uncle.
Before the trip though, she and Jackson celebrate her fiftieth birthday at a favourite Italian restaurant. That night Toscana has a disturbing and vivid dream of an unknown lover. Then at the last moment Jackson is unable to make the trip to Rome due to work related issues, so after some deliberation and urging from Jackson and her best friend, Toscana decides to go alone.
Jackson cups my face. “I love you. Have a great time.”
Unease taps at my neck and shoulders. I shrug it off. “I love you too.” We kiss and hug and I hold on for a long time. At last I let go and grab the handle of my suitcase. Jackson waves as he gets in the car, then I wave as he pulls away. And I’m on my own.
Travelling to Italy.
While wandering through the streets, after checking into her hotel and having a restorative nap, Toscana stops to look at the ruins of the Temple of Vesta. It’s there that the visions start in earnest.
A chance meeting sets Toscana on a path of discovery. Her ordered life is thrown into chaos and uncertainty. Toscana’s struggle between following her head or heart was realistically portrayed—it’s a choice between staying with the familiar and comfortable or taking a leap of faith into the unknown.
The fascinating historical details and wonderful descriptions of a past and present Rome (not to mention the food—lots of it!) conjure vivid imagery and a strong sense of culture and place, added to by the picturesque representation of the Italian countryside. I enjoyed the themes of reincarnation and spirituality and how they were the foundation and heart of the story. The past life flashbacks and present were woven together as Toscana finds herself on an unexpectedly challenging journey, one of serious consideration, possibilities and potential.
I didn’t realise until after I’d read it that this is a sequel, but it can easily be read as a stand alone.
I chose to read and review Bella Toscana for Rosie Amber’s book review team, based on a digital copy kindly supplied the author.
Nanette Littlestone never knew she wanted to be a writer until she was over 40. But once she began, the ideas didn’t stop. Her fascination with relationships, history, and the spiritual path has opened her writing to women’s fiction, historical fiction, and inspirational nonfiction.
A native Californian, Nanette lives in Atlanta, GA, far from the beach (which she loves) but a place that’s warm with spectacular scenery. On the professional side, she helps entrepreneurial women write and get published, inspiring people all around the world with the authors’ messages. On the fun side, she takes walks with her husband, cooks, plays with graphic design, and makes origami butterflies. She loves to travel, but she’s waiting for the teleportation machine to whisk her off to Greece or Asia. In the meantime, she’s happy with dark chocolate and romantic movies that make her cry.