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Antonia and Her Daughters: Secrets, Love, Friendship and Family in Tuscany

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Overview

The next volume of memoir from the author of the international bestseller A Thousand Days in Venice introduces the extraordinary Antonia, imperious matriach of four generations of strong-willed Tuscan women

The renovations to 34 via del Duomo now complete, Marlena de Blasi, the bestselling international author and "the woman with the fairy-tale life" needs to find time and space to finish a book. Lured by the offer of a simple stone cottage in the remote, mountainous region of ...

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Antonia and Her Daughters: Secrets, Love, Friendship and Family in Tuscany

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Overview

The next volume of memoir from the author of the international bestseller A Thousand Days in Venice introduces the extraordinary Antonia, imperious matriach of four generations of strong-willed Tuscan women

The renovations to 34 via del Duomo now complete, Marlena de Blasi, the bestselling international author and "the woman with the fairy-tale life" needs to find time and space to finish a book. Lured by the offer of a simple stone cottage in the remote, mountainous region of western Tuscany, distant from the distractions of her everyday life with Fernando in Orvieto, she sets off for some much-needed solitude. But her plans to live simply, in peace and quiet, are overturned when she meets the imperious, tempestuous Antonia, the still-stunning, elderly matriarch of a large, complicated family of four generations of beautiful blue-eyed Italian women, all with stories and ideas of their own. Antonia dislikes tourists and outsiders, and so Marlena at first spars and clashes with her, before they reach an understanding. Over feasts and family dinners, walking in the dark before sunrise to harvest wild lettuces, preparing meals and exchanging recipes, the two women joust, joke, exchange confidences, and grow closer and closer until finally Antonia reveals the terrible secrets behind the vivid beauty of Il Castelleto. Evocative, powerful, and haunting, this is a compelling insight into Italy's recent past and a revealing glimpse into one extraordinary woman's story and her kitchen.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An irresistible grown-up love story."  —USA Today on A Thousand Days in Venice

"The great Marlena de Blasi writes fairy tales for grown-ups."  —Adriana Trigiani, author, Big Stone Gap

"De Blasi’s liquid prose will draw readers into this testament to love, loss, friendship, and, ultimately survival." — Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781742374079
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin Pty., Limited
  • Publication date: 9/1/2012
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 700,350
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 7.20 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Marlena de Blasi
Marlena de Blasi is the bestselling author of That Summer in Sicily, A Thousand Days in Venice, Tuscan Secrets, An Umbrian Love Story, and a novel, Amandine. She has been a chef, a journalist, a food and wine consultant, and a restaurant critic. She is also the author of two internationally published cookbooks of Italian food.

Good To Know

In our exclusive interview with de Blasi, she shared some fascinating insights about her background, her inspirations, and her life in Italy.

"Everything is inspiration to write. A writer never stops writing, even if it's in his head or on paper napkins. I've been desperate enough to scratch half phrases on my bedsheets, not finding paper and fearing to lose a thought should I get up to look for such."

"I don't think writers can be raised up in a creative writing class. I think it's a bold, bad lie to convince someone he should -- or can -- be taught to write. I think writers' groups can sometimes be helpful, but I'm mostly wary even of them. Writing is a private, solo, isolating, and very lonely job. But if you're a writer, it's all you ever want to do."

"[My first job] was as a radio voice and TV voice and face. My best contracts were with Peugeot -- (‘the best-kept automotive secret in America -- Peugeot') -- and Coty perfumes -- (‘if you want to capture someone's attention, whisper') and other sort of soft-sell products."

"I taught cooking on a PBS channel for a few years. I was very passionate about this opportunity and wanted the audience to not just learn formula, but to be inspired by the beauty and sensuality of the raw food itself. My first show was live. And not understanding my gaffe until the producer explained it to me, I opened by holding up a single, great, and splendid leek. Camera in for a close-up. I smiled my TV model smile and said: ‘First, you take a leek.' I know someone has since written a book with that title, but I can assure you my traffic with those words came long before it."

"Since I live in a 14th-century palazzo on the via del Duomo in an Umbrian hill town, there's not such a great deal from which to unwind. Our life is simple and full of rituals such as sidling up to the bar in our favorite caffè -- Montanucci -- at least four times a day for cappuccini, aperitivi, pastry, chocolate, and sympathy; I write very early in the morning for a few hours, and then at about nine we go to the morning markets, shop for lunch, sit in the caffè and talk to our friends, come home to cook and put our bread in the oven. We sit down to lunch at one, get up from the table at about two-thirty or three, nap for an hour. I write until about seven-thirty, when we take the passeggiata -- the evening stroll -- the moment when the whole town is out and about. We pick up a few things for supper, take an aperitivo with our friends, head back home, where we'll dine at about nine-thirty, or go out to dine at one of the typical, tiny osterie for which Orvieto is famous."

"How wonderful you ask about dislikes, though I'm not certain this sits in that category or in the one labeled ‘things that hurt.' But I find readers who judge style -- my style -- tiresome, presumptuous, often using the critical forum to air barely disguised ‘issues' of their own. And is there some glint of jealousy in their criticism? I'm not sure. That I see and feel life in a certain way and then write about it in my own voice, well, that belongs to me. Also I think it's that I find sarcasm, in all its tortured forms, to be simply naked insecurity. It's grand whenever a person states their sentiments. Better, if done so with a fine set of civil manners."

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    1. Hometown:
      Orvieto, a hilltown in Umbria
    1. Education:
      B.A., State University of New York at Albany; graduate studies in political science, New York University

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 30, 2013

    Having read four of de Blasi's previous works on Tuscany, I eage

    Having read four of de Blasi's previous works on Tuscany, I eagerly jumped on this book. Her writing is always lush with descriptions of the countryside, the people, the culture. When she talks about food and cooking, you just salivate (recipes are always included). Antonia and Her Daughters includes this stuff but the bulk of the book is about Antonia. It was a disappointment and doesn't come close to her others. The story drags on and many times, I almost quit reading but I continued as I wanted to see what happened and how the book would end. Much of what is written is repetitious concerning Tuscany, the food, etc., so there's much padding (filler).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2012

    My favorite author

    Another beautifully written gem.

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