Italy -- fiction

Summer's Lease

By John Gielgud, Susan Fleetwood, Feodor Chaliapin Jr., Annette Crosbie, Gabrielle Anwar

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Molly Pargeter (Susan Fleetwood) has found the perfect Tuscan villa for her frazzled family's holiday. There's sightseeing to do, local color to enjoy, and the enigma of an art-loving absentee landlord to explore. Meanwhile, her outrageously extroverted and libidinous father Haverford Downs (John Gielgud in an Emmy-winning performance) has his sights set on a certain rich widow.

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The Sixteen Pleasures

By Robert Hellenga

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What a compelling title. I happened to pick this up casually and then noticed it was a book about a young librarian. A young librarian in Italy who has adventures? Could it be? Most definitely so for the "mud angel" Margot Harrington who leaves her drab existence in the Chicago area to volunteer in Florence following devasting flooding in 1966. Along the way she undertakes the clandestine sale of a rare volume of erotica to save a convent while involved in her own clandestine love affair.

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The Last Promise

By Richard Paul Evans

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"When Eliana, still called Ellen by her close friends back in America, moved to Italy the future was bright with promise. Tuscany held magic in its sprawling vineyards, great food, and centuries of art. It was a life of the senses, perfect for a blossoming, talented young artist such as Eliana. Her family and friends back home all thought she had made the right choice in following her heart, and the man she fell in love with and married, back to his native country. In America, Eliana's story was that of a fairy tale. But in Italy, in the small, rustic village nestled in the Chianti countryside, Eliana found her husband to be a very different man."

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Summer in Tuscany

By Elizabeth Adler

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Gemma Jericho is an overworked New York doctor with a handful of a teenaged daughter and a mother who worries that Gemma has no life. So when her mother receives a mysterious letter telling her about an even more mysterious inheritance in Tuscany, Gemma sees her chance: the three of them throw caution and convention to the wind and leave for Italy. Gemma hopes that a change of scenery will bring back the closeness she used to share with her daughter. And perhaps the challenges of living in a foreign country will give her mother something to worry about beyond Gemma's social life. But what they encounter there is far more distracting than Gemma expected: a crumbling old villa and a town divided. Half the residents believe that Ben Raphael, another American, is the rightful inheritor of the villa. As cultures clash, gossip soars, and intrigue unfolds, Gemma is caught up in the most disturbing and delicious trouble she's ever had.

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The Mermaid Garden

By Santa Montefiore

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Ten-year-old Floriana is captivated by the beauty of the magnificent Tuscan villa that overlooks the sea just outside her small village. She likes to spy from the crumbling wall into the gardens and imagine that one day she'll escape her meager existence and live there surrounded by its otherworldly splendor. Then one day Dante, the son of the villa's powerful industrialist owner, invites her inside and shows her the enchanting Mermaid Garden. From that moment, Floriana knows that the only destiny for her is there, in that garden, with Dante. But as they grow up and fall in love, their romance causes a crisis, jeopardizing the very thing they hold most dear.

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And Then You Die: An Aurelio Zen mystery

By Michael Dibdin

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Okay, maybe not how we want to spend our vacation, but it's still entertaining. Aurelio Zen of Rome's elite Criminalpol is back, but nobody's supposed to know it. Following a bomb attack on his car, Zen tries to relax at a beach resort on the Tuscan coast, waiting to testify in an anti-Mafia trial. Soon he must rely on his survival skills as people start dropping dead.

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Cosi Fan Tutte

By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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The setting is in 18th-century Naples. Two young suitors, Ferrando and Guglielmo, take up a wager with the older and wiser Don Alfonso that the moment they turn their backs, their sweethearts, the sisters Dorabella and Fiordiligi, will forget them and fall in love with the first person who comes along. To make sure that they can see this for themselves, he tells the two young men to disguise themselves as foreigners, who have heard of the beautiful sisters and to woo them--and so the fun begins.

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The Tears of the Salamander by Peter Dickinson

The Tears of the Salamander, by Peter Dickinson

Peter Dickinson’s The Tears of the Salamander begins with a simple gift and ends with a magical legacy. When his seldom-seen, rich Uncle Giorgio gives young Alfredo a strange present on his name day, his parents aren’t sure they want him to have it. The golden chain doesn’t have the expected cross on it—from it dangles the golden image of a strange animal—a little lizard with splayed feet and other peculiar features. Alfredo’s older brother is very jealous. He sees nothing special in Alfredo. Sure, he can sing like an angel, but that’s not much use to a baker’s boy, is it?

The local priests see Alfredo’s gift differently. They want him in their boys’ choir, and he is happy to be there for he loves to sing—but he also loves baking and hopes to follow his father into the trade. When catastrophe strikes leaving Alfredo alone and friendless, the priests urge him to join the choir permanently, and he would have done so even though it would have meant giving up a normal life. But just at the crucial moment, his Uncle Giorgio comes to take him away to reclaim his birthright—the birthright his father refused by choosing instead to become a simple village baker.

The Shape of Water

By Andrea Camilleri

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The discreet lives of Vigata's drug dealers and prostitutes are disrupted when the body of a well known engineer is found. Although the cause of death is ruled as natural causes, Inspector Salvo Montalbano will pick his way through a labyrinth of high comedy corruption, delicious meals, vendetta firepower, and carefully planted false clues to get to the heart of the matter.
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Street of the Five Moons

By Elizabeth Peters

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"Art historian Vicky Bliss may be blond and beautiful, but looks can be deceiving. She also has the brain of an Einstein, the reckless courage of a test pilot--and no one's more savvy about fine works of art. For example: the gold pendant her boss at Munich's National Museum is currently dangling in front of her. It's an exquisite replica of a Charlemagne talisman--and it was found, along with a note written in hieroglyphs, sewn into the suit pocket of an unidentified man lying dead in an alley. 

"There's a murderous puzzle to unravel-and Vicky will start by hunting down the master craftsperson who created the magnificent piece, even if the search carries her to the ends of the Earth. Instead, it's pointing her toward Rome, the most romantic city in the world. But it's also pulling her into a treacherous game of intrigue where the stakes could not be higher: Vicky's life!"

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