Wednesday, May 06, 2020

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman

Just a quick note: I received an ARC of The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany and it has an April, 2020 release date printed on the cover (the reason I just read it in late April). I noticed the release date listed at Goodreads is November of 2020. So, I looked at Amazon and, sure enough, the release date is now November. I presume this is pandemic-related. It would be crazy to wait till November to review it, though, and it can be pre-ordered if you're interested so . . . I'm going to go ahead and review. 

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman is about a family curse. Hundreds of years ago, a young lady in the Fontana family saw her sister kissing her beloved and cursed all second-born sisters in her family to never find love. Since then, not a single second-born female has married and some have met tragic ends when they found love.

Now, Emilia has been offered a chance to break the curse. Emilia leads a quiet life, working as the baker in her family's New York deli with her father, sister, and grandmother (nonna). She wears glasses and plain clothing, pulls her hair back in a ponytail, and doesn't even bother trying to find men to date since a tragedy in her college years convinced her the curse is real.

When her great aunt Poppy invites her on a trip to Italy, Emilia is tempted but her nonna is adamant that Aunt Poppy is evil and Emilia is to have nothing to do with her. Poppy says she is going to meet the love of her life on the steps of Ravello Cathedral on her 80th birthday and the curse will be broken. After hearing Poppy's claim that the second-daughter curse will be lifted, Emilia decides to go. Her cousin Lucy, another second daughter, accompanies them. Lucy is Emilia's opposite, the kind of girl who is trying way too hard to find love and failing. But, she's willing to go for the sake of having the curse lifted, as well. It will be fun. Poppy is spirited and upbeat, unlike her dour nonna.

Did Aunt Poppy really fall in love over 50 years ago? What happened and why didn't Poppy and her lifelong love marry? Will Poppy's true love show up at the cathedral or is Aunt Poppy hanging onto false hope? Is it really possible to break the curse or did Poppy just want company on her last trip to Italy? Will Emilia and Lucy ever find love or is the curse real? And, will the two women learn that their belief in the curse has kept them from being their true selves?

So many questions.

Highly recommended - Oh, my goodness, I loved this book. I closed it feeling like I'd spent a week or two in Italy and if not for the pandemic, I'd be ready to hop on a plane. The story goes back and forth between Poppy's tale of how she met the love of her life and they were separated to present day New York and Italy and there are lots of surprises. I loved it that I would think "this is going to happen" and then, nope, plot twist. I love a good road trip type of book (not really road trip but journey, I guess) and found that I couldn't wait to sink into The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany, each night, while I was reading it. I put it in the "great beach reading material" category because it is such a fun, escapist read, knowing the beach or other vacations may not be an option for any of us, this year. It's great for when you want to travel mentally, whether you can do so physically or not.

My thanks to Berkley Books for the review copy. I absolutely loved this story!

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. Anything that is going to make me feel like I'm escaping the pandemic, gets my vote! Sounds delightful and what a pretty cover too right? Thanks for the review.

    1. That's exactly how I feel, Iliana. And, I really did feel like I escaped, every time I opened that book. The cover is beautiful! One of my favorites I've seen, this year.

  2. You've convinced me that this is one that I need to read!


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