by Kate Bristow
GENRE: Historical Fiction
BLURB: Is a painting worth dying for?
Inspired by real events, an unforgettable story of love, courage and sacrifice to save a country’s heritage.
Italy 1943. As the Allies bomb Milan, Elena Marchetti reluctantly gives up her coveted job as an art curator in the city to return to her family farm near Urbino. She takes up a new role assisting Pasquale Rotondi, the Superintendent of Arts in the region, in protecting works of art from all over Italy that have been hidden in the relative safety of the countryside.
At a family celebration, Elena reunites with Luca, a close childhood friend. A shattering event instigated by the occupying Germans deepens their relationship, and they start planning a life together. When rumors surface that Italy’s art is being stolen by the German occupiers, Pasquale hatches an audacious plan to rescue the priceless paintings in his possession. Elena and Luca are forced to make an impossible decision: will they embark on a dangerous mission to save Italy’s cultural heritage?
Marco looked beyond his home to a small wood that stretched out from the rear of the property down to the narrow white road snaking through the valley toward the distant hilltop town of Peglio. His home was called Ca’Boschetto (House of the Copse) because of these trees, and Marco knew it would soon be time for his father and uncle to gather their friends and bloodhounds for the annual truffle hunt. Their small wood was known far and wide as a fruitful location for the illusive and highly sought-after fungi, and the truffle hunt was one of the highlights of the season.
Beyond the wood, a patchwork of fields that had been parched brown after the harvest in the heat of August was beginning to turn into shades of green from recent rain. Marco spotted a couple of deer making the most of the fresh grass. Something else caught his eye as it glinted in the distance. Marco lifted his hands to his brow to deflect the glare of the autumnal sun. Whatever was flashing in the sunlight was moving toward their farm. The ox-drawn carts that often made this journey on the back road couldn’t move that quickly. He squinted. Something was not right.
“Luca! Luca! I can see a car coming. Look at the road!”
His older brother turned away from the flock and walked over to where Marco was standing. Luca stared at the distant vehicle for a minute and his face darkened. “Marco, Gianni, run down to the house and tell Papà that there might be Germans coming. Move!”
A Word With the Author
1.Did you always want to be an author?
For as long as I can remember I have been writing stories. I had a library card from the age of four and quickly got through all the children’s books I wanted to read in that small section of the library. My mother had to plead with the rather strict librarians to allow me to borrow books from the adult section. My parents always encouraged me to borrow any books that appealed to me, regardless of subject matter. Reading Lord of The Rings changed everything. I desperately wanted to be able to create worlds and characters that people would fall in love with but I simply wasn’t convinced that I had sufficient talent to make writing my career. Throughout my decades working in advertising, I would start writing a novel, complete four or five chapters, and then abandon the idea. I have piles of unfinished novels in various notebooks and Word documents! But during the pandemic I finally committed myself to finishing a book. Now that it is published, I feel I am entitled to call myself an author. My childhood self would be very happy.
2.Tell us about the publication of your first book.
It has been a journey. I naively thought that publishing a book was all about the writing. I had to learn about all the steps that go into launching a successful novel: the rounds of writing and rewriting, the rounds of editing, the feedback from beta readers, the proofreading and formatting and creating the book cover . . . and when the book is finally ready to be introduced to the world, you need to go out and tell people about it. Thank you for being one of the people that can help me do just that!
3.Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre you write in?
I adore Angela Petch’s Italian novels. Her research is impeccable and her books bring little known stories to light. I read her first novel ‘The Tuscan Secret’ years ago and became a huge fan. I was fortunate enough to meet Angela earlier this year and I am happy to say that we have become friends. She is not only a terrific writer but a lovely human being as well.
4.What's the best part of being an author? The worst?
The best part is being able to create a fully realized world and the people who live within it. My characters became real people to me—I think about them all the time and even dream about them sometimes. The worst part is having to constantly read and reread your work to ensure that you have not made any errors. You read your story so many times that it becomes difficult to maintain your enthusiasm for it. Now that it is out in the world, I can enjoy it once again.
5.What are you working on now?
Urbino, the stunning Renaissance city where much of my debut novel is set, is an incredible place with a storied history. Yet many people outside Italy do not even know that it exists. So I am keen to write more novels based in that part of the world. I am currently working on a story about Nicola da Urbino, a celebrated ceramicist who lived there in the 16th century. So I am buried in research about that time period at the moment.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Kate Bristow was born in London. She fell in love with reading when she got her first library card at the age of four. Her first attempt at writing and publishing for a wide audience was a local newspaper typed laboriously at home on her mother’s typewriter while at primary (elementary) school in north London. It is surely a loss to cutting-edge journalism that only one issue was ever produced. Kate divides her time between her small-but-perfectly-formed modern home in Los Angeles and her five-hundred-year-old farmhouse just outside Sassocorvaro in Italy.
Universal Buy Link: https://1link.st/katebristow
Kate Bristow will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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