Tuscan Rose (Alexandra)

Tuscan Rose 
Belinda Alexandra, 2010 (2013, U.S. ed.)
Gallery Books
592 pp.
ISBN-13: 9781451679076

A magical, richly woven World War II–era saga filled with passion, secrets, beauty, and horror.

Florence, 1914—
A mysterious stranger known as The Wolf leaves an infant with the sisters of Santo Spirito. A tiny silver key hidden in her wrappings is the one clue to the child’s identity. . . .

Fifteen years later—
Young Rosa must leave the nuns, her only family, and become governess to the daughter of an aristocrat and his strange, frightening wife. Their house is elegant but cursed, and Rosa—blessed with gifts beyond her considerable musical talents—is torn between her desire to know the truth and her fear of its repercussions.

All the while, the hand of Fascism curls around beautiful Italy, and no citizen is safe. Rosa faces unimaginable hardship: her only weapons her intelligence, intuition, and determination...and her extraordinary capacity for love. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Belinda Alexandra has been published to wide acclaim in Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Holland, Poland, Norway, and Spain.Sh e is the daughter of a Russian mother and Australian father and has been an intrepid traveller since her youth.

Her love of other cultures and languages is matched by her passion for her home country, Australia, where she is a volunteer rescuer and caregiver for the NSW Wildlife Information and Rescue Service. (From the publisher.)

Visit the author's website.

Book Reviews
In the tradition of The Thorn Birds and Corelli’s Mandolin, Tuscan Rose is a sweeping story, taking Rosa from musician, to antique dealer, to nurse, to revolutionary, all the while maintaining her indomitable and loving spirit. There is plenty of intrigue, emotion, and bravery, and a few scenes that will remain with the reader for some time. —Elizabeth Dickie

Discussion Questions
1. Rosa forms several surrogate families in the absence of a biological one. Do these groups help her find peace with the mystery of her past?

2. Rosa is faced with many impossible choices under Mussolini and during the war. Would you have chosen as she does?

3. Would you be able to fight—and risk your life—for the greater good as Luciano does? Or would you focus on the survival of those closest to you?

4. Rosa’s musical talent takes a back seat to her struggle—and Italy’s struggle—over the years before and during the war. Can you see her finding a way back to performing?

5. How do you respond to Rosa’s ability to "read" the past of objects? Do you think such an ability would be more blessing or burden?

6. Tuscan Rose is divided into parts that could be said to function in the same way as the movements of a piece of music. How else does music color Belinda Alexandra’s writing?
(Questions from the author's website.)

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