Tonia Parronchi is one of the most generous hearted and lovely people I've come across, and her writing really reflects her sunny, warm nature. As an English woman married to an Italian, she has a lot of experience in dealing with the differences between English and Italian culture, and her blog is always an interesting read. She often writes about these cultural challenges and I am always intrigued by features of Italian life that I had no idea about before. Just for example, did you know the Italians were so conscious about wearing the right clothes for the time of year? No? Well, I didn't either. Apparently it's absolutely not done to wear shorts in spring even if it is blisteringly hot! No, no, you keep your cool weather clothes on until it is officially summer! And the same goes for all the other seasons. Fascinating!
I've read both of Tonia's published books: The Song of the Cypress, her novel, is a lovely lyrical book full of the romance of Tuscany and steeped in local lore and legend too. It also happens to be a love story too and the setting just adds to the dreamy quality of the story. I'm not a great reader of romance novels, but her beautiful writing and descriptions make it much more than that. I loved it.
In a more light hearted, but equally Italian vein, is her marvellous memoir, A Whisper on The Mediterranean, published by Sunpenny Publishing. It describes how Tonia allows her adventurous (and very charming) husband to persuade her to go sailing for an entire summer complete with a baby still in nappies. How she survived and with so much humour still astonishes me. They experienced horrendous freak storms, dreadful seasickness and numerous nail-biting adventures on the beautiful but unpredictable Mediterranean. On the other side of the coin, they travelled to the most stunning islands and basked in the bliss of a unique kind of freedom. The book is also full of yummy Italian recipes, so you get two for the price of one!
Whisper on the Mediterranean is available on Kindle this week and for two weeks for 99p at the UK store and something just over a dollar at Amazon.com. I can highly recommend it, and then of course her gorgeous novel too!