A trio of second-born daughters set out to break the family curse that says they’ll never find love on a whirlwind journey through the lush Italian countryside by New York Times bestseller Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List.
Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than two hundred years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily-single baker at her grandfather’s Brooklyn deli, claim it’s an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it’s a true hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she’ll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her eightieth birthday, and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.
Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed—secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse.
"A delicious modern fairytale...Bella!"
“A gorgeous blend of family, friendship, and love.”
“A glorious journey through Italy, and the heart...Filled with humor and wisdom, this is a celebration of life, and love.”
"There's magic within the pages of Lori Nelson Spielman's charming The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany."
"Mysterious family lore, a heartrending love story, and luminous descriptions of Italy all add up to an utterly captivating read!"
“Long-simmering resentments and buried secrets permeate The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany, a romantic, beautifully rendered, sweepingly complex family saga.”―
Q & A with Lori ~
Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.
Hi Jill. Thanks so much for having me here today!
I’ve always loved writing, but never really dreamed I’d be a published author. I came from a working-class family, and I’d never met a single author. When I went off to college, my mom suggested I become a teacher or a nurse, both good choices for a working wife and mother. I chose teaching, which I loved. But around the time I turned forty, I started writing a YA book. I signed up for a writing class at a local community college. And suddenly, I’d found my passion. Four books and ten years later, I finally sold my first book, The Life List.
What are some things you enjoy when not writing?
I love music and being out in nature. I love to travel, read, and sail.
Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?
I wrote The Life List while working full-time, but have since retired from my teaching job. Strangely, I almost feel like I was a more productive writer while I was working!
Where do you get your ideas?
I’ve always had an active imagination and was a daydreamer from the get-go. When I see people at random, I often imagine what their lives might be. I prefer to listen rather than talk, and often find inspiration in other people’s lives. I guess the warning is, be careful what you say when you talk to me—it could end up in a book!
Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?
Every author inspires me, but in particular, Lolly Winston. I was listening to her audiobook, Good Grief, back in 2004. She wrote in first person, present tense, and I thought to myself, ‘I want to write like this!’. A few years ago, I wrote to Lolly, but I’m not sure she received my message. I wanted her to know what an influence she was on my writing.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (or this book?)
As I mentioned, I’d written three other full-length novels that received nothing but rejection. It’s so hard to get back in the chair and begin again…and again…and again. Each time I received an agent’s rejection letter, I’d say, “Not this one.” Finally, after a thorough but unsuccessful search, I’d lovingly put my manuscript aside and say, “Not this one.” Soon thereafter, after licking my wounds, I’d get back to work.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a new women’s fiction novel set in northern Michigan, about a down-on-her-luck woman who befriends a runaway girl.
What was the most unique research you had to do for a book?
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany is set in Italy, so of course, I HAD to travel to Venice, and Tuscany, and The Amalfi Coast. I felt I owed it to my readers! I HAD to eat lots of pasta, and drink my fill of local vino, all in the name of research. I’m beginning to think I should set every book in an exotic locale, just for the research experience! J
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
I have a section on my website devoted to writers. My best piece of advice is often the opposite of what most writers receive. I don’t say, “Never give up.” I say, give your book a fair shot. Get impartial critiques. Revise, revise, revise! Send it out to agents, far and wide. But at some point, if you’re only receiving rejection letters, set the project aside and start a new book. Like any endeavor, it takes years of practice. You will be amazed at how much you’ll improve with each book.
What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?
I said if I ever got published, I would never complain. Writing is a joy. Hearing from readers is thrilling. But…I’m really uncomfortable self-promoting, and it’s absolutely expected. I believe it was James Cagney who said, “They pay me for the waiting. I throw in the acting for free.” In my case, they pay me for the promoting, I throw in the writing for free!
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for welcoming my stories into your lives and onto your bookshelves. You have no idea how much I appreciate you!
And thank YOU, dear Jill. You are a gifted author, a champion of books, and bright light in this world!
To connect with Lori ~