Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Book Review: The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman

Pages: 400
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: November 17, 2020
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."


The Fontana family believes in curses, especially when it comes to their family.  The second-born daughters in the family are cursed; love never works out for them.  Emilia and her older sister don't believe in their family's curse though that is until they looked at a family tree.  To their horror,  every second born daughter remained unmarried dating back 200 years.  Could there actually be some truth to this curse? Even their cousin, Lucy, a second born daughter, can't keep a boyfriend around.  Emilia doesn't care though...at least she thinks it doesn't bother her.  She enjoys her life working at her family's bakery in Brooklyn.  Lucy lives in an apartment within her family's home, which means her Nonna still keeps an eye out for her.  When Great Aunt Poppy tries to communicate with Emilia, her Nonna refuses it. But why?  This means much more to Emilia then some old family grudge as her Great Aunt Poppy loves to talk about Emilia's deceased mother. In fact, she is the only one in the family who is comfortable enough to do so!  Great Aunt Poppy continues to contact Emilia and even invites her and Lucy to an all-expense paid trip to Italy to celebrate her 80th birthday. Great Aunt Poppy even says there is a way they can break the family curse.  Emilia and Lucy wonder if this is even possible, but either way how can they refuse a paid trip to Italy? While on their trip to Italy, Emilia learns more about her family, the truth about the family curse, more about her mother and in turn, she learns more about herself.  If you love Under the Tuscan Sun and Adriana Trigiani's books, you will especially appreciate Lori Nelson Spielman's The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany. I loved my escape to beautiful Italy and all the family secrets it held for the Fontana family.

Speilman does a wonderful job bringing the Fontana family to life. There's many flashbacks to Italy before the family immigrated that really tied the story together.  I loved the multi-generational aspect of The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany and especially the scenes that gave us glimpses into Emilia's grandmother and Poppy's life in Italy.  Spielman brings us readers back to present day, but is able to tie the time periods together well not only through their common ancestry, but also through family secrets and of course, the ominous curse. I was rooting for Emilia from the beginning and desperately wanted her to take this trip regardless of how angry her grandmother would be.  

Also, The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany is the perfect book for those of us who miss traveling and would love an Italian escape. I first read this book during quarantine and it was the exactly what I needed.  Spielman brings to life Italy beautifully and captures Italian culture very well.  The descriptions of Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast had me swooning.

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany is about family secrets, love, and truly living your life. There are aspects to the story that reminded me of a modern fairy tale and since this year has been one disappointment after another, I truly appreciated the heartfelt escape.  

So, are you a fan of stories set in Italy? Do you enjoy family sagas? Is The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany on your TBR list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 


  1. Oh, my goodness, how I would love to go to Italy right now!

    1. Me too. I loved armchair traveling! *sigh* Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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