The Tuscan Contessa – Dinah Jefferies
The Tuscan Contessa
Penguin Books ed.
Several months ago we had the pleasure to have with us in Gargonza the writer Dinah Jefferies. Dinah was with us a few days and found inspiration within the walls of the of Gargonza for her last novel, The Tuscan Contessa; no wonder the name perhaps! The setting is in Tuscany of course during the last two years of war in Italy, starting in 1944. In the splendid estate of Countess Sofia de ‘Corsi, peace among the olive trees is interrupted by the arrival of Nazi soldiers. The ancient medieval palace in the heart of the lush Tuscan countryside is no longer a safe heaven; the people who live in the houses of these small villages become the object of the harassment of the German soldiers. Sofia desperately tries to offer protection to as many people as possible, without however revealing it to her husband Lorenzo, who is worried about the retaliation that his wife’s altruism could unleash. When Maxine, a young Italian American reporter, arrives in Italy with the intention of recounting the exploits of the Allies, the fates of the two women are intertwined: Sofia and Maxine find themselves trapped in a dangerous game in order to save those whom they love …
Dinah has reserved a few lines to thank us. As only a few sensible writers know, in a few sentences she summarized the essence of Gargonza, the authenticity of its walls and its people. We are infinitely grateful for her kind words of appreciation.