Escape to the Italian countryside in this hopeful family drama about love, a curse, and second chances.
Good to know
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 Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany
Many years ago, in Trespiano, Italy, Filomena Fontana, a plain, bitter girl whose younger sister was blessed with beauty, cursed all second-born Fontana daughters to a life without love. Filomena resented her sister, Maria, from the first time she cast eyes on her, sweetly cradled in their mother’s arms.
And her childhood jealousy only festered as the two blossomed into teens. Filomena’s sweetheart, Cosimo, a young man with a wandering eye, took a shine to the younger Maria. Though Maria tried to ward off Cosimo’s unwanted advances, Cosimo persisted. Filomena warned Maria, “If you steal my Cosimo, you will be forever cursed, along with all second-born daughters.”
Not long afterward, while Cosimo was picnicking with the Fontana family, Cosimo trapped Maria down by the river, where he thought they wouldn’t be seen. He grabbed Maria, forcing a kiss from her. Before Maria could shove Cosimo away, Filomena arrived. Seeing only the kiss, Filomena became incensed. She grabbed a river rock and threw it at her sister. It struck Maria in the eye. She lost her sight in that eye, which forever drooped. Maria was no longer a beauty, and she never married.
Some say it’s a coincidence. Others insist it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. But no one can dispute the facts. Since the day Filomena issued the curse, more than two hundred years ago, not a single second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love.
Why I love it
Author, The Night Tiger
One of my favorite ways to travel is through a book, and during these odd pandemic times, this has been more of a comfort than ever before. I curled up with The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany on a sunny afternoon, and polished it off in one gloriously indulgent sitting. Many hours later, in the midst of squabbling children and Legos strewn about the floors, I found myself still sighing over Emilia’s sun-kissed journey to Tuscany and the family secrets that she unearths.
The second daughters of the Fontana family are afflicted with a curse to never find love—in order to break it, Emilia embarks on a quest with her great aunt Poppy and cousin Lucy to fulfill an old promise. Their path forward requires that they deal with the complexities of family, betrayals, and the tensions that they have long endured. Yet the lies and darkness of the human heart are met with grace and forgiveness, which gives The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany a tender edge.
Long after I closed the book, Emilia’s warm and heartfelt travels lingered with me, not only as a dream of the canals of Venice (which I now promise myself I will one day visit!), but as a journey of love and redemption: a wisely humorous reminder of brighter days, hopefully for all of us to come.
Member ratings (19,092)
A beautiful story, with wonderful and well-thought out characters whose stories i followed so closely. This book was already a game changer for me — and then i read the author’s note at the end. ❣️❣️
Drew me in right away. A trio of second born daughters travel to Tuscany to solve family curse: no second daughters find love. Heartwarming, comedic and a few sad moments but what a fun journey! ❤️❤️
Baton Rouge, LA
I will never find the words to articulate how I felt about this. To say I “loved” it will not suffice. It’s extremely rare that a book makes me cry from happiness, but it accomplished that many times.
Fort Howard, MD
Love isn’t strong enough to describe how I feel about this book. you’ll experience EVERY single emotion while reading it! Truly one of the most amazing books I’ve read this year. Left with a hangover!
Absolutely adored this book! So wish that I could have had a wise, eclectic, and “knowing” Aunt Poppy. True love, betrayal, family dynamics and gorgeous Italian cities made this book hard to put down!