Wednesday, November 25, 2020

"The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany"

Lori Nelson Spielman is a former speech pathologist, guidance counselor, and teacher of homebound students. She enjoys fitness running, traveling, and reading, though writing is her true passion. Her first novel, The Life List, has been published in thirty countries and optioned by Fox 2000. Her second novel, Sweet Forgiveness, was also an international bestseller. She lives in Michigan with her husband and their very spoiled puppy.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her third book, The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany, and reported the following:
On page 69 of The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany, the entire Fontana Family is gathered in Nonna Rosa’s dining room for Sunday dinner. An anxious Emilia announces that she and her cousin Lucy are going to Italy.
Heads turn. Confused looks are exchanged. Slowly, my family find their voices.

“Why is she going to Italy?”

“Is it safe?”

“Not for a young woman.”

“Europe is teeming with crime these days.”

“Yes,” Aunt Carol agrees. “Terrorists.”

"And gypsies. They’d steal the blood from your veins if you let them.”
The situation is made worse when Lucy confesses that they’ll be traveling with Aunt Poppy, the black sheep of the family.
A silence takes over the room, so profound you could hear dust drop. I run a finger over my scar. Finally, Nonna’s chair scrapes against the wood floor.

Wordlessly, she rises. Gripping her espresso cup, she moves into the living room, as if she hasn’t heard a word I’ve said.
I’d say the Page 69 test works fairly well in the case of The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany. It’s a story about a 200-year-old curse on second-born Fontana women, dooming them to lives without true love. Two cousins, Emilia and Lucy, resign themselves to never finding lasting romance, that is, until their estranged great aunt invites them to Italy, vowing that the curse will be lifted on her 80th birthday, when she’ll meet her true love on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral and break the curse, once and for all.

Though page 69 fails to mention the second-daughter curse directly, we hear boisterous laughter when little Mimi asks if Emmie has a boyfriend. It also illustrates the conflict between the elder family members and the younger Emilia and Lucy. And when Poppy’s name is thrown into the mix, the tension escalates greatly. Overall, page 69 is a fairly good snapshot of the book. Thanks for letting me test Marshall McLuhan's theory!
Learn more about the book and author at Lori Nelson Spielman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue