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Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy | [Frances Mayes]

Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy

Filled with recipes from Mayes' Tuscan kitchen and written in the sensuous and evocative prose that has become her hallmark, Bella Tuscany is a celebration of the sweet life in Italy. Mayes writes of her continuing love affair with Italy: her deepening connection to the land, her flourishing friendships with local people, the joys of art, food, and wine, and the rewards and occasional heartbreaks of her villa's ongoing restoration.

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Publisher's Summary

Having spent her summers in Tuscany for the past several years, Frances Mayes relished the opportunity to experience the pleasures of primavera, an Italian spring. A sabbatical from teaching in San Francisco allowed her to return to Cortona - and her beloved house, Bramasole - just as the first green appeared on the rocky hillsides. Bella Tuscany, a companion volume to Under the Tuscan Sun, is Mayes' passionate and lyrical account of her continuing love affair with Italy. Now truly at home there, Mayes writes of her deepening connection to the land, her flourishing friendships with local people, the joys of art, food, and wine, and the rewards and occasional heartbreaks of her villa's ongoing restoration. It is also a memoir of a season of change, and of renewed possibility. As spring becomes summer she revives Bramasole's lush gardens, meets the challenges of learning a new language, tours regions from Sicily to the Veneto, and faces transitions in her family life. Filled with recipes from her Tuscan kitchen and written in the sensuous and evocative prose that has become her hallmark, Bella Tuscany is a celebration of the sweet life in Italy.

©1999 Frances Mayes; (P)1999 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (65 )
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-07-05 Listener Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Maudlin Journal cum Drawl"

    I wanted to like this audiobook. I really tried.
    We've loved Italy--Tuscany especially--since our first journey to Siena some years ago. In this novel I wanted vivid and memorable imagery, seasoned with bits of the discernable rhythm of spoken Italian; to feel the heat reflected among the ageing stucco-and-rock buildings toe to toe along the winding lanes; to smile at the uneven gait of the peasant woman scavenging edibles from the Terraces while Frances and Ed enjoyed their slumber.
    The prose was too fecund, the similes too mundane, to give life to the author's relentlessly ordinary personal observations. I admit, the phrasing was made less bearable for me by the actual sound of the author's voice. A strong but entirely defensible opinion here: standard written English isn't the same stuff as conversation, unless dialect or dialog is intended. To communicate audibly, one needs careful enunciation, appropriate emphasis, occasional alterations in cadence--to truly connect with the hearer. And, alas, it needs to be uttered in a relatively non-regional voice. The gentle lilt of a Georgia-Virginia-California diction amalgam is incredibly distracting from an otherwise adequate novel. Apply that voice to any Italian vocabulary (not really mimiced after seven years...) and the effect is beyond tedious.
    I would purchase and hear Frances Mayes' books on Audible again, but only if presented by an adequate actor.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clapper Waxhaw, NC, United States 09-02-06
    Clapper Waxhaw, NC, United States 09-02-06 Member Since 2006
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    "Bella Tuscany"

    The narrator's voice (while authentic) was very irritating to the point that I could not even finish the book. I found the narration to be nasal and whiney. I'm sure the book was a good read, but feel that the book on tape would have been much more enjoyable had it been narrated by someone else.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimber Beaver Falls, PA, United States 12-08-09
    Kimber Beaver Falls, PA, United States 12-08-09 Member Since 2002
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    "couldn't finish"

    The book was good although a little disjointed.
    The narration was AWFUL. Couldnt finsh the audio.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nuala 07-19-12
    nuala 07-19-12
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    "Frances Mayes - let someone else read your work!"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    An interesting read, but I wish I had the hard copy. Frances' sing song voice is distracting. She sounds like a 5th grade teacher reading to her class and does not do her own work justice. I know she must think how hard is it to read one's own work? but an actor would add so much to this lovely story.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colleen 06-18-12
    Colleen 06-18-12
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    "A disppointing storyline and weak narration"
    Would you try another book from Frances Mayes and/or Frances Mayes?

    No. I was ready to love the sequel to life in Italy but found Bella Tuscany to flatline.I was disapponited in the lack of depth on the towns charaters and lack of detail about daily life.The author skimmed over the local characters and went into too much detail describing murals, and other works of art. Unless the reader were in the specific chapel, church or museum viewing the same work of art while reading the book,the comments were lost. An avid traveler to Italy who spends months there at a time......I was BORED with this book and the lack of "back story" about the people and ritual of daily Italian village life! I was especially disappointed in the narration! The author showed no passion while she read. I found her monotone voice annoying; she did not draw me in as I had hoped she would; She sounded "disinterested" during the entire reading.......turning this reader/listener off!


    Would you be willing to try another one of Frances Mayes’s performances?

    No! No! and NO again!


    Could you see Bella Tuscany being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No! There were no "human interest" stories behind the main storyline which was boring!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Lindsey 12-11-03 Listener Since 2000
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    "Bella Tuscany"

    In this book the author continues her thoughtful, lush style found in Under the Tuscan Sun, but this book is superior to the earlier work in several respects: the author seems more confident in her style; while the focus remains on Tuscany and specifically Cortona, other parts of Italy are visited; and shifting the focus somewhat from house restoration provides for greater engagement with the people, art and culture of Tuscany. Unfortunately, as with the first book, the author continues her wooden style of narration, dampening the pleasure that otherwise comes with this marvelous prose.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer L. Walsh ann arbor, MI 05-19-14
    Jennifer L. Walsh ann arbor, MI 05-19-14 Member Since 2006

    twinmom

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    "Not The Voice I Envisioned"
    What would have made Bella Tuscany better?

    A different narrator would have made it better!


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The southern accent (heavy!) just didn't go with the luxurious descriptions of the gorgeous Tuscan hillsides and the succulent dishes described within.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I do love the story, but in print.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emma Albion Park Rail, Australia 09-22-12
    Emma Albion Park Rail, Australia 09-22-12
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    "She is an author, not a narrator..."

    I like her books, I love the images of Tuscan (and greater Italian) life. But the narration is awful... I couldn't make it past the first chapter.

    I'll stick to the paperback for this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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