When I began reading Christina Lynch's latest novel, I was not sure what to expect. I knew that it takes place in Siena in the 1950s and that two Americans—a newlywed couple, Michael and Scottie—are the main characters, but everything else came as a surprise. Pleased and excited was I when, at the outset of the story, I read the name of my Tuscan hometown, “Colle di Val d'Elsa, ten miles from Siena” (17).

The book is divided into three parts that reflect the geography of medieval Siena and its partition within its city walls: Terzo di Camollia (1–98), Terzo di Città (99–232), and Terzo di San Martino (233–326). Each part is divided into chapters, most of them titled with a name of a contrada both in Italian and in English, such as La Lupa (The Wolf). Each chapter is then subdivided into sections of varying length, some as short...

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