Reviews – The Italian Sister

The Italian Sister


Polkinhorn has a touch for providing the perfect amount of description to bring her characters and locales. Ms. Polkinhorn has a touch for providing the perfect amount of description to bring her characters and locales to life. And due to an evident combination of good research, personal experience, and her writing ability, it’s almost as if reading this book gave me memories of spending a summer at a Tuscan vineyard with a complicated, but mostly wonderful, family and their associates! As the threats to Sofia developed, the author kept me guessing on the identity of the culprit and then deftly wrapped up all the elements of the story with a satisfying ending. (Linda Cassidy Lewis, California)

A wonderful trip to Tuscany. I thoroughly enjoyed taking this enchanting, suspenseful, and heartwarming journey to Tuscany in The Italian Sister. The author did a wonderful job of researching the art of winemaking, and blending it together with great storytelling.
I was fascinated from the beginning, when Sofia Laverne from California not only gets the bad news that her father, Henry, has died suddenly of a heart attack, but also that she has inherited a Tuscan vineyard and has a fourteen-year-old sister.
From the time Sofia arrives in Italy, her greatest journey, an emotional one, begins. Sofia and her newly found family get to know one another, but someone is out to get Sofia, putting her in the terrible position of not knowing who she can trust. As I read, I kept wondering what I would do in a similar situation.
I look forward (very much) to the next book in this series. (Lizzy, California).

Five Stars for The Italian Sister. A charming story set mostly in a vineyard in Tuscany. Christa Polkinhorn’s descriptions are both interesting and spot-on – reading this book, you can feel the sun on your back and smell the grapes.
Sofia’s father has been lying to her for many years, but she doesn’t discover this until after his death. She travels to Italy to meet the family there and come to terms with her father’s betrayal, but all is not as it should be at the vineyard. Sofia is in danger.
A book for lovers of Italy, mystery stories, romance, and wine… (Linda Huber, Switzerland)

I loved it. Sofia’s loss of her father, her discovery of his double life and a half-sister living in Italy (on an estate of which she is now part-owner), and her encounters with her Italian family in beautiful Tuscany provide the mix for a wonderful and uplifting tale of the complexities of life. I loved it for the passages descriptive of the scenery and the wine-making process, I loved it for the story and the bit of mystery swirling about it, I loved it for the depth to which the characters were drawn. In short, I loved it. (Larry Enright)

A Charming & Suspenseful Novel About Family Ties. Christa Polkinhorn’s charming new novel has key elements that culminate in a delightful reading experience. Part coming-of-age saga, part mystery-thriller, part love story, THE ITALIAN SISTER follows the journey of Sofia Laverne, a twenty-something California wine writer, who learns that her newly deceased (and beloved) father Henry has a second daughter in Tuscany whom she never knew about. Further, she learns that he owned a Tuscan vineyard which will now belong to her. The “double life” motif works nicely as Sophia travels to Italy, feeling angry and hurt that her father kept secrets from her. The plot depicts her growth as she overcomes her father’s betrayal and develops a bond with her fifteen-year-old sister, the impetuous and endearing Julietta.

THE ITALIAN SISTER has a mystery at its core that keeps readers turning the pages. Like other heroines in the suspense genre, Sofia finds herself in danger and doesn’t know who she can trust. The novel also has a romantic subplot that adds spice as Sofia becomes involved with Nicholas, a fellow Californian who longs to become a vintner. But could he be part of a sinister plan to harm Sofia and steal her vineyard?

As in her other novels, Polkinhorn offers a keen sense of place, and whether she’s showing the reader how Italian wine is made, narrating a trip to Florence, or depicting the flora and fauna of Tuscany, the author’s vivid descriptions place us squarely in her literary territory. THE ITALIAN SISTER is the ideal novel to read on a sultry night, preferably while sipping a fruity glass of Brunello di Montalcino, made from the Sangiovese grapes grown in Sofia’s vineyard. I highly recommend this book and also look forward to reading more from the talented pen of Christa Polkinhorn. (Susan Dormady Eisenberg)