A Tuscan Childhood
By Kinta Beevor
Classic account of an idyllic childhood in Italy, under the shadow of approaching war.
'Wonderful ... I fell immediately into her world' Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun
Kinta Beevor was five years old when she fell in love with her parents' castle facing the Carrara mountains.
She and her brother ran barefoot, exploring an enchanted world. They searched for wild mushrooms in the hills with Fiore the stonemason, and learned how to tickle trout. The freedom and beauty of life at the castle attracted poets, writers and painters, including D.H. Lawrence and Rex Whistler. The other side to Kinta's childhood was very different, for it was spent with her formidable great aunt, Janet Ross, in a grand villa outside Florence. But soon the old way of life and Kinta's idyllic world were threatened by war.
Nostalgic, yet unsentimental and funny, A TUSCAN CHILDHOOD is a book which transports the reader to bohemian, aristocratic Italy and the sound of bells from a distant campanile.
Kinta Beevor was born in 1911 at Northbourne in East Kent. After her father joined up in the First World War, her mother, Lina Waterfield, took Kinta and her brother out to Florence, where she started the British Institute. Kinta's childhood was spent at Poggio Gherardo and at her parents' castle in Aulla. She returned to England, married and had three sons, one of whom is the historian Antony Beevor. She lived at Eastry, close to where she was born, but she still returned to Italy each year. Kinta Beevor died in August 1995.
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- Publication date:
09 Apr 2015
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A loving and intimate portrait of Tuscany's many faces; but it is in her feeling for the landscape that Beevor excels. One can hear the buzzing of the cicadas, smell the wild thyme and feel the crunching of pine needles underfoot — SUNDAY TIMES
A paean to an idyllic upbringing. Beevor's masterful prose evokes time and place, scent and taste, humour and superstition, the yearly rhythms of rural life ... A delightful read - and likely to inspire many an Italian holiday — THE LADY
Kinta Beevor's distinctive contribution is in her detailed and unsentimental account of the peasant life of the time, its surrounding, its labours and its joys, and in her ability to convey the remembered happiness of a childhood spent in the freedom of two exceptionally beautiful houses amid some of the most delectable countryside in the world — Isabel Colegate, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
Its unpretentiousness and authenticity, and above all the sincreity of the writer's affection for an Italy now long lost, make it an attractive and engaging read — THE SPECTATOR
A delightful corrective to the sickly Chiantishire school of writing. The descriptions of the harvesting and preparation of food and wine by the locals could not be bettered and the pages are alive with vivid characters, from stonemasons and farm workers to foreign bohemians ... a joy — OBSERVER
A beautifully written book — SUNDAY TIMES
A delightful memoir — MARIE CLAIRE