The Cypress Maze by Fiona Valpy
In this haunting tale from the bestselling author of The Storyteller of Casablanca, Beatrice kept a wartime secret to protect the innocent. Now, could telling it set her free? Tuscany, 1943. Stranded in war-ravaged Italy, Beatrice's dream of an escapist year teaching English is shattered. Granted shelter at the Villa delle Colombe, she seeks refuge in Francesca and Edoardo's beautiful walled garden, hidden from the outside world, with an elaborate cypress maze at its heart. But Beatrice is not the only one seeking an escape here. Francesca has brought children to the safety of the house, as well as other adults, all of them seeking sanctuary on the estate with its mysterious maze. As the war closes in, the residents are forced to witness-and do-unthinkable things... 2015. Tess arrives at the villa raw from the agonising loss of her husband. Beatrice, now custodian, guides her to the solace of its gardens, where Tess begins to heal. But all hope of peace is shattered by the arrival of Marco, the estate's absent owner, who wants nothing more than to hand it over to developers. Distraught, Beatrice realises she must finally reveal the villa's painful past if she wants to save it. As the extraordinary story unfolds, Tess realises that Villa delle Colombe is not just a refuge, but a beacon of hope in the darkest of times. Can she convince Marco to give it a new lease of life-and find a way back to happiness herself?