Four Hundred and Forty Steps to the Sea

Kensington Books
1
Free sample

In a richly romantic novel set in stunning Positano, Italy, Sara Alexander weaves a story of love, family loyalty, and sacrifice spanning five decades . . .

Nestled into the cliffs in southern Italy’s Amalfi coast, Positano is an artist’s vision, with rows of brightly hued houses perched above the sea and picturesque staircases meandering up and down the hillside. Santina, still a striking woman despite old age and the illness that saps her last strength, is spending her final days at her home, Villa San Vito. The magnificent eighteenth-century palazzo is very different from the tiny house in which she grew up. And as she decides its fate, she must confront the choices that led her here so long ago . . .

In 1949, Positano is as yet undiscovered by tourists, a beautiful, secluded village shaking off the dust of war. Hoping to escape poverty, young Santina takes domestic work in London, ultimately becoming a housekeeper to a distinguished British major and his creative, impulsive wife, Adeline. When they move to Positano, Santina returns with them, raising their daughter as Adeline’s mental health declines. With each passing year, Santina becomes more deeply enmeshed within the family, trying to navigate her complicated feelings for a man who is much more than an employer—while hiding secrets that could shatter the only home she knows . . .

Praise for Sara Alexander’s Under a Sardinian Sky

“Alexander paints a loving and breathtaking picture of the Mediterranean island, especially glorious descriptions of food. For readers who enjoy women’s fiction set against a background of momentous events and clashing cultures.” —Library Journal

“Will leave readers riveted until the explosive conclusion.”
—Publishers Weekly
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About the author

Sara Alexander graduated from Hampstead School, London, UK and went on to attend the University of Bristol, UK, graduating with a BA hons. in Theatre, Film & TV. She followed on to complete her postgraduate diploma in acting from Drama Studio London. She has worked extensively in the theatre, film and television industries, including roles in much loved productions such as Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Doctor Who and Franco Zeffirelli’s Sparrow.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Kensington Books
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Published on
Sep 1, 2018
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9781496715494
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Historical / General
Fiction / Sagas
Fiction / Women
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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From the acclaimed author of Four Hundred and Forty Steps to the Sea and Under a Sardinian Sky comes a lyrical new novel set against a stunning Italian backdrop.

Famed for its natural beauty and rich history, Sardinia in 1968 is notorious, too, for the bandits who kidnap wealthy landowners for ransom. Eleven-year-old Alba Fresu’s brother, and her father, Bruno, are abducted by criminals who mistake Bruno for a rich man. After a grueling journey through the countryside, the two are eventually released—but the experience leaves Alba shaken and unable to readjust to normal life, or to give voice to her inner turmoil.

Accompanying her mother to cleaning jobs, Alba visits the villa of an eccentric signora and touches the keys of a piano for the first time. The instrument’s spell is immediate. During secret lessons, forbidden by her mother, Alba is at last able to express emotions too powerful for words alone. Ignoring her parents’ insistence that she work in the family’s car dealership and marry a local boy, Alba accepts a scholarship to the Rome Accademia. There she immerses herself in a vibrant world of art—and a passionate affair. But her path will lead her to a crossroads, where Alba will have to reconcile the past she fled with her longing for love and family to fully convey the music of her heart . . .

Praise for Sara Alexander’s Under a Sardinian Sky

“Alexander paints a loving and breathtaking picture of the Mediterranean island, especially glorious descriptions of food. For readers who enjoy women’s fiction set against a background of momentous events and clashing cultures.”
—Library Journal

“Will leave readers riveted until the explosive conclusion.”
—Publishers Weekly
“A beautifully told story about one woman’s determination to exorcise the sorrows of her family’s past. It brought tears to my eyes more than once—always a good sign. I look forward to reading more novels by Sara Alexander.” —Holly Chamberlin, author of Home for the Summer

Set against the beautiful backdrop of post-World War II Sardinia, Sara Alexander’s evocative novel is a sweeping story of star-crossed romance between an American lieutenant and a local girl.

Sometimes a family’s deepest silences hide the most important secrets. For Mina, a London-based travel writer, the enigmatic silence surrounding her aunt Carmela has become a personal obsession. Carmela disappeared from her Italian hometown long ago and is mentioned only in fragments and whispers. Mina has resisted prying, respectful of her family’s Sardinian reserve. But now, with her mother battling cancer, it’s time to learn the truth.

In 1952, Simius is a busy Sardinian town surrounded by fertile farms and orchards. Carmela Chirigoni, a farmer’s daughter and talented seamstress, is engaged to Franco, son of the area’s wealthiest family. Everyone agrees it’s a good match. But Carmela’s growing doubts about Franco’s possessiveness are magnified when she meets Captain Joe Kavanagh. Joe, an American officer stationed at a local army base, is charismatic, intelligent, and married. Hired as his interpreter, Carmela resolves to ignore her feelings, knowing that any future together must bring upheaval and heartache to both families.

As Mina follows the threads of Carmela’s life to uncover her fate, she will discover a past still deeply alive in the present, revealing a story of hope, sacrifice, and extraordinary love.

“Like Sardinia’s Emerald Coast, Sara Alexander’s Under A Sardinian Sky will dazzle you with its glittering descriptions of the Mediterranean island, its exquisite culinary treasures, and authentic, beautiful people. But it is the heroine Carmela’s courage and heartbreaking choices that will leave you the most enchanted and racing through the novel to learn her extraordinary fate.” —Rosanna Chiofalo, author of Rosalia’s Bittersweet Pastry Shop
Industrial agriculture is generally characterized as either the salvation of a growing, hungry, global population or as socially and environmentally irresponsible. Despite elements of truth in this polarization, it fails to focus on the particular vulnerabilities and potentials of industrial agriculture. Both representations obscure individual farmers, their families, their communities, and the risks they face from unpredictable local, national, and global conditions: fluctuating and often volatile production costs and crop prices; extreme weather exacerbated by climate change; complicated and changing farm policies; new production technologies and practices; water availability; inflation and debt; and rural community decline. Yet the future of industrial agriculture depends fundamentally on farmers’ decisions.

In Defense of Farmers illuminates anew the critical role that farmers play in the future of agriculture and examines the social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities of industrial agriculture, as well as its adaptations and evolution. Contextualizing the conversations about agriculture and rural societies within the disciplines of sociology, geography, economics, and anthropology, this volume addresses specific challenges farmers face in four countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, and the United States.

By concentrating on countries with the most sophisticated production technologies capable of producing the largest quantities of grains, soybeans, and animal proteins in the world, this volume focuses attention on the farmers whose labors, decision-making, and risk-taking throw into relief the implications and limitations of our global industrial food system. The case studies here acknowledge the agency of farmers and offer ways forward in the direction of sustainable agriculture.
 
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