Table of Contents
“Beguiling. . . . Those who enjoyed
The Christmas Box
are in for another treat.”
New York Times
bestselling author and “one of the world’s most beloved storytellers”* comes a rich and all-too-human tale about the tragedy and triumph of love. . . .
In America, she was known simply as Ellen—a young woman who could only dream about love and art and passion . . . until a man came into her life, an irresistible Italian who turned her head and wanted to take her away. So she followed her heart . . . and followed him to Italy.
Now, living in a small rustic village, nestled in the Chianti countryside of Tuscany, she is Eliana—a mother and wife whose dream of becoming a painter has come true, but whose husband has left her disillusioned about love . . . until she meets a fellow American, a man who shares her passion for art and beauty and opens her eyes to life’s possibilities.
But Eliana is not a girl from Utah anymore. And this is not a dream about love, art, and passion. This is real. And their meeting is going to change her life forever. . . .
“A lush world full of Italian history and mythology. . . .
By weaving details of the wine harvest, local festival,
and vestal virgin tragedies into this story, Evans
achieves romance without overcooking it. . . . And
Eliana is truly likable . . . a sensual, sympathetic beauty
with a dry sense of humor.”
“Evans spins a bittersweet tale of the fantastic joy and great sorrow life can throw your way.”
A Selection of The Doubleday Book Club
, The Book-of-the-Month Club
, and The Literary Guild
ALSO BY RICHARD PAUL EVANS
The Christmas Box
The Looking Glass
The Christmas Box Miracle
The Christmas Candle
The Light of Christmas
Published by New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
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Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2
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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Published by Signet, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Previously published in a Dutton edition.
First Signet Printing, October 2003
Copyright © Richard Paul Evans, 2002
A Perfect Day
copyright © Richard Paul Evans, 2003 All rights reserved
Capela Della, Val D’Orcia,
Italian proverbs from
Treasury of Italian Love: Poems, Quotations & Proverbs in Italian and English
Dictionary of 1000 Italian Proverbs,
published by Hippocrene Books.
eISBN : 978-1-101-14396-4
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To Carole Baron,
to the following: Laurie Chittenden, for your insight, enthusiasm and patience. It’s nice being with you again. The whole Dutton crew: Carole, Lisa, Brian, Kim and Stephanie. Thank you for welcoming me into your family. My dear friend Laurie Liss (and Kate and Timothy), for everything, as usual. Artist Steve Smulka and Dolores Libera, for sharing your hearts. Author James McBride and Stephanie McBride, for your help in relocating. (
Miracle at St. Anna
was wonderful, James.) My staff, Celeste, Krista, Lisa, Karen, Fran, Dad, Paula, Tawna and Heather. Thank you for keeping the home fires burning.
The Last Promise
would not have been possible without the assistance of my new Italy friends: Vahe and Andrea Keushguerian of Rendola—may your vineyards flourish! Enrico Marelli, with admiration. Miriam DiMarco—thank you for being so good to me. Andrea Venturini (www.accademiarealty.com
). Luigi Tomassi, who first brought me to the villa. Andrea, Anna and Patrizio Santurro. My dear friend Maurizio Ventura (who in no way resembles the Maurizio in this book), Alberto and Maria Teresa Sottili. Laura Mongiat and the entire AISF crew. The Ferrini famly. Diane and Ugo Punteri. Steve and Mia Harper of the American Consulate in Florence. John Pitonzo,buona fortuna
with your book. Megan and Mark at Villa Bagnolo.
Of course my
Keri, and my children: Jenna, Allyson, Abigail, McKenna and Michael. And my Italy daughter, Cammy. Thank you for embracing a new life as well as a new country. You are my reason.
And “Eliana”—the woman by the pool.
“Who has been in Italy can forget all other regions. Who has been in heaven does not desire the earth.”
talians think of God as a fellow countryman, and walking a gravel incline alongside a Chianti vineyard, I wonder if they might not be right. The early sun in Tuscany paints the landscape with a different palette than the rest of the world, gilding the hills and vineyard trellises in a rose-gold hue and the otherwise drab, finger-leafed olive trees in silver so that they glitter in the dawn wind like a school of herring.
It’s early in the morning, before the first bells of the San Donato Tower, quiet, except for the occasional, distant pop of rifles echoing through the Valdarno Valley. The men are out hunting
—the wild boar. In my wanderings through the countryside I’ve encountered neither of them, hunter nor beast. But I hear the shots fired every morning, popping like corks off wine bottles, sometimes in my dreams.