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A House in Sicily

Daphne Phelps

6 Reviews

Rated 0

Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction

* A delightful and moving homage to the 'most beautiful house in Taormina, Sicily' and the colourful people of the local community by the modest, independent and generous woman who has inhabited it for over fifty years

Near Mount Etna in Sicily lies Casa Cuseni, a beautiful house built in golden stone - and the home which Daphne Phelps was astonished to find she had inherited in 1947. At the age of 34, war-weary from working as a psychiatric social worker, with barely any Italian, and precious little money, she plunged into a fascinating Sicilian world. Every imaginable problem had to be overcome, not only financial difficulties but local authorities and a house staff who initially felt no loyalty to the new Signorina but who gradually accepted her as a respected member of their small community. To help make ends meet, for many years she ran Casa Cuseni as a pensione and to her doors came Roald Dahl, Tennessee Williams, Bertrand Russell and Henry Faulkner. But just as important to her life and her story are the Sicilians with whom she shared the love and care of Casa Cuseni: Don Ciccio the local mafia leader, Vincenzio, general manservant who recited while he served the meals, Beppe, a Don Juan who scented his eyebrows and his moustache to attract the local girls; and above all the steadfast cook and housekeeper who lives with Daphne still and to whom this book is dedicated.

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Praise for A House in Sicily

  • Shrewd and sometimes wicked ... fascinating - DAILY MAIL

  • Written with a masterful sense of narrative timing ... this is one of those books which doesn't end - you just have a sense of a life going on and on - IRISH TIMES

  • A book as warm as the land it celebrates. - INDEPENDENT

  • Shrewd and sometimes wicked ... fascinating - DAILY MAIL

  • Written with a masterful sense of narrative timing ... this is one of those books which doesn't end - you just have a sense of a life going on and on - IRISH TIMES

  • A book as warm as the land it celebrates. - INDEPENDENT

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