‘Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel’ is Fueled by Heart and Hope [REVIEW]

Italian Hotel

Can an old hotel restore damaged lives to their former glory? (Photo by heartburn, Flickr)

Diamond Review BannerA famed artist stricken with dementia. A shell-shocked soldier. And a wife at the end of her rope. When an old hotel draws them together, will it be able to repair the lives time has sought to destroy? Find out in James Markert’s latest spellbinding novel, Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel. 

James Markert's MIDNIGHT AT THE TUSCANY HOTEL

Thomas Nelson

The Tuscany Hotel is a haven for creative types, drawing everyone from artists and actors to magicians, writers, and more. Renowned as a place that sparks imagination and fuels creativity, people flock from around the globe to the enchanting oasis on the California coast where they can forget their troubles and let their minds take flight. At the heart of the hotel are sculptor Robert Gandy and his striking wife and muse, Magdalena. So beloved are they that some think they may have created love itself, and their beautiful romance affects everyone who knows them. But when tragedy strikes, Robert and his family must leave their idyllic world behind.

Vittorio Gandy, Robert and Magdalena’s only son, is a chip off the old block. From an early age he is able to work miracles with his paintbrush, a fact that spurs a rivalry between father and son. But with the arrival of World War II, Vitto sets his brushes aside and heads to the front, only to have his world torn apart. When he returns home 13 months later, his life is nearly unrecognizable. Tormented by violent memories and tragic loss, he quickly discovers that his wife, Valerie, is afraid of him and his son doesn’t even know who he is. To make matters worse, Robert is now a shell of the man he once was as Alzheimer’s lays claim to his mind.

Then one night, Robert packs a suitcase and disappears in the night. Val rounds up her son, husband and Vitto’s fellow veteran, John. Together, they begin their search for the missing family patriarch. When they deduce that the hotel would be the only logical place Robert would go to, they drive to the abandoned structure together. What they find surprises them all, for Robert is not only working once again, but he is quite lucid and even recognizes his son for the first time since his return from Europe.

Word gets out that drinking from the hotel fountain restores memories for those suffering from dementia and soon the hotel is once again bustling as people come in search of a cure. Yet as much as Robert needs to remember, Vitto simply wants to forget. And as he learns about his mother’s life and tragic death, he begins to wonder if redemption comes with a hefty price.

After reading What Blooms from Dust, Markert’s epic novel about the depression era dust bowl, I became an instant fan. After all, he writes with all the panache and heart of one of my favorite authors, John Steinbeck. So to say I was skeptical that he could pull off writing another book that was equally powerful and touching is a bit of an understatement. Yet I needn’t have worried.

Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel is the kind of novel few authors can write, one that is steeped in lore and history and rich characterization, yet is equally imaginative and transcendent as it touches on serious topics that run the gamut of human emotion. Here Markert breaks our hearts and tests our empathy as we meet crushed, damaged people who seriously struggle to cope with the hands that life has dealt them. And yet through it all, we also find steadfast love and copious amounts of hope.

Here, Markert crafts an authentic story which deftly captures the true ravages of war, the agony of what we now call Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s, and the all-consuming and ever exhausting trials of a family caregiver. Although my heart went out to all of the characters battling these demons, having known friends with PTSD and Alzheimer’s (and having helped care for them myself), I found my heart particularly bleeding for Val as she tries every way she can to hold her family together and keep her own sanity in the process. Markert excels at bringing these issues to vivid life, which make not only for a realistic and persuasive story, but one that educates and elevates our thoughts on these topics as well.

Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel marks the first time an author’s work has garnered two diamond reviews, but it is definitely well deserved. This is a story that never gets too bogged down in the dark, but focuses on the light within each of us and thereby enchants, captivates, and inspires us to never lose faith in what truly matters.

Add to Goodreads badge

James Markert

James Markert

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James Markert is the award-winning author of A White Wind BlewThe Angels’ ShareAll Things Bright and Strange and What Blooms from Dust.

A USPTA tennis pro and coach, he is also the screenwriter and co-producer of the feature film 2nd Serve.

Markert graduated from the University of Louisville where he received a scholarship as the school’s most outstanding history major.

He currently lives with his wife and two children in Louisville, Kentucky. Readers are invited to visit him at his home on the Web at JamesMarkert.com, like him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

MIDNIGHT AT THE TUSCANY HOTEL
By James Markert
362 pp. Thomas Nelson. $16.99

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

This entry was posted in English. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.