Perfect reading for fans of Joanna Trollope and Elizabeth Buchan, this is a novel of lost loves, deceits and second chances. Nattie is now happily married to Hugo and they have two beautiful children, but no one knows that her heart has never truly been hers to give. The love of her life was lost to her years ago, or so she thought. Torn between Ahmed and her family, Nattie ends up meeting him in secret.
But will her lies cause more trouble than the truth?
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Sandra Howard has quickly established herself as a highly successful commercial novelist. Married to the former leader of the Conservative Party, Michael Howard, she was also, in the ls, one of the UK's leading fashion models.
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When I was 16, I wrote the film's first Wikipedia page , and included an excruciatingly detailed synopsis. Most of it's still there. I fell in love with the film because I felt — and still feel — such affinity for its central character, Titta di Girolamo.
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It doesn't really make sense — I was a bouncy teenager; Titta is a diffident, divorced businessman — but at the time it weirdly felt like he was one of the few people I could really identify with. This may surprise people who knew me then, but for much of my teens I felt quite lonely. And so does Titta. For the past eight years, he has been living alone in a Swiss hotel.
At first, it's not clear what he's doing there. Every day, he gets up, puts on a suit, and wanders morosely around Lugano. Sometimes, he plays chess with himself. Mostly, he just sits in the hotel foyer — and waits. Gradually, we discover that Titta used to be some kind of stockbroker.
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In the s, he was asked to invest bn lira on behalf of Cosa Nostra — and he lost bn within an afternoon. As punishment, he's been marooned in Switzerland.
Every week, for the rest of his life, he must deliver a suitcase of laundered mafia money to a Swiss bank. Like a lot of gangster movies, it's gripping. But for me, the appeal is less in the outward narrative, and more in Titta's internal goings-on. He encourages Titta to engage with Sofia more.
Later, two Mafia men suddenly arrive in his hotel room, which they intend to use as a base in order to carry out an assassination. As the two gangsters leave, they notice the suitcase containing the money that Titta must deliver that week. Sofia and Titta begin an awkward relationship which is romantic but not sexual. They go shopping together, and Titta buys her some shoes. Titta is already aware of this, but calmly pretends to be disgusted at their "mistake" and asks to close his account.
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His bluff achieves the intended result: in order to avoid offending him, and partly out of fear of the Mafia, the bank staff pretend that they miscounted, and so his theft goes unreported. It eventually turns out that Titta has stolen the money in order to buy an expensive car for Sofia.
She is initially appalled by this gift, as she feels she does not know him well enough, but later comes up to his room to apologise and to try to discover more about him. Titta reveals all his secrets to her, and Sofia is so touched that she offers to celebrate his 50th birthday with him on the following evening. He accepts. The next day, the two Mafia assassins return and steal that week's suitcase. Titta panics and immediately telephones his Mafia contact, Pippo, who tells him to fly to Southern Italy that day to explain, but Titta says he will arrive in two days because he has an appointment to keep.
However, when Sofia fails to turn up to celebrate his birthday, a despondent Titta, thinking that no-one loves him, leaves for the airport early.
In reality, Sofia does not turn up because she has been in a car crash, and her ambulance passes Titta's car on the way out of town. Arriving at his destination, Titta is taken to a nearby hotel and, after waiting in a guestroom, is interrogated by the boss. Titta explains that he has recovered the money [in a flashback we see that when the money was initially stolen by the two men, Titta regained his composure, grabbed his gun and switched off the power for the elevator, forcing them to use the stairs as a getaway. This slowed them down, and Titta was able to use the lift himself to get to the carpark ahead of them.
He hid in his car, and killed the duo when they arrived].
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