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Not in Our Hands
A feast of Italian food, forbidden fruit and hidden history
In an idyllic town in the Umbrian hills, young Jake Taylor is studying Italian and hoping to take control of his life. As he makes new friends and soaks up the language, scenery and cuisine, Jake is about to learn a lot more than he bargained for.
From violence on the football terraces, to the secret past of Tuscan Jews, Jake's journey of discovery takes many turns. The trickiest challenge comes when he falls in love with the wrong girl.
Not in Our Hands is an engaging coming-of-age tale for anyone who remembers being twenty-two. Previously seen as a boy of twelve in Charlotte Gringras's first novel, The Purple Rose, Jake is now all grown up but not quite ready to cut the ties to home.
Advance Praise for Not in Our Hands
'I loved the way the novel integrates fascinating historical and cultural issues into the story in a natural manner. The characters are well drawn and interesting, and the reader quickly becomes absorbed by the story and the drama.' Janet Wolff, Professor Emerita, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester
'The convincing insight into the minds and souls of young adults, as they negotiate milestones, impresses and delights. The Umbrian/Tuscan background is depicted in a painterly way and its social milieu pulsates with colourful local scenes and personalities. The details of Jewish history in Italy are fascinating.' Liliana Pasterska
'A gripping read.' Doreen Wachmann
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About the author
This is Charlotte Gringras's second novel. After the publication of her first, The Purple Rose (Tollington, 2012), she started to wonder how Jake, its young fictional character, would turn out as an adult. Together with her curiosity about a madia (an ancient breadbox), Not in Our Hands began to emerge.
Charlotte is a teacher by profession, with a degree in Italian and French and an MA in Jewish Studies, both from Manchester University. Her knowledge of Italy and Italian, combined with a fascination for Jewish history, helped her create the backdrop for this novel. Her enjoyment of football (the right team!), spurred on by living in Manchester, led her to investigate the mores of the Italian game.
Manchester is both Charlotte's birthplace and that of the suffragette movement, which is at the core of The Purple Rose. Many of her two dozen published poems were written for and about her native city, which is also home to the second-largest Jewish community in the UK.
Not in Our Hands
Published in Jan 2015